Ross Mason

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Integration Causes SaaS Customers to Rethink Cloud Strategy

Although SaaS vendors recognize that integration's a major obstacle for end users, they don’t always invest the time & resources

With the increasing use of SaaS applications and the move towards hybrid architectures, cloud integration has become a mission-critical priority for the enterprise. The challenges of cloud integration have led some SaaS customers to rethink their cloud computing strategies while deterring prospective customers from adopting SaaS in the first place. More than ever, there is a crucial need for cloud integration solutions--and SaaS users are looking to SaaS vendors to provide them.

Although SaaS vendors recognize that integration is a major obstacle for end users, they don't always invest the time and resources needed to develop cloud integration technologies and solutions. And their reasons are perfectly understandable.

From a business standpoint, it makes sense that SaaS vendors give higher priority to their SaaS offerings than to developing integration solutions. After all, SaaS vendors are focused on delivering high quality business software, not integration. The result is that integration tends to be treated as an afterthought and SaaS vendors end up taking an ad hoc point-to-point approach that often doesn't meet customer expectations. Moreover, the time and costs required for building integrations from scratch or hiring system integrators to work on integration projects means that SaaS vendors have fewer resources to devote to their flagship products and services. What SaaS vendors need is a packaged solution that enables them to quickly build integrations and connectors for their customers while still focusing on their core business.

For SaaS users, the current lack of readily available cloud integration solutions means that valuable enterprise data builds up in disparate cloud silos. But like SaaS vendors, SaaS users want to avoid the burdens associated with writing and maintaining custom integration code, which undermines business efficiency and diminishes the ROI of deploying SaaS. Instead, SaaS users want integration solutions that are accessible and simple to use and quickly connect their SaaS applications, social media platforms, and on-premise legacy systems.

Given these integration challenges, we need a set of tools that can bridge the gap between end user needs and SaaS vendors' ability to meet them. Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) does just that.

As a cloud-based platform dedicated to building and running integrations across the cloud and enterprise, iPaaS enables SaaS vendors to configure integration applications without writing and maintaining custom code and then offer them to customers as packaged integration solutions. SaaS vendors can then continue to focus on their core offerings but also meet SaaS user demand for integration solutions.

SaaS users can also deploy their own integration applications to iPaaS and choose from a robust set of out-of-the-box connectors to quickly integrate popular SaaS applications and cloud services. iPaaS is open and flexible enough for SaaS users to build customized integrations to suit specific use cases and includes a secure channel for connecting cloud to premise.

In short, iPaaS is designed to meet the cloud integration needs of both SaaS vendors and users by providing a powerful, open integration platform with new capabilities to allow non-technical users to perform common integration tasks that unlock their data within SaaS applications.

More Stories By Ross Mason

Ross Masson is the CTO and Founder of MuleSoft. He founded the open source Mule® project in 2003. Frustrated by integration "donkey work," he set out to create a new platform that emphasized ease of development and re-use of components. He started the Mule project to bring a modern approach, one of assembly, rather than repetitive coding, to developers worldwide. Now, with the MuleSoft team, Ross is taking these founding principles of dead-simple integration to the cloud with Mule iON, the world's first integration platform as a service (iPaaS). Ross holds a BS (Hons) in Computer Science from Bristol, UK and has been named in InformationWeek's Top 10 Innovators & Influencers and InfoWorld's Top 25 CTOs.