Last week, our friends at Think Strategies published their report on impact of integration on cloud progress. While the study findings are useful (more details below) of greater interest was the study sponsor, MuleSoft. The open source Mule project was founded in 2003 by Ross Mason who now serves as CTO of MuleSoft. The visions as to create a new platform that emphasised ease of development, flexibility, and re-use of components. Since then, the company has launched iON, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS). iON enables developers and application teams to integrate and orchestrate applications and services seamlessly across the enterprise and cloud.

Study findings in a nutshell:

  1. Integration is a key to winning new customers: Over eighty-eight percent (88.8%) of SaaS/Cloud vendor respondents view integration as either important or extremely important in winning new customers.
  2. Integration need is widespread:A majority of SaaS/Cloud vendors (52.8%) say that more than half of their customers require integration. Dealing with integration issues is the norm, not the exception, when deploying SaaS/Cloud solutions.
  3. Integration is the top barrier to new SaaS/Cloud sales: Almost eighty-eight percent (87.7%) of SaaS/Cloud companies identified integration as a common or very common sales hurdle.
  4. Impact of integration on time-to-value:Integration is the most time-consuming element of customer implementation, with 79.3% of respondents saying that integration was highly time-consuming or somewhat time-consuming.
  5. Integration is a critical component of SaaS offerings:Nearly two-thirds (62.5%) of the SaaS/Cloud companies believe integration is a critical part of their solution.

All good stuff that users will agree with. The bigger issue here though is how integration is creeping into the operational domain. With static projects, integration was a one off activity, at the beginning. With cloud solutions, the promise is ease of integration on an ongoing basis, with services that could not have been foreseen at time of initial subscription. There is little evidence that service providers have allocated sufficient resources to address this type of operational requirement.

Image credit: Alan Vernon

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