Integration As A Service

Coming from an IT background as a BA/PM mapping fields and integration between systems was always a big problem.  Enter SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and now BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) have greatly simplified this task and integration while still a concern has been mitigated to a certain degree.

 Older systems were difficult to integrate to, often inflexible and needed special coding to alter or extract, transform and load (ETL) info to have a seamless bidirectional flow to allow maximum usability and to leverage existing from several systems.  Recently at DreamForce we previewed and analyzed many nextgen software vendors that take a different approach to integration.

 Newer software vendors publicly publish their application program interface specifications (API) a real departure from proprietary code and shrouding any enhancements to be done specifically by the vendor at ridiculous prices, the customer was held hostage there so to speak.  In today’s environment software vendors understand there are natural compliments to their software and it makes sense to integrate to a complimentary system or add functionality to an existing system that customers may already have in place such as a popular CRM or other ERP’s etc.  By making these API’s readily available smaller companies can now easily interface to existing and new systems by interfacing with other systems.

 Many new vendors have taken a different approach to integration.  Vendors have built platforms that are business process management layers that can not only aggregate data but can extract, load, interpret, apply rules, add workflows, allow single-source administration, escalation alerts, add additional steps and finally push that datastream and format to the next system.  The business process platform facilitates the intermediary steps within the integration process.  The added versatility that these softwares provide simplify IT and greatly expand the options for SMB. Often, SMB have many pointed solutions for every task and management  of several systems becomes problematic.

 These new business process platforms have many different options as most are offered as a service or through the SaaS option.  These vendors often have connectors that are prebuilt to popular systems already. In these cases where prebuilt integrations and connectors are part of the package integration it becomes as easy as a drag and drop scenario without any heavy coding as previously required.  Most of these services offer prebuilt connectors as options for extra cost.  All things considered, is not easier to seamlessly integrate to a Salesforce CRM and adding a project management or marketing automation to compliment the CRM functionality you already have ?   This approach drastically reduces development time and may show a decrease of overall project time, which will consequently lower costs.

 Business process management that resides outside of your existing software is a unique way of integrating many disparate systems that simplifies once secretive coding by vendors.  This approach may have stemmed from customers demanding more and the social enterprise now requires this as criteria when evaluating software. Whatever the reason, business process as a service is step for the better.

 Eval‐Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain strategy, social media and technology consulting. Eval‐Source is an industry leader in the analysis of software technology and our thought leadership has placed us in the elite of consulting/analyst firms. What sets us apart is our unbiased best in class consulting services that provide our clients with value, direction and success in selection, planning and infrastructure planning of their technology systems. or on twitter @eval_source

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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