I spent some time the other day talking with Tom Mornini, founder of Boocx (more on them to come). Suffice it to say Boocx is focused on becoming the accounting platform for web developers – but platform in the true sense of the word – some core pieces of infrastructure that, via API hooks can become an integral part of the application a developer is using it with. It’s an outside/in approach to applications and one which is starting to be credible – no longer do people want to traverse a growing list of discrete apps, or be forced into a particular application to do something that is non-core to their business, rather they just want to work within their core systems and have peripheral functions handled from there.

It’s a compelling approach – likened, in some ways, to Facebook’s approach which sees people almost anywhere on the web able to share content with their social graph, without visiting Facebook itself. It’s an emerging theme for business applications, especially ones that sell into the SMB market – something that time tracking and invoicing vendor Harvest has noticed and is reacting to.

Harvest is today announcing a new platform that aims to help developers bring time tracking directly into their applications – by simply adding some Javascript and HTML to their code, developers can track time within their own applications – it’s kind of like “Intel inside” for time tracking. It lets a discrete business process become and integral part of workflow, rather than a jump to another system that entails a cognitive leap. The platform takes the Chrome extension approach that harvest used in their Basecamp integration,but delivers it directly within the application itself.

While this integration is just one little announcement, the general trend is interesting and one which I talked about length in the past when I was consulting with vendors of cloud accounting solutions – the concept that in the future they may have customers who never actually work within their application (or at least within the UI of their application). Finding ways to monetize, gain and retain mindshare and create a viable business when building to this hyper-modular world will change the world for incumbent vendors but it also has the ability to disrupt the new entrants in the space as well, people like Xero who have built their business by creating an ecosystem of connected applications – the Boocx approach of making an accounting system that is an integral thread within applications counters this approach. It’s akin to creating a real time and data-level infrastructure thread that weaves throughout a small businesses’ process and time – a big challenge, but fascinating to watch it being built out.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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