Software is what powers the hardware (computers, smartphones) we use in our businesses.
Microsoft Office, the most famous software we use day in and day out is one of the most critical software many business professionals use day to day. However, what really has made Microsoft Office powerful and a billion dollar revenue stream for Microsoft are the thousands 3rd party applications, created by developers, that integrate with Office.
From scanning programs, to accounting programs, to CRM, just about every program integrates in one way or the other with one or more Office applications.
Developers create programs that talk to each other though Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which are programming specifications.
Intuit’s QuickBooks, for example, has hundreds of programs that seamlessly integrate with it. Why? Because Intuit has a developer program to enable 3rd party programs to be create around and integrated with QuickBooks.
Intuit knows that having thousands of customers use QuickBook is only one of the ways to grow their QuickBooks marketshare. The other half of the equation is to create an ecosystem of products around QuickBooks to drive demand even further.
Most of your sales, contact management, inventory and database programs can integrate with QuickBooks. This is one big reason why QuickBook is so popular – it integrates with “everything”.
Now to the news of the day.
Many of you (250,000) use Constant Contact’s email marketing service for your business. I’m surprised it’s taken them so long, but Constant Contact will enable developers, through APIs, to build software that integrates into its email marketing services. This is quite powerful.
Constant Contact is already very popular and with the release of AppConnect it’s now creating a community of developers who will make it more powerful.
Their press release reads Small businesses and organizations using applications that are integrated with Constant Contact benefit from streamlined business processes, access to valuable marketing information across applications, and automated data updates across applications, thereby minimizing data collection errors.
Imagine being able to integrate Constant Contact with ACT!, QuickBooks and dozens of other popular programs you use today. You’ll reduce data entry errors, speed up data entry and reduce the silos of information that build when applications are not integrated.