Stephanie Neil poses an interesting question on whether SaaS and Cloud solutions create as much work in enterprise integration as they solve in reduced hardware and storage management.
Enter software as a service (SaaS) applications, which might seem to be an IT manager’s dream: no server and storage systems to buy and maintain. But their emergence presents a whole new integration problem between on-premise legacy apps and those that live in the cloud.
According to the recent InformationWeek Analytics 2011 Enterprise Applications Survey, 43% of SaaS users are very happy with the ability to deploy the applications quickly, but are much less satisfied with the complexity of integrating hosted apps with on-premise systems and data sources.
To the extent that enterprise vendors (either cloud or on-premises) utilize Service Oriented Architectures and document required data structures this may seem like a small problem. However, all it takes is one key application which is not SOA and the enterprise integration problem rears its ugly head. At that point IT skills developed by integrating current applications are useful. Unfortunately in many SaaS and cloud implementations, the IT staff does not have access to the application source code necessary for successful integration efforts.
An appropriate vendor offering in today’s environment should take advantage of what the cloud offers (no server and storage systems to buy and maintain) while providing source code access IT still requires for successful implementation. HarrisData offers ERP through a Platform as a Service structure to directly address this problem. In addition to managed hardware and source code access, PaaS allows the customer to control application upgrade timing – an important consideration in the era of Sarbanes-Oxley.