One of the areas that CIO’s constantly struggle with is how to integrate disparate programs that weren’t originally designed with integration in mind. I have personally dealt with these problems both as a former CIO and later as a consulting partner. The rapid move to SaaS has solved some problems but has allowed the integration problem to continue and in some ways get worse. Software-as-a-service vendors have struggled to find a good way to integrate their apps with those made by other vendors in addition to the problem of integrating with legacy applications. David Lithicum has pointed out that “As more enterprises move their applications to SaaS, there is a growing need for SaaS-to-SaaS integration,” “Unfortunately, as customers are requesting this, many of the SaaS providers are stumped for an answer; beyond [hiring] a bunch of developers and hoping for the best. Too often, this approach creates expensive and “cumbersome architectures that lack agility”.
Integration with legacy enterprise applications is often made more challenging by the fact that it is an afterthought for many organizations. SaaS creates silos of customers’ information in the cloud in the SaaS vendors’ data centers. “You typically want to integrate with your data center, and you have to figure out how to make that integration occur … [which] needs to happen even before you pick your SaaS,” said Blue Mountain Labs founder and CTO David Linthicum.
Given the customization work that’s involved in integrating on-premises apps and data with Software as a Service (SaaS) apps, it can cost between $80,000 and $100,000 and six to twelve months to move data, not to mention programming in the workflows necessary to automate the process between SaaS apps.
There’s an expectation that moving to a SaaS-based solution is going to solve all of an enterprise’s problems, and they’re shocked when they see what it will cost.
That is what drove our decision to partner with a SaaS tool vendor, Azuqua, that has built a software and workflow scripting solution that can solve the integration issue at a fraction of the cost and time required to do the same thing using expensive custom programming services.