With its promise of simple and inexpensive solutions, SaaS applications might just be the thing for your small business.
However, purchasing a SaaS solution is only half the job done.
The other half consists of integrating your existing internal business applications with the external SaaS application to enable exchange of data and information. Then, there is that bigger question of customizing the external application to fit your business processes.
Integrating applications can be a pretty complex task
This is because different applications speak different languages. For a long time, web application programming interfaces (or, APIs, as they are popularly known) and middleware layer software such as TIBCO and Oracle functioned as integrators that exchanged and synchronized data between cloud-based and onsite applications. The problem with that approach was that it was expensive (buying additional software), resource-intensive (deploying teams of additional programmers to the task), and complex (analyzing feasible application endpoints). SaaS, which is really about cost-saving and convenience, ended up costing more for small businesses.
New types of easy-to-use connectors that use visual elements have become popular in recent times. These connectors enable small businesses to configure and manage integration. In addition, this approach saves small business owners time (integration can be completed in a matter of hours), money (they are considerably cheaper as compared to other solutions), and effort (they are self-managed solutions and do not require teams of expert coders). Because they are self-managed, such solutions also enable you to customize your business processes at will to reflect changes in your offline processes.
Use cloud apps integration specialists
Popular cloud-based vendors, such as Salesforce.com, partner with connectors such as Atlassian to simplify integration processes for their applications. AppFusions, OneSaaS and Cazoomi are popular integrators. By themselves, connectors cannot exchange data; they need workflow platform builders such as Snaplogic and runmyprocess. The combination of connectors with workflow platforms enables a seamless and smooth transition of data between your on-premise and cloud-based solutions. In the end, it turns out to be a win-win situation for everyone, including customers and cloud vendors.