Written on Monday, April 07, 2008 by Gemini
Source: Gartner report, 2008
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) customers increasingly need to integrate their internal applications directly with the software functionality available from SaaS providers.
Vendors should implement a portfolio approach to their multienterprise integration strategy to best meet the diverse needs of their target market.
- Multienterprise integration is complex and resource-intensive.
- SaaS customers need to deal with SaaS integration just as they do for multienterprise integration with other external business partners.
- SaaS vendors that choose a one-size-fits-all approach to multienterprise SaaS integration are more likely to fail to meet the diverse requirements of SaaS customers.
- SaaS vendors can build or outsource their business-to-business (B2B) infrastructure.
- SaaS customers should evaluate multienterprise SaaS integration from SaaS vendors the same way they evaluate multienterprise integration solutions from other vendors.
- SaaS customers should ask SaaS providers for details about multienterprise SaaS strategy and pricing, and whether their preferred method of integration is supported.
- SaaS vendors should offer a portfolio approach to multienterprise SaaS integration; those that can't do this unilaterally should partner to accomplish this approach.
- When doing integration with multiple business partners, including a SaaS vendor, SaaS customers should implement a portfolio approach to multienterprise integration.
The Multienterprise SaaS Integration Problem:
Although some SaaS-based software functionality can be delivered via the ubiquitous Web browser, in many cases, direct application integration between the software functionality of the SaaS provider and its customer's internal applications and systems are required. We refer to this scenario as "multienterprise SaaS integration." As is the case for internal application integration, the particular type of integration problem you are solving for multienterprise SaaS integration can vary.
For example, the problem you may be solving may be data synchronization, process integration or composite application integration (see "Three Forms of Interapplication Integration in Healthcare"). Regardless of which three integration problems you are solving for multienterprise SaaS integration, the approach can vary widely: for example, batch vs. real-time interaction; or flat files vs. electronic data interchange (EDI), XML or Web services. In addition to achieving basic multienterprise integration, SaaS vendors also need to support multienterprise process visibility (for example, a view of the business process spanning the SaaS provider's and SaaS customer's applications) and compliance (for example, monitoring and enforcing security and service-level agreements).
Alternative SaaS Vendor Strategies for Multienterprise Integration:
Whether large or small, SaaS vendors will ultimately choose one of three strategies for multienterprise SaaS integration:
- One size fits all
- Any way you want it
- Portfolio approach