A Salesforce .com-owned cloud platform-as-a-service company is making big market moves this week. Heroku just announced a major update to its Add-Ons Program.
The Heroku Add-Ons Program aims to helps cloud service providers with key business needs, including full lifecycle billing, full integration with customer applications, single sign-on customer log-in, and an integrated end-user support experience. What's more, a Heroku sales team sells the platform and add-ons. The second iteration of Heroku Add-Ons Marketplace offers an updated developer-facing marketplace and a new service provider management experience.
"Composed cloud services are the future for developing advanced applications," said Oren Teich, COO of Heroku. "By giving cloud service providers an easier way to market their products and run their businesses, Heroku is redefining how technology products and applications are created and brought to market."
Heroku rolled out Add-Ons three years ago. The first marketplace offered 12 add-ons. The program has since grown to include 85 service providers with more than 4 million installs.
With the new release, Heroku is introducing a self-service interface that allows providers to instantly manage their product portfolio. According to Heroku, the benefits include faster time-to-market and higher user adoption, conversion and retention rates because they are able to dedicate more time to product development.
"The Heroku Add-Ons Program has been an incredible place for MemCachier to grow and learn," said Alex Loddengaard, co-founder of MemCachier. "The Marketplace gives us instant access to thousands of developers, letting us focus on great customer service and product development. Selling through the program is absolutely the right way to grow or start a product for Web developers."
The Salesforce.com Spirit
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us there is belief among players in the industry that cloud services are going to be delivered by traditional service providers -- large and small -- as the cloud matures. Small regional companies don't have the same resources as the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world. Heroku can help smaller cloud service providers compete, with custom solutions.
"Heroku's Add-Ons Program takes a lot of the complexity and hassle out of the lives of service providers that are developing cloud-as-a-service products," King said. "It's an interesting variation on what Salesforce.com is doing in providing business customers with online access to its various CRM and ERP applications. With Add-Ons, Heroku is aiming at small- and medium-size providers."
Providers can create and manage their add-ons, features, benefits and plans. Services can be deployed, configured and integrated into apps with one click. And new listing pages offer customization for each add-on, including best practices on marketing and customer engagement.
The program also handles of all aspects of the billing process for users, including failed payments, declined cards, fraud and payment and bank transaction fees. This protects providers from the complexities and financial risks associated with integrating with payment gateways, fraud and failed, declined or expired credit cards.