In September, Intuit announced the creation of the Apps for QuickBooks Desktop marketplace. Bison Analytics was quick to submit an application, and in late November joined the group of trusted, independent developers and industry experts who have integrated with QuickBooks to create software that solves specific business needs for QuickBooks Desktop customers. Now that the marketplace has been up-and-running for six months, we want to take a look at how it’s doing.
When the announcement was made, it fell on welcome ears for a number of reasons. Many long-time, devoted QuickBooks Desktop users looked at the lack of developer support as evidence that QuickBooks Pro, Premier, and possibly Enterprise were dead. With a renewed focus and support for the QuickBooks Desktop developer ecosystem, Intuit is clearly making a statement that the demise of those products has been greatly exaggerated, at least in the immediate future. All continued communication from Intuit has supported that notion.
The creation of the marketplace also demonstrated that Intuit was addressing feedback from developers, as well as small business and accountant customers. Many of them had grown weary of the “past its sell-by date” Intuit Marketplace. By all accounts, that outdated site had not received much attention from Intuit since 2012. It was time for something new.
We are encouraged by the new marketplace. There are many companies in the QuickBooks eco-system who are developing applications that elevate QuickBooks. It is important that there is an Intuit-supported site where these apps can be shared with their customers.
We were also pleased to hear that All apps, including those previously listed on the older Intuit Marketplace, were required to submit their app and pass a technical and app card review prior to being listed in the new marketplace. In addition, only apps that use the QuickBooks SDK or the Web Connector, the two long-time methods that developers have used to integrate with QuickBooks desktop products, are accepted to the marketplace. These processes help ensure the integrity of the apps that are listed.
So what is there to like? Here are a few of the features that make it easy to search, review and compare products.
- Filter – You can search for apps based upon preset filters. The first filter is QuickBooks compatibility, based upon your product (Pro, Premier or Enterprise). You can also filter Intuit or third-party developer apps. Finally, filter by category and further drill down by business function. For example, Bison Analytics would be found in the “Reporting and Analytics” filter.
- Sort Results – You can sort the results of your filter query by “relevance,” “popularity,” “newest” and “alphabetical.”
- Search – This is great if you are looking for a specific feature. For example, our users need to consolidate QuickBooks files. “Consolidation” reveals Bison Analytics.
- Compare – You can compare up to 4 apps side-by-side. This is a nice feature, but a little bit buried. To find it, you have to filter by category, and then by business function.
- Ask a Question – If visitors have a question for the developer, they can post the question in the marketplace so that others can learn from the response. This is great for developing the community of users.
So what’s not to like?
Probably our only complaint is the relevance sort, which really has us scratching our heads. For whatever reason, the Bison System, an app whose sole purpose is to create reports and dashboards, is ranked low on the “Reporting and Analytics” filter, below quite a few apps whose primary features are not reporting or analytics. We’ve reached out to Intuit to help clarify why that is, but so far haven’t gotten any insight into how relevance is determined. We’d love to know how the relevance score is created so that we can fix whatever is broken. So far we’ve gotten no guidance, just the promise that a support ticket has been submitted with the vendor that created the marketplace.
If you are a QuickBooks user, or part of the QuickBooks ecosystem, give a cheer for the Apps for QuickBooks Desktop Marketplace, and long live Desktop!
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