I had the privilege of attending a local forum at Bentley University hosted by Intuit this past week entitled “Startups and the Cloud: Entrepreneurship in the Age of Cloud Computing”.
The size of the turnout for this event was another indication of the growing level of interest in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and the broader cloud computing phenomenon. It may also be an early indicator of the potential power of Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) as a key player in this rapidly evolving marketplace.
In a previous blog post, I suggested that two of the most important competitive advantages which leading Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) must display are,
- Sustainability in today’s tough economic climate to ensure they are viewed as solid, long-term suppliers of SaaS development and delivery capabilities.
- An attractive customer base which can make the PaaS vendor a viable channel to market for developers leveraging its toolkit.
Intuit easily qualifies as a potentially powerful PaaS candidate based on both of these criteria. It is a solid software vendor that has built an enormously strong base of small- and mid-size businesses (SMBs), as well as households who take advantage of its financial management applications.
More than two hundred current and aspiring software developers attended Intuit’s forum this week. They were interested in getting insight about the overall SaaS and cloud computing market from a combination venture capitalists and CEOs, including Scott Cook of Intuit who provided his perspectives about building a successful software business in today’s rapidly changing market. The attendees were also curious about Intuit’s PaaS capabilities.
The organizers took advantage of the opportunity to showcase Intuit’s rapidly evolving development platform which should appeal to many aspiring SaaS/cloud computing developers that wants to deliver B2B solutions aimed at SMBs, or even B2C solutions aimed at households using Intuit products.
Intuit’s recent acquisitions clearly demonstrate its determination to be a major player in the SaaS and cloud computing marketplace. And, the turnout at last week’s event illustrates that there are plenty of entrepreneurs and software developers who are interested in leveraging Intuit’s position in the market.
Of course, Intuit will have to provide these developers with the right tools at the right price to fulfill its potential as a major PaaS player.