With its new open-exchange model, the platform-as-a-service vendor lets a broad array of developers market, distribute, and sell their offerings.
Posted Apr 16, 2008
No venture capital? No problem. This week, Coghead, a Web-based platform provider announced a new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model that gives application publishers the opportunity to compete in the open market. Coghead Gallery, which already has a wide variety of applications to choose from and a significant user-base, is similar to a Salesforce.com AppExchange program, but geared towards a wider audience -- and it's free.
The Coghead Gallery -- posted at www.Coghead.com/apps -- supports two different formats:
- The Open Definition model allows any application developer to publish applications for anyone to distribute and use at no cost.
- The Protected Definition model lets a Coghead partner create applications that leverage its unique expertise or market. The creator can then sell the application through the website and consider itself a SaaS provider.
So where does Coghead Gallery stand in the midst of growing solutions such as SalesForce.com's Force.com, Google Apps Engine, and Bungee Labs? Paul McNamara, CEO of Coghead, says that whereas services such as Salesforce.com AppExchange are aimed at more professional developers, Coghead is geared towards smaller, more independent developers.
McNamara, who formerly served as vice president of business development at Redhat, wanted to integrate the Redhat publishing model to create a community of developers that interact and communicate with one another. "We think that this will be a great development model where they can pull out an app as a starting point and extend it," he says. "We found at Redhat that the free model is a great way to get broad adoption and to establish a client and service base."
When compared to Salesforce.com AppExchange, Forrester analyst Oliver Young says, "Coghead doesn't have that built-in gravitational force, which is both a strength and a weakness. The strength is that they can start selling to anyone," Young says. "The weakness is that they don't have a built-in market like Salesforce.com does [with its CRM application]."
Young estimates that Coghead Gallery's main audience will be the small to midsize business market (SMBs). However, he says, "Coghead is moving into uncharted territory. Developers are used to doing programming in more traditional applications." Coghead's goal is to fill the void for SMBs that do not fall into the one-size-fits-all category when it comes to applications such as CRM. With Coghead Gallery, developers will be able to build CRM applications suited to specific businesses and vertical markets. McNamara says this is a much desired feature, noticeable with the growth of SaaS among SMBs.
Young points out that in order to gain traction, Coghead will need to build a solid developer base, make the tool easy to use, and provide some sort of incentives to keep them coming back.
"Today if you want to be a developer, you have to have money, but a lot of small companies can't get access to VC," McNamara points out. "We let them become SaaS providers without a lot of capital. We think this is a disruptive way to come at the market."
SaaS CRM Helps Swimmers in the Shallow End
Small and midsize businesses are increasingly running core operations on Web-based applications in order to compete with larger enterprises.
Jumping from SaaS to PaaS
Bungee Labs' platform-as-a-service model connects CRM to the development of on-demand business applications.
Salesforce.com Uncouples Apps from CRM
The company introduces Salesforce Platform Edition, a version that allows application development and sharing without a CRM subscription.
Salesforce.com Brings Utility Computing to On-Demand -- But Not to CRM
The Force.com platform becomes the first software-as-a-service offering to allow pay-per-login pricing, but the company's CRM applications aren't included.
Salesforce.com's Soapbox Is the Platform
At Dreamforce '07, AppExchange says hello to its younger, bigger sister: Force.com, touted as "platform-as-a-service"; the family also welcomes a cousin: Visualforce, hailed as "user-interface-as-a-service."