Small business technology is on the cusp of a once in a generation platform shift. Recent research shows that by 2020, 78% of small businesses will be fully adapted to cloud technology, up from 37% in 2014.
Evidence of this shift is easy to see. QuickBooks Online – Intuit’s open small business platform – recently passed the 1 million subscriber milestone. Startups like Zenefits, ZenPayroll and many other developers are rapidly establishing themselves in this space, taking advantage of a lucrative market of small businesses hungry for new solutions.
In an effort to highlight the new small business opportunity for developers, Intuit is inviting developers to attend its second annual QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose from November 1 to 4. The conference features a $100,000 hackathon, a wealth of in-depth developer-focused programming and access to thousands of small businesses and accountants.
For Avi Golan, the vice president and general manager of the Intuit Developer Group, the small business platform shift represents an urgent call to action for developers who have previously focused on developing consumer apps to take advantage of the green field small business opportunity.
“At Intuit, we believe that developers hold the key to unlocking the true potential of the small business cloud,” says Golan. “QuickBooks Connect is an opportunity to bring our ecosystem together – developers, small businesses and accountants – to learn from each other, and build on each other’s success.”
Recent research conducted by Intuit sheds light on the breadth of the small businesses opportunity for developers. For example:
- Small business owners currently spend $630/year on software solutions, and 85% of small businesses are willing to invest more in the next 5 years.
- The center of the small business cloud is financial management. The top three online tools for small businesses are: 1. Bookkeeping and accounting; 2. Generating invoices and/or accepting payments; 3. Managing existing customer relationships.
- Small business owners want seamless integration between solutions: 4 out of 5 (81%) small business owners say it is important that the different software solutions they use work seamlessly together.
The QuickBooks Connect hackathon will provide developers with direct access to Intuit leaders and experts – engineers, product managers, marketers, dev evangelists, business development managers and senior leaders. The hackathon has three prize categories:
- Track 1: Already have an existing SaaS app? Build an innovative integration with the QuickBooks platform that addresses a small business.
- Track 2: Create a brand new solution that leverages the QuickBooks platform and solves a small business pain point.
- Track 3: Create a brand new solution that leverages the QuickBooks platform particularly focused on non-profits.
Last year’s QuickBooks Connect hackathon winner was Method, a Toronto-based software developer, which produced Method:Donor, a fundraising and donor management solution for nonprofits that is now available in the QuickBooks Apps Store.
“The QuickBooks Online platform gives us the opportunity to create game-changing applications for our customers because it provides us with best-in-class developer tools and access to a huge market. Winning the hackathon was a huge validation of how companies like Method can take advantage of the core capabilities of QuickBooks, while delivering solutions that offer a new level of depth and personalization for small businesses,” explained Paul Jackson, Method Founder and CEO. “The hackathon win highlighted the way developers can take advantage of the unique opportunities that the QuickBooks Online platform provides.”
Intuit offers a world-class suite of tools and services, enabling developers to work with sample code and test an app idea within 15 minutes. Sample apps provide examples of eCommerce, time-based billing and customer relationship management (CRM) integrations and new SDKs and simple documentation make it easier than ever to call QuickBooks Online APIs.
Developers participating in the hackathon should also plan to attend the main QuickBooks Connect Conference, which features a developer-focused program, including:
- A keynote from Golan focusing on the dramatic small business shift to the cloud and dig into how developers can build for success on the QuickBooks platform.
- Tech sessions focused on how to build and publish app integrations targeting 1M+ subscribers on the QuickBooks platform.
- Business sessions focused on insights from successful QuickBooks developers, as well as perspectives from small businesses and accountants on the offerings they need most to run their businesses.
The QuickBooks Connect conference also features a main stage of celebrity speakers, including Jessica Alba, Robert Herjavec from ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and Intuit CEO Brad Smith.
To register for the QuickBooks Connect 2015, click here.