At last weeks SaaS Summit hosted by OpSource, Friday's big announcement by Treb Ryan again reiterates the huge problem integration can be if it is not strategically addressed. We are very excited to be such a big part of how OpSource plans to solve it.
But first, I thought the conference itself was excellent. The OpSource team continues to run one of the most important industry events year after year. Attendees get a full course of topics that matter most to SaaS ISV's or companies planning to migrate their offering to the SaaS model. Topics like security, scalability, infrastructure considerations, marketing and of course integration were addressed by industry experts during the 2 day conference.
One of the sessions was a panel called "Integration behind the firewall - Take II". Not only did this panel require a "Take II" (they did the same panel at last years conference) the OpSource execs said it was the most attended session of this years entire conference. I was one of the panelists and was amazed by the amount of questions during the panel and afterwards. I suppose the OpSource team saw this coming as Treb's keynote on Friday morning was all about integration.
As Treb Ryan (CEO) and John Rowell (CTO) we preparing on the main stage, an odd song with the lyrics "Get on the Bus" kept repeating over and over again. Treb opened by telling us that he had 6 songs to choose from, and he has no idea why he chose this one. Richard Dym (OpSource CMO) said a quick prayer to the "Demo Gods" as he was telling us that this keynote would be featuring a live demo. Treb than proceeded to highlight a strategy around integration that OpSource is calling OpSource Connect. Connect is based around the OpSource Services Bus, which is a two way communication infrastructure that today allows any OpSource client to connect to any other OpSource client or service that is made available through the bus. It solves a significant problem of standardizing the connectivity between web services, and allowing for relevant information to flow through the bus in a real-time and secure manner. (Although better served in a follow on post, the summary here is although web services are a step in the right direction, they are not nearly as standardized as they are marketed.)
With the OpSource Services Bus (OSB) now in place, an OpSource customer can now leverage the bus to expose their own API. This further separates OpSource from a generic "managed hosting provider" by delivering a critical capability that every one of their customers will need unless they have the means/time/resource to build one themselves. They call this their "Web Services Enablement Program". So now thanks to OpSource Connect you are on your way to having your app connected with every other app hosted on OpSource, and now on top of this you have a robust and scabale API for external resources to utilize for the primary purpose of integration.
So how does Boomi fit in to all this? Well as the keynote proceeds, Treb announces "Boomi for OpSource Connect" as the solution to utilize and interact with the data available through the OSB and API's exposed through the "Web Services Enablement Program". Now all OpSource customers have available to them Boomi On Demand, including a pre-built connector into the OSB. Using our visual integration technology, users can browse and choose any of the assets available to them on the bus. No coding, no learning about SOAP or WSDL. Think of this as the bridge between what is on the OSB and everything else. From other SaaS apps like Salesforce, NetSuite, Intacct, Entellium, SmartTurn, etc. to on-premise apps like QuickBooks, Peachtree, Great Plains, Oracle, SAP.
Further, as OpSource customers need to integrate their applications with data sources behind their customers firewalls, "OpSource Sockets" was also announced which utilizes technologies including the Boomi Atom that make it very easy to integrate with those data sources with no changes to the firewall required.
OpSource is adding huge value to their customer base with this new offering. If there is one guarantee, its that integration will be a challenge for any SaaS solution. By baking these capabilities into the over all "web operations" that OpSource provides, businesses will get to market faster and will have answers to the questions of integration that come up in their sales cycle. The answer just went from "code to our API's" to "we have a solution for that, would you like to see a working demo?"
Speaking of demo's, after the announcement, John did a live demo using real data to showcase a very common integration. He showed how the signup of a new customer in a SaaS app can automatically trigger an integration process to create an invoice in the finance application (QuickBooks in this case) and also create the new customer in salesforce.com. He explained the flow and showed how it was done using Boomi for OpSource Connect. The demo gods were kind to them that day as everything ran just fine.
A PDF of the presentation can be found here.