Integration Ranks as Time-Consuming, Key Concern for SaaS

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Data Integration Remains a Major IT Headache

Study shows that data integration is still costly and requires a lot of manual coding.

The cloud may simplify a lot of technology for a lot of people, but when it comes to integration, it seems even SaaS doesn't get a break.


A recent survey found integration is now a major barrier to cloud adoption, with nearly 88 percent of SaaS companies saying integration concerns will slow down adoption and more than 88 percent saying it's an important or extremely important factor in winning new customers.


Oh, integration, you heartless rogue.


Long, long ago, when SaaS first started, there was some question about how cloud integration would be handled. With so many partners vying to handle integration for Salesforce, you could understand a certain lackadaisical approach to integration on the part of SaaS providers.


But, oh, how time changes things. ThinkStrategies, a strategic consulting services company, and MuleSoft (@mulejockey), which offers a platform for cloud integration (iPaaS), queried SaaS and cloud companies about integration and other challenges. While the news release didn't indicate how many SaaS/cloud providers were surveyed, it is clear that integration is more than a minor hiccup for those who did respond.


For instance, nearly 53 percent said that more than half their customers require some form of integration work, making integration challenges a common issue for end-user companies. It's also incredibly time-consuming, with 79 percent of SaaS/cloud companies surveyed saying it's either a "highly" or "somewhat" time-consuming aspect of customer implementations.


Still, it's not something SaaS or cloud companies will easily be off-loading to someone else. Sixty-three percent of SaaS companies view integration as a critical part of their solution while only 28 percent said they had an ecosystem of partners to handle integration.


A cocky four percent said integration should be left entirely to the customer. The survey didn't name specific SaaS vendors, which is too bad - I'd be interested to know how that attitude works out for them.


I have to think that IT might get a chuckle out of this survey, which suggests SaaS vendors now know they have to support integration with on-premise apps, at the very least. I'm sure IT saw it coming, since integration has been a pressing concern for internal techies for so long.


On a vaguely related note, another open source integration company - Talend (@Talend) - launched a Twitter contest, and I just happen to be the judge. You could win an iPad for tweeting your response to this question: What's the number one thing you wish your company understood about integration?