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Integration on the Edge: Data Explosion & Next-Gen Integration

Hollis Tibbetts

Perspectives on Gartner's Data and Application Integration Story

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Earlier today, I attended a live webinar featuring Massimo Pezzini, Gartner VP and author of a series of Research Reports on Integration Platforms as a Service ("iPaaS").

I have written a series of articles on these Research Reports - and have criticized them as being quite confusing, more of an academic exercise in classification than something useful to organizations facing integration problems, and generally speaking "just not very understandable, readable or useful".

The title of today's webinar was "Integration PaaS: Enabling the Global Integrated Enterprise". According to the invite: "in this live, limited-registration webinar, featured speaker Massimo Pezzini, VP & Gartner Fellow, Gartner will introduce the notion and industry impact of iPaaS, a cloud-based alternative to integration middleware."

Considering how severely I beat up his research reports, I was very interested to hear what he had to say "live" about iPaaS. Besides, it's not very often you get to listen to Gartner Analysts talk for an hour for free - without paying a pile of money to attend a conference or to hire the analyst for a strategy session.

I was expecting a presentation that mirrored the iPaaS Research Reports - confusing, academic, not terribly useful - and had resigned myself to the unpleasant task of having to report that.

That's not at all what Gartner delivered, though.

The webinar was miles ahead of the Research Reports in clarity and usefulness. It exceeded my expectations and Pezzini made a number of great points that really helped crystallize the differences between traditional old-fashioned on-premises integration middleware and the new generation of integration products like Boomi, InformaticaCloud, MuleSoft Mule iON, SnapLogic and the likes.

I'd be quite interested in hearing what other attendees thought (comment on this posting, tweet me @SoftwareHollis or email me), but in my opinion, Pezzini did a far better job explaining what iPaaS was in this webinar than was done in the Research Reports.

Additionally the webinar provided much more information of practical value to those facing integration issues or evaluating integration technologies. There was just a lot more clarity, insight and practical advice.

Pezzini clearly spent considerable effort to fine-tune the iPaaS message - resulting in a much more effective communication about the iPaaS technology category. This alleviates (to a considerable degree) my anxiety on the topic.

The thoughts and concepts in Pezzini's head on iPaaS are rock solid. And they way that those thoughts and concepts were expressed during the live webinar were significantly superior to the way that those thoughts were expressed on paper in the iPaaS Research Reports.

In an upcoming article (or perhaps more than one), I'll discuss some of my biggest areas of concern/confusion in the iPaaS reports, and then detail how Pezzini resolved the issue during today's presentation.

So it's a classic "good news/bad news" scenario.

The good news - Pezzini knows what he's talking about. The iPaaS material he's presenting is strong.

The bad news - those written Research Reports don't do the topic of iPaaS justice. The reports are still out there, they're still confusing. I still mostly dislike them.

My advice - instead of spending your organization's hard-earned money on the three iPaaS Research Reports, take one of the two following options instead:

a) Spend a little more money and invest in an hour of Pezzini's time and have him explain it all to you; or

b) Buy & read the research reports and THEN cough up a bit more cash to get an hour of Pezzini's time so that he can explain it all to you.

If you do this, make sure you ask him to present the following slides (at a minimum):
• "Cloud Service Integration vs. Classic Application and Data Integration"
• "Integration Platform as a Service Defined"
• a COMPLETE walk-through of the "Gartner iPaaS Reference Model" slide
• "iPaaS is not only about Cloud Service Integration",
• "Your Integration Architecture will be hybrid and distributed"
• "12 month action plan"

Note that Boomi is still providing free access to the latest iPaaS report, and IBM is providing free access to the first iPaaS report (August 2011).

Warning: you'll have to register to get them - but considering how expensive they normally are, that's a fair trade.

Note: if anyone is aware of vendors sponsoring the second iPaaS report, please let me know and I'll add that into the list. Despite the flaws, there's good information in those reports.

For Christmas this year (and hopefully much earlier), perhaps Santa Claus will bring me a brand new iPaaS report - one that is pretty much a word-for-word transcription of what Massimo said today on that webinar, along with some of the pictures from his PowerPoint presentation.

And if Santa decided to take the 3 older reports back to the North Pole with him, that wouldn't bother me much at all.

Note: Hollis Tibbetts works for Dell, Inc.'s Global Mergers and Acquisitions Group as a Director for Software Strategy.

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This blog offers an informed and informative perspective on the ongoing explosion of data and the technologies used to turn this data explosion into assets and competitive advantages.

Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis has established himself as a successful software marketing and technology expert. His various strategy, marketing and technology articles are read nearly 50,000 times a month. He is currently Director for Global Marketing Operations for Dell Software Group. Hollis has developed substantial expertise in middleware, SaaS, Cloud, data management and distributed application technologies, with over 20 years experience in marketing, technical, product management, product marketing and business development roles at leading companies in such as Pervasive, Aruna (acquired by Progress Software), Sybase (now SAP), webMethods (now Software AG), M7 Corporation (acquired by BEA/Oracle), OnDisplay (acquired by Vignette) and KIVA Software (acquired by Netscape). He has established himself as an industry expert, having authored a large number of technology white papers, as well as published media articles and book contributions. Hollis is a top-ranked author on Sys-Con media, is also published on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on creating great software: Software Marketing 2013. He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

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