I participated in a lively destinationCRM webinar today that included a couple of other Salesforce AppExchange partners – Birst and Attivio. While there were many wide-ranging questions about SaaS/Cloud trends (Who are the buyers? What role is IT now playing in procurement and application management? How important is security? etc.), I wanted to put this one out there for discussion:
Why is SaaS/Cloud integration now getting so much attention?”
I answered with these three reasons:
- Growing SaaS/Cloud application adoption. I believe we’ve hit a tipping point in terms of SaaS/Cloud application adoption and there is certainly no shortage of analyst research to back this up. Not surprisingly, Gartner says Cloud Computing is the Top Technology Trend in 2010.
- Economic Pressures. If Nike were to develop a marketing campaign to an IT buyer right now, it might go something like this: JUST DO MORE WITH LESS. Whether you’re considering software, platform, or infrastructure as a service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), the cloud is clearly now seen as a way for IT to better align with the business while keeping costs down.
- More Data, Less Trustworthy Information. Is it time to dust off the old “one version of the truth” message? There is an everpresent need for timely, trusted, and consistent information. Data quality has always been a CRM challenge and the broad shift to cloud-based applications only makes matters worse unless a comprehensive data integration strategy is established up front. Not surprisingly, many of the challenges you hear about from early SaaS application adopters sound strickingly similar to the early data warehousing challenges of data mart proliferation, spreadmarts, and the like.
The good news is that support for open standards and robust APIs are now considered essential for true SaaS applications and platforms to be considered. The bad news is that the vendors of these solutions occassionally overpromote “integration simplification,” leaving it up to the customer to figure out how to stitch it all together downstream. Another reason why cloud integration (whether it’s data loading, data synchronization, data replication, or data quality) is getting so much attention right now.