Over the last couple of days in various conversations I have been having about the Cloud some of the issues that I have hearing about are around:
- Integration with the Enterprise Applications
- Data Portability
- Silos of SaaS services.
I think “Cloud” Service providers need to find robust solutions to address this space, but I think these are also opportunities for other players to chime in. In each of these areas we are seeing a great similarity to the consumer space.Below is an excerpt from a post at Foundry Group blog about their investment philosophy in the area they termed “Glue”
In many ways the web is paralleling changes that took place in the enterprise environment during the 90’s when once disparate systems were stitched together through what was termed enterprise application integration (“EAI” for those old school software folks in the audience) The result of these efforts was the freeing of data from traditional corporate IT silos for use in a variety of enterprise applications. This enabled an explosion of applications that could now more easily access corporate information and share that information with other services. The programming required to create these overlay applications became much simpler and the result was that application development could be accomplished much more easily and with less specialized resources. Past investments by Foundry Group partners that took advantage of this enterprise trend include Dante Group (acquired by WEBM), DataPower (acquired by IBM) and Cyanea (also acquired by IBM).
We believe that enabling web technologies are going through a similar development cycle as enterprise application integration technology did 10+ years ago. Companies are creating tools, applications and platforms to enable more productive and automated uses of resources that have become ubiquitous parts of the online ecosystem. We think about these enabling technologies as the glue that will increasingly hold together that ecosystem.
And if you look at one of their investments, GNIP, it attempts to address some of these very issues but on the consumer side:
Gnip provides an extensible messaging platform that allows for the publishing or subscribing of events and data from across the Internet, which makes data portability exponentially less painful and more automatic once it is set up. Because Gnip is being built as a platform of capabilities and not a web application the core services are instantly useful for multiple scenarios, including data producers, data consumers and any custom web applications. Gnip already is being used with many of the most popular Internet data sources, including Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, Digg, and Plaxo.
Below is a graphic view of the problem they try to address. You can replace the producer system and consumers with Enterprise SaaS Applications and enterprise stakeholders and you’ll see it addressing some of the common concerns we have in this area.
We are seeing the emergence of Enterprise Mash ups like by Serena software etc which seem to be in the right place to leverage the SOA architecture that is coming to bear in enterprise applications like (SAP, Oracle etc) and also the SaaS based applications.
At the same time as indicated by Pankaj the CEO of LongJump, PAAS & SaaS players will need to work on the integration systems and API’s which would allow them to leverage the SOA architectures of Enterprise Applications and leverage them as the SOI for relevant data points.
More to come on this topic.
(Guest post by Prashanth Rai)