Forrester Predicts 'Minimal' Success for SaaS Integration

Loraine Lawson

Keeping up with SaaS news is like trying to keep a litter of puppies in a box: Another piece is constantly popping up. Yet despite the flood of SaaS coverage, very few articles mention the integration challenges of SaaS.


That's too bad, because, as IT Business Edge has repeatedly pointed out, integration should be a core criteria when you're evaluating SaaS vendors.


One reason it's such an issue is that SaaS vendors seldom include integration as part of their sales package. According to this Supply & Demand Chain Executive article by a senior VP at appliance and SaaS integration vendor Cast Iron, 62 percent of IT executives say integration with non-SaaS applications is their number-one challenge when trying to roll out SaaS solutions.


SaaS integration solutions seem like an obvious choice to help companies integrate with all those cloud applications. You would think SaaS integration solutions would inevitably thrive on the rising popularity of SaaS.


But that's unlikely to be the case, according to Forrester, which recently issued a series of predictions about which enterprise technologies would hit the cloud big time, and integration wasn't one of them.


Collaboration, Web conferencing, CRM and online backup were among the "no-duh" winner predictions. The more surprising candidates for success were Human Capital Management/Human Resources solutions and IT Service Management (ITSM).


But when it comes to integration and business intelligence, Forrester predicts only "minimal success:"


"As SaaS solutions flourish in the enterprise, SaaS-specific integration solutions will naturally rise, too. However, firms should not expect any magic integration solutions, SaaS or otherwise."


Bummer, huh? Of course, this is bad news for the many vendors who've launched an SaaS integration solution, including Cast Iron, Informatica and SnapLogic.


It's also bad news for end-user companies. After all, SaaS integration is no picnic.Some have even predicted that it could affect SaaS adoption in the enterprise realm.


I think the real problem is this: Companies aren't willing-or able, in the case of compliance issues-to send data flying over the firewall, even if it would simplify integration or cut integration costs.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 18, 2009 11:59 AM Jerry Jerry  says:

The need for data storage is becoming very critical for SMB and consumers in general. North Americans have almost stopped using the DELETE button to delete files, they just keep their files. Perhaps it is time to remove the DELETE button from our key boards.

Early adopters have been using online backup for a while now. It is a matter of time till all computer users start using online backup services.

There is a very good resource site for online backup and storage. Check it out:


Mar 19, 2009 11:43 AM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says: in response to Zaki Usman

Automating workflows of Business users that include SAAS and non-SAAS applications is now solved. Look at products like OpenSpan. Regardless of whether the applications (internal or external) were built with API's, the technology exists today to have them generate significant business productivity gains through automation.

Moving beyond just automating SAAS and non-SAAS, using this desktop automated workflow approach also enables you provide other immediate benefits for business; User event monitoring and alerts, fraud/compliance detection/enforcement and even extending the workflows to include new business processes and functionality beyond the original intent of the developer/vendor. You don't even need access to the source code now to do this!

Mar 19, 2009 1:26 PM Zaki Usman Zaki Usman  says:

I think you hit the nail on the head. When it comes to compliance issues, SaaS may have its limitations. But when there are no compliance mandates in place, then SaaS vendors who have earned the market trust would not have any issues in customers sharing valuable data across the firewall. That is what we've found out in our project management system.

Mar 21, 2009 1:20 PM Debashish Sarkar Debashish Sarkar  says:

Integration as a challenge is not new to SaaS. It is certainly not trivial or unimportant. However that is not a reason to not go SaaS.

At the least SaaS is expected to provide an ROI against wasteful IT Opex in many organizations;

SaaS or XaaS, Virtualization, Clouds are examples of technological solution advancement  providing an opportunity for nimble IT functionality.

Integration is driven by business processes - another area that can only benefit by adapting to emerging technologies.

Success with SaaS or any advanced technology will depend purely depend on an organizations desire and commitment to chnging with the times - if they don't change, they risk the hazard of being left by those who take these innovative approaches.

Mar 25, 2009 5:20 PM Mike Pittaro Mike Pittaro  says:

It's not bad news for SnapLogic;  SaaS Integration is not the same the same as Integration as Saas. See my comments at http://blog.snaplogic.org/?p=263

Aug 13, 2009 7:26 PM Song Song  says:

Integration is indeed one of the challenges that SaaS vendors need to overcome to increase adoption.  Others are long term ROI, data security (which you also alluded to) and scalability. 

In my blog, I commented on an article that says SaaS vendors should really use other SaaS software to run their own G&A.  If they can't, maybe the SaaS value proposition still has some ways to go?


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