April 25, 2007
Creates new channel to market for ISVs and delivers wide ranging software to help small businesses thrive
BT Business, in partnership with Microsoft, is bringing together specialist software developers and small business customers with the launch of the BT Applications Marketplace. The latest initiative, launched at today’s BT Business Experience showcase event, is designed for companies that have developed business-focused hosted applications that are stable, supported and ready for market. It enables Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to publish and promote their software to small businesses via the dedicated Applications Marketplace web site, a part of BT Tradespace. For small business users, the BT Applications Marketplace gives them access to a wide range of the latest software specifically designed for their needs, but also means that they can take advantage of using “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS) applications. This allows them to pay a monthly subscription for the software they need, removing the need for upfront capital investment, as well as upgrade costs. It also means that small businesses no longer need to manage and support the applications in-house, as that is taken care of by the company supplying the service. BT Applications Marketplace is part of an £8million investment in delivering SaaS by BT Business. Built on Microsoft’s Connected Services Framework , it brings together Microsoft’s world-leading developer programme with BT’s UK market reach. BT is empowering developers by providing a set of web service Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and a series of Software Development Kits (SDKs) with a wide range of interfaces, including .NET. API functionality that is currently available includes SMS, voice call, conference call, presence, authentication, user profile, and location. To date, more than 1,700 developers have already registered for BT’s SDKs. The Applications Marketplace allows ISVs to quickly and easily build a sales site or “Tradespace” that provides a way to promote their applications to the small business market. It includes rating and comment features to allow ISVs to receive user feedback on their application and those offered by other vendors. It also offers a way to interact and exchange information with other members of the Marketplace. BT Business will actively monitor the feedback and ratings generated by end-users and identify ISV partners whose applications could become part of “Ideas Lab” – its software incubator programme. BT Business will select certain partners from Ideas Lab to further develop their product and ensure their applications are reliable and secure in a service-based delivery model. These new “services” will ultimately become part of the BT product portfolio and will be supported by its sales and marketing operation, including the UK’s largest sales force dedicated to small businesses. BT Business are also sponsoring a series of “mash-up” competitions in partnership with Microsoft and TopCoder, based on the Microsoft Connected Services Framework, to encourage developers to merge BT’s telecommunications APIs with other web-based applications and services such as mapping and search. Winners can grab prizes ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 (US). Bill Murphy, managing director at BT Business, said: “The business market is diverse, with wide-ranging requirements. ISVs are great at understanding the challenges small businesses face and developing specialist applications to help solve them, but often find it difficult to get a foothold in the market. With BT Applications Marketplace we’re bringing together the ISV and small business communities to help developers sell their products and enable end-users to get the benefit from the latest on-demand applications.” Karl Noakes, channel development director, Microsoft Ltd., said: “There is now a compelling business proposition to embrace SaaS, so Microsoft is delighted to be working in partnership with BT to create an industry-leading ‘shop front’ for ISVs’ hosted business applications. Microsoft is committed to helping its industry-leading partner community develop new processes to capitalise on the evolving business environment. Through Applications Marketplace, BT and Microsoft will help ISVs enter this industry by reducing the cost and complexity of delivering hosted software and crucially, by providing them with a totally new route to market.”
For further information about the BT Applications Marketplace, or to add software to the site, go to: www.isvpartner.bttradespace.com. To view the BT Applications Marketplace community go to: http://softwareasaservice.community.bttradespace.com. To get more information on BT’s communications web services and software development kits go to: www.sdk.bt.com.