Zoho, SAVVIS Unveil SaaS Marketplaces

Chances are, you know about the iPhone App Store -- a wildly popular online destination where iPhone users can easily find and download applications. Now, the App Store trend is shifting to the software as a service (SaaS) industry, where companies like Zoho and SAVVIS are launching online application marketplaces.

Zoho, which competes with Google Apps and Salesforce.com, has had my attention for quite some time. But I learned about SAVVIS by reading Jeff Kaplan's blog. Here's a bit more about each company's application marketplace, and the implications for managed service providers.

Zoho Marketplace offers a range of user-submitted applications built with a tool called Zoho Creator. All of the applications are currently hosted on Zoho Creator, but the company is working on alternative hosting options as well, according to Raju Vegesna, an evangelist for Zoho.

In the meantime "Zoho Marketplace is a central place that brings developers and users together," says Vegesna.

Critical Mass

While Google Apps and Salesforce.com grab most of the SaaS headlines, don't underestimate Zoho. More than 1 million people now use the company's on-demand applications -- which range from personal productivity applications to CRM to software development tools.

I'm curious to see if the Zoho Marketplace gains synergies with ManageEngine, a managed services platform. (Zoho and ManageEngine both are owned by AdventNet.)

I'm also watching to see if the Zoho Marketplace applications start to plug into third-party cloud services, such as Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). "We certainly hope these marketplace apps will plug-in into third-party infrastructure like S3," saus Vegesna. "We'll have to wait and see."

Here Comes SAVVIS

Meanwhile, SAVVIS has launched an online marketplace that clearly targets SaaS and managed service providers. According to a press release from the company:
SAVVIS’ new SaaS solution is organized into three service categories that provide an expanded and highly differentiated suite of SaaS enablement capabilities.
  • Core Infrastructure Services – These are SAVVIS’ core managed hosting and security elements tailored to SaaS vendor needs. New services include multi-tenancy enablement, application fire-walling, and holistic application-centered service level agreements.
  • Lifecycle Services – This new category of services assists ISVs through all the tasks involved in development, integration, delivery and operation of their applications.
  • SAVVIS Marketplace – These services create connectivity and commercial opportunities between SAVVIS customers by lowering integration barriers. Local and global high speed connectivity optimized for SaaS delivery will increase potential for provider to provider and customer integration. Additionally SAVVIS will be creating marketplace awareness tools for use within SAVVIS’ customer base.
Boil those words down to a single sentence, and SAVVIS is trying to help customers and SaaS companies build bridges between SaaS islands.

Here's one prime example: Imagine you're a small business customer and you leverage SaaS storage, CRM and email services from different companies. Wouldn't it be nice to have single sign-on and one security architecture across all of those services? Also, wouldn't it be nice to have guaranteed bandwidth and performance metrics for those applications?

That's where SaaS is heading next.

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