David Linthicum ended 2007 with five predictions concerning service-model delivery of IT function. Some of those predictions are focused more on supply than demand, but #2 makes a key point for buyers:

Integration issues become the largest impediment to SaaS.
As more companies move toward SaaS, the more they will find the need to
link their new SaaS applications with their existing data. While many
consider integration when selecting a SaaS solution, most don’t, and
end up figuring things out on the fly…not a good approach. Successful
integration can only occur with a lot of planning, and linked back with
an overall enterprise architecture/SOA strategy.

Developers should therefore be looking at SaaS, not as a self-contained partition within an IT portfolio, but as an element of their toolkit that they’ll mix and match with other resources.

Fernando Labastida made a similar (and somewhat more affirmative) argument in his blog post last November:

Since saas CRM manages the lifeblood of the business, sales and
customers, and is increasingly more user friendly and flexible, it is
becoming the preferred method for companies to manage their business.

As a result, it is also becoming the de facto integration hub, or SOA enabler, for the smaller enterprise.

Needless to say, I heartily agree, and I hope that the strength and variety of integration points into salesforce.com’s systems will become more recognized in 2008. For more on the subject of integration and on-demand systems, please see my white paper on the subject.

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