Cloud Vendors Say Integration Major Question in Winning Your Business

    Here’s an idea: If you can’t or don’t want to handle SaaS integration, make it a point of negotiation with the SaaS vendors.

    MuleSoft and THINKstrategies released the results of their market survey on SaaS and cloud vendors today. What’s different about this particular survey is that instead of querying end-user companies, the researchers talked to SaaS vendors about how integration affects things on their end.

    That makes sense when you consider that MuleSoft offers CloudHub integration platform as a service (iPaaS), which allows vendors to build integration connectors for their solutions and connect to other cloud or on-premise solutions.

    The findings are also useful if you’re a CIO or other business leader who is reviewing or negotiating with SaaS providers.

    The survey found that 90 percent consider integration to be important or extremely important in winning new clients. And 44 percent confessed that an inability to integrate with customers’ existing systems became a hurdle in the sales conversation.

    So while integration may be a headache for you, for SaaS/cloud vendors, it can be a make-or-break business issue. To back that up, the survey found that two out of three SaaS executives view integration as a critical part of their solution.

    That’s a good thing to know if you’re a CIO, particularly if you’re not really interested in handling that part of the SaaS puzzle.

    It also included this piece of good news: Forty percent of SaaS/cloud vendors are building custom integrations in-house in order to connect with other apps and systems.

    In addition to the sales challenges integration creates, integration and data loading are also a major implementation issue, with 64 percent citing them as the most time-consuming aspects of adding customers.

    KPMG’s recent survey looked at the integration from the end-user organization’s point of view, asking 700 executives about cloud integration.

    Nearly a third said integration was harder and more expensive than anticipated. I can’t help but suspect there’s a correlation between those unexpected costs and the fact that so many respondents said they were using in-house staff to handle the integration — even though this is an area where they felt their organizations were least skilled.

    To be fair, I’m not sure how much SaaS and cloud vendors can negotiate on integration. What I’ve heard leads me to suspect that, at this point, it’s something they either offer or they don’t.

    But perhaps as more executives ensure integration is a key criterion when evaluating SaaS and cloud solutions, we’ll see more vendors addressing the cloud-to-on-premise integration solution.

    Given the results of the KPMG, that might be in everyone’s best interest in the short term.

    However, long-term this could become a problem, depending on how cloud-invested your IT strategy becomes. CIOs may want to think about an architecture that will support multiple cloud connections.

    I’m not an expert, but the MuleSoft survey did show vendors are pursuing point-to-point integrations. In the past, that’s caused problems, and you don’t want your infrastructure becoming spaghetti junctions, with too many cloud connections clogging up your systems.


    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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