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Value Integration Standards Support by SaaS Vendors

Open standards and cloud computing

Having purchased a MacBook Pro in early June, I was been struggling to use it. The problem was that I always used Windows/MS-DOS ever since I have used a PC. I remember booking my first trip online through Prodigy running on MS-DOS and considering it a huge accomplishment when I showed up in Frankfurt and they had my reservation at the hotel.

I use Google for e-mail, AOL Instant Messenger/Gtalk for messaging and Chrome for a browser. I was wondering how my MacBook Pro would work with all these products. After trying to do it on my own, I decided to go to the local Apple store and attend free workshops on advice from Tim Crawford. It is an interesting experience working in a noisy and packed store in getting tips. After each workshop, I booked a 15 minute session at the "Genius" bar and there is where I got the real good tips.

Open standards helped me use the great user interface from Mac OS with the excellent e-mail service from Google. The integration has been working quite well with address books and calendar appearing on the Mac OS calendar. One exception is lack of IMAP support in Hotmail that is leading me to migrate away from Hotmail similar to my migration away from Yahoo e-mail a couple years ago. Hopefully Microsoft takes note.

Having said that, what is the value of similar integration to business? I think most SaaS providers needs to provide support to open Web Service standards to help create outstanding solutions through integration with other SaaS or on-premise software applications. SalesForce is an example that lets me keep tab of all e-mails I send through Gmail from right within my SaleForce account. CastIron (IBM), Boomi and Jitterbit are cloud integration solutions that can offer SaaS to SaaS/on-premise integration solutions.

Bottom line, when choosing a SaaS application provider, it is important you evaluate the availability of integration standards as part of their solution to ensure you get immediate value from a cloud solution implementation.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

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