by Christophe Primault
Published on 22 November 2010
After IBM acquiring CastIron a few months ago, we recently heard that Dell bought Boomi and I bet there will be more news like this as other independent integration software vendors, such as Appirio, Kapow, Pervasive, SnapLogic, or RunMyProcess may not resist the likeliness to get snapped by IT giants in the next months.
But beyond this spree of integration vendors acquisitions the real questions for businesses are:
What is web-based apps, or call it cloud-based apps or SaaS, integration?
Why is it that hot?
Why should I care?
First a quick definition from Cloudappintegration.com : "SaaS integration is the process of getting SaaS tools to work with and alongside both on-premise and other SaaS applications that your organization relies upon every day. SaaS integration requires new strategies and expertise in order to make applications on multiple platforms and delivered in multiple ways come together to power your business."
Now let's see why it is hot and why you should care.
1) Everyone needs it
When you buy a new application, after the first light of excitement - this app is really easy to use, it solves my problem immediately, what a great design….the next question in line is inevitably: how will I integrate this with my legacy on-premises apps or with other SaaS solutions?
Let's face it, most small businesses don't think that much about the integration issue before buying a new app, well vendors make it very easy to buy with just a few clicks. Then most of us who bought a web-based app quickly realize how painful integration can be.
This is why end-users, ISVs, SIs and channel partners need it. Without integration web-based apps can not deliver their full potential and can't make users happy.
2) The number of integration points is huge and so is the business opportunity
Even if most SaaS providers offer applications "fit for integration", usual through an open API, it will only integrate with mainstream apps such as Google Apps, QuickBooks or Salesforce.com.
But there is a multitude of needs for on-premises to cloud and cloud to cloud solutions and the ecosystem of cloud-based applications is growing an incredible pace. This is fostering the development of a huge number of data adapters or apps connectors.
ISVs and integrators such as Informatica offer integration services to help large enterprises integrate new SaaS solutions with existing infrastructure but smaller businesses will have to rely on affordable and ready to use solutions to integrate not only mainstream business applications but also the longer tail of cloud-based applications that serve more specific requirements.
There are endless need of integrations scenarios and there will be a large number of integration services providers designing business processes and workflows for companies of all sizes.
3) It is complex stuff
Beyond legacy and cloud integration, there are multiple dimensions to apps integration that will make it a very complex experience. Think about mobile apps and social media apps that also need to be added to the fold.
Integration can be a major hurdle for companies willing to get started with cloud apps, it is on par or even of greater concern than security but the availability, quality and affordable pricing of a bubbly ecosystem of integration services should alleviate these issues and accelerate the pace for more and more applications to move in the cloud.
We came across Cazoomi a company that is dedicated on integrating cloud applications together and found that they had a nice set of pre-built connectors.