Google has today launched an online marketplace for business applications, called the Apps Marketplace, which is in similar vein to Apple’s AppStore and Salesforce.com’s AppExchange.
All of the tools available in the marketplace integrate with Google’s online desktop productivity suite and are themselves web-based. Once bought, the applications can be managed through the same interface that manages Google’s Apps.
Companies that are selling their software through Google’s Apps Marketplace include accounting software vendor Intuit and SaaS finance and ERP supplier NetSuite.
“NetSuite is committed to bringing the power of cloud computing to businesses, so integrating with Google Apps is a logical choice for us," said the company’s CEO Zach Nelson in a statement. "By adding NetSuite to the Google Apps Marketplace, we plan to make it extremely easy for Google Apps customers to get a powerful cloud computing ERP application that works seamlessly with their technology platforms."
The advent of software-as-a-service has made it easier for business users to provision and deploy their own applications without the involvement of the IT department. This can be a mixed blessing; by one token it allows business users greater autonomy, but it may lead to integration and support issues when software deployed on an ad-hoc basis begins to support key processes.
By using the ‘app store’ model, popularised in the consumer space, Google is making it even simpler to deploy applications. However, Google insists that cloud-based nature of the applications also reduces the management overhead.
“The Google Apps Marketplace eliminates the worry about software updates, keeping track of different passwords and manual syncing and sharing of data, thereby increasing business productivity and lessening frustrations for users and IT administrators alike,” the company said in an official blog post. “That’s the power of the cloud.”