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The key value of software-as-a-service or SaaS is in its capability to provide elastic, on-demand delivery and access to the needed software service. Leveraging SaaS for application development can help bridge the gap by offering a controllable, model-driven platform for rapidly extending SaaS applications across and enterprise.
Also sometimes referred as software on demand, application service provider (ASP) or simply service in the cloud, SaaS adoption is widespread in SMBs and gaining momentum among enterprise-grade businesses. However, onboarding new SaaS software can become difficult and challenging for the IT staff, despite all the connectors and adaptors that help integrate a business’s existing applications with SaaS.
Short-term, point-to-point cloud integration solutions are available where data flows directly from one system to another. However, these solutions are effective as quick fixes, but as business grows and the need for the number of integration points increases, these short-term solutions can’t scale with the pace of a business.
Why SaaS integration requires a new, coherent strategy
As such, a coherent cloud-to-enterprise SaaS application integration strategy is required that not only has to consider transformation, security and orchestration but can also work across all sources of application data, including outside of the enterprise firewall. Security is a major integration challenge and the cloud application development must be capable of authenticating and authorizing access to resources, both in the cloud and on-premises. With the increasing use of social media services accessing enterprise data, the SaaS integration strategy must provide a secure means of connecting to the cloud without compromising the enterprise firewall.
SaaS integration platform
A SaaS integration platform (SIP) allows service providers to integrate different applications and create a comprehensive solution to address an organization’s specific needs. SIP leverages the benefits of SaaS by helping the software service provider and users navigate the integration hurdles successfully. SIP provides multiple benefits of SaaS applications to the users, such as:
- Single access of applications: Instead of switching among various applications for different functions, one can have access to all their applications from a single interface.
- No data silos: An enterprise data may be located at multiple locations and it’s quite common for the data silos to be created. SIP eliminates it by storing all the data in one location and providing real time access to it.
- Cost benefits: As SIP bundles multiple applications together and comes integrated, there is no need for a business to purchase and deploy different applications for different functions.
- Third party applications: Open platform architecture of SIP means third-party developers can easily add new features to the platform.
With SaaS, the IT issues of patches and updates are gone, and you just pay for the subset of resources needed out of the total pool of services of the provider that you require to use. All the elements that define a software, including its scripts, code and algorithm, as well as physical hardware are kept and maintained by cloud computing development vendor. SaaS removes the need for organizations to install and run applications on their own servers or data centers, so there are no upfront costs and massive investments as in the conventional hosting in terms of infrastructure, logistics and manpower. The vendor does all the heavy lifting and maintenance, so a business just needs to hire external experts to oversee all the software they are using.
SaaS integration benefits
- Reduced time to benefit: The application comes installed and configured; the user can quickly provision the server for an instance in cloud, reducing the issues that get in the way of software deployment.
- Scalability: SaaS applications can be easily scaled as they reside in cloud environments that have integration with other SaaS offerings, and the user does not have to buy another server or software.
- Easy customization: Customers can easily customize their applications to alight with their business processes. These unique customizations are preserved through regular updates with low cost of adoption and minimized customer risk.
- Multitenant architecture: SaaS clients are on the same architecture and code base, and share a common architecture, so they can innovate quickly.
- Easy to use and perform proof of concept: Users can do proof of concepts and test the software functionality in advance.
AI and SaaS
With the new wave of smart assistants like Alexa and Facebook Messenger, and software bots that run automated tasks over the internet, it’s only a matter of time before artificial intelligence becomes mainstream in SaaS products.
Why SaaS integration?
SaaS isn’t a solution for every enterprise project but given the advantage the technology offers over other software delivery methods, it can rightly be considered at some point during a decision-making process.
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