On the heals of last weeks postings concerning the rapid growth of SaaS, Cloud and Social Media data, and the corresponding growth in the need to integrate such data sources, as of today, there's even more to write about.
Today, Gartner Research reported that the social customer relationship management market is set to grow by a staggering 40% in 2011 alone.
More than 100 vendors have social CRM offerings, and that's a lot of integration points - given that many of these vendors have paid little attention to integration, interoperability or collaboration with other software packages.
If SaaS companies are doing so much better at Integration...what's the problem?
A recent Integration Developer News article based on a recent SIIA/OPEXEngine report implied that integration woes are largely over - "The ability to integrate a SaaS application hosted in the cloud with on-premise assets, is improving all the time".
In "SaaS Companies Doing Well, Thanks in Part to Integration", Loraine Lawson discusses the report, but correctly raises the point that integration woes might not necessarily be over....for customers.
Yes, integration woes aren't what they used to be...IF you're a SaaS Vendor.
The SIIA report and most of the analysis surrounding it is SaaS Software-vendor focused. Not "SaaS software customer-focused".
It's relevant if you're a SaaS vendor, or a VC investing in SaaS vendors.
On the average, each individual SaaS software vendor's product is easier to integrate that it was a year or two ago.
But I look at this from a CUSTOMER perspective. And the SIIA report doesn't concern itself with that perspective - that's not what it's about. It reports on Software companies.
Companies are using dramatically more and more SaaS/Cloud/Social Media products.
And barriers to switching are far lower with SaaS products than On-Prem software products. Ask anyone who's tried to un-install Siebel or SAP.
More end-points, more change. More often.
Oh, and lots of new products - like the whole Social Media CRM space that didn't even exist just a few years ago, and all of a sudden, it's a billion dollar market with over 100 players.
To complicate matters, the relationship between effort to integrate (and maintain integration) between end-points is not a linear one. Integrating 20 end-points together is typically considerably more than 10x the effort than that to integrate 2 end-points.
So, are SaaS integration woes over? No, they're just beginning.