By shupadhy on Jul 22, 2008
There have been numerous discussions around how business groups are using SaaS applications behind the back of IT and one day IT will wake up to find hundreds of different applications, which now need to be integrated in a business process. So, how can you actually make money while allaying your customers concerns?
The very minimum, which the software vendors need to do to make their applications integration ready, is to provide WebServices APIs for all entities and operations, which can be of interest to an integrating application. These interfaces should be well defined by the vendor. e.g. Oracle CRM On Demand Web Services White paper.
Once you have provided these web services, are you done? Depending upon the criticality of the business services you provide, you might have to take this one step further and publish your web services on a Service Bus. A Service Bus provides a much-needed intermediary layer that facilitates data delivery, service access, and service management. It also supports intelligently directed communication and mediates relationships among loosely coupled and decoupled business components. Read this article for all the virtues of a Service Bus and decide for yourself. In the SaaS world, your hosting provider might offer a Service bus e.g. OpSource Service Bus or you will have to look at providing the Service Bus infrastructure yourself.
Once you have offered the above, you might be able to convince your customer. However, to provide the killer value proposition, spend some time to think about the processes your customers would be using your application in. What are some of the other applications, which will be used in these processes? It is then time to build pre-built Process Integration Packs using frameworks like Application Integration Architecture . Don't forget to charge separately for these packs. Your customers will pay you gladly for solving their SaaS integration challenges.