Alex Barnett blog


Connecting Clouds: Intuit Partner Platform and Windows Azure

How about I break my blogging “hiatus” by sharing some cool stuff the Intuit Partner Platform team has been working on for a little while that involves Windows Azure?

OK, then…  :-)

This morning, Intuit and Microsoft have announced very cool news for Intuit and Microsoft developers and for Small Businesses…

From the IPP team blog post, Alex Chriss, Director of IPP (er…my boss):

“Today, we’re thrilled to announce an alliance between Intuit and Microsoft that brings IPP a giant step closer to our ecosystem vision. Starting today, SaaS developers can access the beta of the Windows Azure SDK for IPP - a set of tools, code samples, and services, designed to make it easy for developers of SaaS applications developed on Windows Azure to federate those SaaS apps on to IPP and sell them to millions of Small Businesses in the Intuit Workplace App Center.”

Connecting these two clouds has been fun and it’s just the start…the bits we’re releasing today is a beta…but fully functional: it provides everything an Azure developer needs to federate their apps on to IPP. In the v1.0 release of the Windows Azure SDK for IPP (expected to launch sometime in February) will also include built-in support for IPP’s Intuit Data Services, the web API that allows those SaaS apps to fully integrate with QuickBooks customer data and program against the common data model and cloud repository that all Intuit Workplace App Center leverage…this is how the SaaS apps from different vendors as well as Intuit’s SaaS offerings work together at the data level.

So the developer story is pretty awesome.

The other aspect to the news released this morning is about the plan to federate Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS) on to IPP and become one of the great set of apps available on Intuit Workplace App Center. BPOS includes a set of messaging and collaboration solutions hosted by Microsoft, and consists of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting, and Office Communications Online.

I recorded a short interview with Jeff Collins, Group Architect for IPP, and Jarred Keneally, Developer Support Engineer to talk about what’s in the SDK and what’s coming soon. Enjoy!

Some more info links:


Update - some reactions to the news coming in now:

Dennis Howlett - ZDNet - Intuit and Microsoft partner: more PaaS to put in your aaS environment

My take: Intuit is joining a growing band of apps vendors that see PaaS as a way of delivering all sorts of aaS functionality, expanding its reach, developing deep domain expertise and helping it accelerate growth. These are bold ambitions and fit well with the idea that a single cloud platform should provide the ecosystem framework needed to achieve these goals. There is no reason why the SMB market should not benefit from these initiatives so at this level it is good to see both Microsoft and Intuit step up to the plate of opening up access to a large group of developers.

Ben Kepes - CloudAve - Intuit and Microsoft Sign Deal to Serve SMBs

"This really is massive news for anyone involved in small or medium business – be it as a business themselves or in anyway selling technology products or services to SMBs....APIs are great – wonderfully valuable things that allow applications to work together. But a common data model of the sort that the IPP is built around, is even better, allowing applications to be built from the start around an underlying and consistent model of data."

Sam Diaz - Between The Lines - Microsoft and Intuit become cloud partners

"The idea, of course, is to link Microsoft’s business applications to the financial data that’s found within Quickbooks to help businesses operate more efficiently. For months, Intuit has been working to push the cloud and open its arms to developers....In July, Intuit launched an open-source community where users could share information to enhance the apps on Intuit’s platform. Prior to that, the company announced Federated Applications, which allows developers to use any programming language, host those apps on any cloud infrastructure and connect them to Intuit’s platform, marketing them to business customers who use Intuit products."

Mary Jo Foley - Microsoft partners with Intuit to shore up Redmond's small-business cloud play

“Customers don’t want a one-point small-business solution. They want a whole suite,” said Walid Abu-Hadba, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Developer & Platform Evangelism. He said that this kind of partnership with Intuit was an example of how Microsoft plans to address the needs of small-business developers and customers.”

Dave Rosenberg, CNET, 

“According to Alex Chriss, director of IPP, the technology took just a few months to build because the strategy was already aligned. The integration is based on a common data model that is an extension of Quickbooks data. The data model lives in the cloud and developers are able to use the SDK to integrate between the desktop, cloud, and other applications in the ecosystem…For well over a year I've been suggesting that Microsoft needs to take advantage of it's massive developer base to make any real progress with Azure. While this deal with Intuit is still a bit of a baby step, there are many other applications, both online and off, that could use Azure for a variety of purposes. This bodes well not just for Microsoft but for the cloud in general.”

The Microsoft Blog - Microsoft, Intuit team up to encourage cloud apps

“Azure is Microsoft's new platform as a service (PaaS) offering, designed to automatically manage and scale applications hosted on Microsoft's public cloud. Fueled by Microsoft's vast network of partners familiar with its programming languages, Azure will compete against similar offerings such as Google App Engine and”

Oh...and we made techmeme :-)


Phil Wainewright - Why Microsoft and Intuit need each other's clouds

“Cloud platforms share many of the ingredients of conventional software platforms, but they add several crucial new ingredients. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to build momentum among developers and customers for the platform. Intuit and Microsoft have plenty of both, which guarantees attention for what they’ve announced today. But the tie-up between these two giants is important too for the light it shines on the special characteristics of cloud platforms and how they change the game in so many ways for ISVs, developers and platform vendors…

...the link-up combines Microsoft’s strengths in developer tools and functional scope with Intuit’s advanced skills and investment in service delivery on IPP”