Coghead on AWS: The SaaS Ecosystem Expands

Coghead, like DabbleDB and Zoho Creator, allows you to quickly create a hosted database-backed web application without programming. But unlike DabbleDB and Zoho Creator, Coghead wants to create a platform not just for web applications but for web businesses, and they’re doing it on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Coghead is building their business on a model similar to that of AWS: providing agile and scalable services over the web using pay-as-you-go pricing. Through their affiliate program, Coghead makes it easy for more software-as-a-service (SaaS) web businesses to launch, just like Amazon wants to use their limited beta DevPay service to encourage SaaS businesses atop AWS.

In Coghead on AWS, you can see the arrival of the SaaS ecosystem, as web-based services combined and layered on top of each other make it easier and cheaper than ever for anyone with a good web business idea to turn it into a revenue stream.

Coghead unveils v2.0 on Amazon Web Services

Today Coghead unveils version 2.0 of its do-it-yourself web application platform. Their 50 new features and enhancements look less interesting than their migration to Amazon Web Services for their computing infrastructure. (CTO Greg Olsen, who sees a SaaS-based ecosystem as the inevitable future of computing, calls AWS the most significant product of his lifetime.)

To build an application with Coghead, you drag and drop widgets to make web forms via Coghead’s Flex-based user interface. You don’t have to do any programming because Coghead has done that for you, nor do you have to buy and manage your own hardware and hosting. Coghead handles that for you, too — by delegating such responsibilities to AWS and to services built on top of AWS.

Web businesses, not just web applications

In December, Coghead launched the Coghead Affiliate Program, which provides system integrators, value-added resellers, and web tycoon wannabes an easy way to build and sell web applications using a SaaS model. Coghead affiliates build applications using Coghead’s do-it-yourself interface, then set their own per-user, per-month prices for use of those applications. Coghead takes their part of the monthly user fees, while the application developer gets the rest as revenue.

Until now, there hasn’t been an easy, low-cost way for a tech-savvy person with a good niche web application idea to turn that into a business. You’d have to find programmers, arrange web hosting, and build a payment system into your application. Coghead does all that for you.

The next web expansion?

Coghead builds on the SaaS offerings of others, including AWS (which offers both hardware and software as a service), as well on other services built on top of AWS — such as offerings from RightScale. Coghead in turn creates an environment for yet more SaaS businesses to launch. Current affiliates include Hekamedia for education, allRounds for private equity, and MCF Technology Solutions for general business applications.

Coghead is just one of many companies growing in the SaaS ecosystem. I previously covered Workplace2Go, which offers hosted business applications and uses the Jamcracker service delivery network behind the scenes. Workplace2Go, like Coghead, reduces the friction of starting a business.

It’s too early to tell which players in the SaaS ecosystem will survive and thrive — but Coghead, as both a consumer and producer of service-based offerings, looks well-positioned for success in this cost-efficient new world.

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