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Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions (www.interarbor-solutions.com), an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and... More
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  • MuleSoft Suite Of Tools Eases Way For SaaS Integration In The Cloud 0 comments
    May 15, 2012 11:38 AM

    MuleSoft this week launched Mule iON SaaS Edition, providing a broad set of new tools and services for swift software-as-a -Service (SaaS) integration in the cloud, and lowering the barrier to SaaS adoption for SaaS providers and developers.

    The Mule iON integration platform as a service (iPaaS) connects across cloud-based applications and also connects SaaS to on-premise applications. MuleSoft's Anypoint technology for on-demand API connectivity eliminates the need for copious custom point-to-point code, said MuleSoft. [Disclosure: MuleSoft is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

    In recent commentary, Ross Mason, founder and CTO of Mulesoft, said, "The world today is moving at lightning speed to SaaS and cloud applications, and the idea of gaining competitive advantage through legacy enterprise applications is no longer relevant."

    I agree. Key differentiators less involve building applications now than in the effective composition of services. Cloud and SaaS providers need to give their clients better means to leverage APIs and craft business processes across both enterprise and multiple Saas provider boundaries. This rationalization of cloud services stew is the new integration nut to crack.

    The problem is, what type of platform and organizations can fulfill the role of cloud services orchestration hub? The role may not fit well for any one SaaS provider, nor any single or cadre of enterprises. For the time being, a best of breed platform and supporting ecosystem must evolve, and then the market will decide on who or what will be the acceptable hub mechanisms.

    And the market for cloud integration technologies is clearly heating up. Also this week, FuseSource unveilved at CamelOne in Boston the Fuse ESB Enterprise 7.0 and Fuse MQ Enterprise 7.0 products to general availability. These platforms enable "Integration Everywhere," says FuseSource, with modular, open source products based on Apache Software Foundation projects. [Disclosure: FuseSource is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

    QuickStart Plan

    Integration platform provider MuleSoft also unveiled on Monday a new QuickStart Plan for fast growth SaaS vendors and systems integrators (SIs) that enables them to build their own revenue-generating integration apps on the Mule iON cloud platform in just a few days. Pricing for iON SaaS Edition is based on a per month, volume of use basis, not based on connectivity, encouraging more connections over time.

    On other integration news, SAP today said it plans to offer its own cloud-based integration technology, and also plans to enable its ecosystem of partners, including solutions from Mulesoft.

    New features available with Mule iON SaaS Edition, which is available now, include:

    • Graphical data mapping and transformation capabilities enable SaaS vendors and SIs to build and deploy integration apps without writing custom code by using the Mule Studio drag-and-drop interface.
    • Cloud Connector ToolKit creates new cloud connectors in Mule Studio for any public or private Web API.
    • Customer self-service portals allow customers to independently manage integrations, minimizing dependency on developers and reducing support calls.
    • SaaS Operations Center provides complete visibility into end user environments with a multi-tenant portal to monitor, manage and maintain integration apps, including:
      • Operational dashboards: deliver better customer support with live integration status and performance metrics.
      • Real-time notifications: meet availability requirements and improve service level agreements (SLAs) with immediate notifications for events or performance issues as they occur.
      • Proactive alerts: reduce support calls by proactively monitoring and addressing issues before they impact customers.

    In addition, Mule iON SaaS Edition introduces a gallery of over 20 packaged integration apps and more than 100 Cloud Connectors for the most common integration use cases.

    Opportunities for everyone

    Ovum's Carter Lusher sees opportunities for everyone involved:

    The dark side of SaaS and Cloud is that while they are relatively easy to procure and deploy, it is difficult to integrate them with existing enterprise applications and other SaaS offerings. What makes integration even more challenging is the proliferation of SaaS deployed within an organisation as line-of-business managers procure point solutions to their specific needs that really should be integrated with other systems in order to maximize value and manageability.

    This becomes a challenge for IT and the vendors who are faced with a plethora of public and private APIs that require brute force to integrate. Integration is expensive, with estimates of $8 of integration work for every $1 of SaaS subscription or software license.For SaaS and traditional enterprise applications, MuleSoft's Mule iON SaaS Edition offers the ability to create pre-packaged integration modules that will give them a compelling story during the sales cycle without dramatically increasing costs or long-term maintenance. For example, HR talent management SaaS vendor PeopleMatter used Mule iON to create a new hire onboard module that connects with ADP payroll processing through ADP's private APIs.

    For systems integrators, Mule iON SaaS Edition offers the ability to create reusable connectors for a variety of horizontal and industry-specific applications and SaaS. This not only reduces the cost of integrations, which can be a competitive advantage in a sales cycle, but also gives the SI the opportunity to sell more value-added consulting as the focus of sales discussion moves away from brute force integration to maximizing the business value of enterprise applications or SaaS.

    In other news, MuleSoft announced a record quarter in Q1 2012, achieving a 109 percent increase in bookings year over year, the privately held San Francisco company said. This was driven by new customer wins among major companies and key SaaS vendor partnerships added in Q1 include Avalara and Zuora. Additionally, the company reported a strong customer renewal rate of 95 percent.

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