Archer marketplace aims to help users cut development time

Gives access to on-demand services and apps, and content for risk and compliance requirements

Archer Technologies LLC today unveiled an online marketplace of on-demand applications, services and content that it said can help users build applications more quickly and easily and thus cut costs.

Overland Park, Kan.-based Archer decided to create the marketplace to meet its Fortune 1,000 customers' demands for a way to easily share and access risk compliance and security applications built using Archer's SmartSuite Framework development tool set, said Jon Darbyshire, the company's president and CEO.

For example, Archer customer Morgan Stanley, a SmartSuite framework user, sought to access work done by another user to automate common business processes, he said. Archer's customer base includes 47 of country's 50 largest financial services firms, several large telecommunications companies, and pharmaceutical and retail giants like Pfizer, eBay and Target, according to Darbyshire.

"Our customers are telling us that they are trying to solve a lot of the same problems that other people are," he explained. "If the exchange has something they need, they can download it, and many times it is 100% ready to meet their needs. It dramatically cuts down on the development costs for the company."

Several Archer users have as many as 200 applications built with the framework in production now, Darbyshire added. Using the exchange, Archer customers can search and download applications placed in the marketplace by other users for their own use. Each application added to the marketplace is evaluated in Archer's labs to ensure their quality, performance and ease of use, Darbyshire said.

"If you download two applications, they will have a very similar look and feel," Darbyshire noted. "You can be secure that ... best practices around software development have been included."

Applications and services will be contributed both by Archer and its clients. Some applications contributed by users may be free, while Archer will charge an $8,000 unlimited-user license fee per application. Some users may opt to charge for the applications they have created as well.

Jeff Jenkins, vice president of information security governance and compliance at First American Corp., said that while Archer allows his company to gain an enterprise view of its own compliance initiatives, the exchange will allow First American to further expand that view by using applications built by others.

"The time savings we'll gain from downloading prebuilt applications to address our business challenges will be significant," he noted in a statement.

Andrew Jaquith, a senior analyst at Yankee Group Research Inc., noted that emerging online communities like the exchange allow companies to share solutions to common problems and speed application development while reducing costs.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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