New integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offerings aim to relieve the pain of SaaS and cloud integration, which has been so onerous that many organizations have pulled the plug on SaaS projects.
The number one cloud and SaaS challenge for many developers and organizations might just surprise you. It’s not security, lack of standards, or even reliability, but… dramatic drum roll… integration.
Recently, Gartner did a study of companies transitioning to SaaS. The study found that many businesses were actually pulling their data back out of cloud-based applications, so Gartner asked why.
The research firm asked 270 executives “Why is your organization currently transitioning from a SaaS solution to an on-premises solution?” For 56 percent of respondents, the number one reason was the unexpectedly significant requirements of integration.
More than half of the people who tried moving their businesses to a cloud-based application and pulled back did so because integrating those applications with the rest of their business proved too challenging to be worthwhile.
Based on this apparent pain point, Gartner has predicted that at least 35 percent of all large and midsize organizations worldwide will be using one or more integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offerings by 2015.
Of course, concerns about the integration challenges of adopting SaaS are not new. Another survey, done in 2009 by Saugatuck Technology, asked executives about their concerns regarding SaaS deployment and use. Thirty-nine percent of respondents predictably cited “data security and privacy concerns,”32 percent chose “integrating SaaS with existing enterprise applications,” and 27 percent chose “integrating SaaS data with existing enterprise data.”
iPaaS Tools for Cloud and SaaS Integration Woes
The solution to these various integration problems could be iPaaS, which seeks to integrate cloud-based and on-premise apps. Two vendors with iPaaS solutions are MuleSoft and Workday.
“The growth in number and use of SaaS applications creates new integration challenges,” said Ross Mason, founder and CTO of Mulesoft.
“Each SaaS application is a silo of data and/or functionality that requires an integration solution,” said Mason. “The fact that SaaS applications are so easy to consume means that we get even more fragmentation across departments in a single company, which means more integration points.”
Mulesoft recently went live with its public beta of Mule iON, a cloud-based iPaaS.
Mason said Mule iON is the first iPaaS to address the challenge of integrating SaaS applications in the cloud with on-premise systems.
Using a graphical design environment, users can build integration applications, leveraging off-the-shelf cloud connectors, and deploy them with one click to Mule iON, he added.
“Unlike current offerings in the market that merely facilitate point-to-point integrations to SaaS systems, Mule iON provides a platform for scalable integration across the enterprise and the cloud,” said Greg Schott, MuleSoft’s CEO.
Schott said the Mule iON platform provides the easiest way for SaaS vendors to on-board their customers, by enabling vendors and system integrators to quickly build and offer domain-specific integration applications.
One happy user of Mule iON is PeopleMatter, a SaaS-based talent management provider for the service industry.
PeopleMatter needed a way to quickly integrate its customers’ existing point solutions seamlessly in the PeopleMatter platform. These disparate systems include HRIS, point of sale, time cards and payroll, which are often a mix of on-premise and third-party SaaS applications.
“With the phenomenal growth we’ve been experiencing at PeopleMatter, one of our biggest challenges in onboarding of customers is the integration of our service with our customers’ existing systems,” said Ken Haigh, COO of PeopleMatter. “Mule iON helps make it simple to deliver this integration, allowing our customers to focus on delivering the best service to their end-customers rather than managing IT.”
Back in March of this year, Workday launched the Workday Integration Cloud Platform, a set of tools for building integrations that connect Workday with other business systems and applications.
Today’s enterprise applications rarely live in isolation, said Aneel Bhusri, Workday co-founder and CEO.
“Although integration is fundamental to enterprise and business applications, it is also the greatest deployment challenge for IT,” he said.
“By enabling our customers and partners to self build, deploy, run, and manage integrations in the Workday cloud, we believe we solve more of the integration problem than any other SaaS application vendor,” added Bhusri.