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

Hollis Tibbetts

Cloud should be "top down", SaaS "bottom up"? Huh?

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It's rare that I ever disagree with @DavidLinthicum.

But this weekend, I read an otherwise great article in InfoWorld  entitled "Your company's cloud strategy must come from the top".

Today's "shadow IT" world - where every department seems to have the capability and desire to implement some form of IT infrastructure has resulted in a lot of developers driving the charge for Cloud adoption in organizations.

Dave Linthicum rightly points out that the best approach is to start at the top.

But what caught me eye was the comment that followed.  Linthicum mentions that Cloud adoption should start from the top, but that SaaS adoption should start from the bottom-up.

HUH? How could Dave be so wrong?  That got me spun up to write an article on the topic, as I disagree strongly on this issue.

Then I realized that I misread the sentence- it said "SaaS adoption CAME from the bottom up". Davd was simply making an historical observation of the SaaS adoption curve.  But by then, I was all wound up, and decided to write the article anyways - albeit with some significant changes.

It's this willy-nilly bottoms-up adoption of SaaS applications that is why we are in such a world of hurt when it comes to all these SaaS information silos.  

And because these applications tend to be rather narrow in focus, a single business process can span multiple (unintegrated) applications.  And getting any kind of "single view" of the business is extraordinarily difficult.

Salesforce.com is the grand-daddy of SaaS applications - having practically invented the category.  I've spoken with companies that as many as 20 different and unconnected instances of Salesforce.  Ouch.

Anybody with $25 to spend and 15 free minutes can create another new data silo for their corporation. How unfortunate is that.  SaaS is one of the best things to hit the industry since punchcards went away - but it comes at a cost.  

It's for this reason that Cloud Integration companies like Dell Boomi, Informatica Cloud, MuleSoft, SnapLogic are going like gangbusters. 

SaaS adoption needs to be both a top-down and bottoms-up strategy.  Central IT (as a general category) has failed us here - and for the most part are still way behind the curve.

Centralized IT needs to provide the infrastructure, integration and "governance lite" from the top, and allow the various functional groups to adopt best-of-breed SaaS applications that then plug into (and leverage) the infrastructure provided by IT for management, monitoring, QoS, Integration, etc.  IT needs to provide "centers of excellence", best practices and training to boot.

In a way, it's not much different than the function a city takes on - it provides sewers, electric, water, standards/regulatory oversight, schools, fire, police.  Private developers propose plans, built business and housing developments.  Everything works out pretty well.


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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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