Saturday, April 27, 2013

Integrating Cloud Applications Is Getting Easier

My job at SAP and SuccessFactors to help customers integrate SAP and SuccessFactors. I also help customers integrate their SuccessFactors cloud applications with third party cloud applications. One of the HR administrators at a customer asked me about the direction in which integration technology is moving. She asked me if we are closer to a day where she can create and manage integrations between people management applications on her own.

I mentioned to her that integration technology is moving to cloud and becoming easier to use. In fact, integration technology is fast becoming a consumer tool, very much like email and facebook.

For example, using the integration tool, IFTTT I activated a simple integration between my blogger account and my LinkedIn account by just pointing and clicking. When ever I post a blog on Blogger, an update is automatically posted on LinkedIn.

There are many such standard integrations available between cloud based consumer tools and enterprise tools. You can even connect cloud applications to physical devices such as your phone.

The integration product management team at SAP and SuccessFactors is working towards this model. We want to create a library of standard integrations called iFlows to integrate SAP and SuccessFactors with each other and with third party applications. I will admit that enterprise software integrations tools today are neither as simple as the IFTTT tool nor as comprehensive as its library of integrations. However, I see a day, not too far in the future, where customers of enterprise software providers will be able to integrate most cloud based enterprise applications with each other with the same ease as IFTTT. SAP partners will play an important role in creating and providing a library of integrations to customers.

Once functionality becomes a commodity in an enterprise application, integration could become the competitive advantage for customers. 

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