Category Archives: SaaS
Within most organizations today, it is not a question of if SaaS applications should be deployed, but how quickly. The era of having to justify adoption of SaaS applications is long over, and the focus has shifted towards a deciding which SaaS applications to deploy, in which departments, and in what timeframes. With this view in mind, let us explore the typical journey that most companies take when deciding which SaaS applications to implement first.
Related: Learn more about customer facing processes vs. customer fulfillment processes in the March 25th webinar ‘Accelerate Business Velocity with NetSuite and Salesforce Integration’
Customer Facing Processes
The main impetus behind switching to a SaaS application is because of the agility the cloud brings. Customizations that normally take weeks to get implemented take minutes or days, and can be performed by employees that do not possess an in-depth knowledge of the technical infrastructure of the SaaS system. With that being said, it is customer-facing processes that require application customizations almost immediately because optimizing these processes results in bringing in revenue quickly into the company, thereby enabling CIOs to show rapid ROI of a SaaS application.
It is no wonder that front-office applications such as Salesforce have become one of the largest SaaS vendors out there today. The entire process of converting a lead to a closed opportunity has several steps in between, and may require multiple workflows in parallel. But the journey doesn’t stop there. To keep customers satisfied and retain them, their product needs to be fulfilled, and this is where customer fulfillment processes come into play.
Customer Fulfillment Processes
Once an opportunity has been closed, the process of getting the product to the customer begins. Traditionally, this role has been done by large-scale on-premise ERP vendors, but leading cloud ERP companies such as NetSuite are showing how the complex task of fulfilling orders and realizing revenue can be done faster. Processes such as applying category-specific price and quantity discounts, special tax regulations involving several regions and nations, and fulfillment through multiple delivery options all have several moving parts. Moreover, the task of invoicing the customer, collecting payment, and recording numerous financial transactions is an entire sub-process in of itself and the only way it can be streamlined is through cloud ERP applications.
Optimizing the Entire Lead-to-Cash Process with Cloud Integration
When looking at customer-facing and customer-fulfillment processes together, it is very clear that SaaS apps in both categories need to work hand-in-hand to ensure that an organization’s customers are satisfied, and continue to engage in repeat business. This is why organizations that are starting the rollout of front-office SaaS applications also need to be thinking about rolling out back-office ERP SaaS applications along with a cloud integration solution to tie it all together. In the March 25th webinar, ‘Accelerate Business Velocity with NetSuite and Salesforce Integration’, we’ll talk about a blueprint for integrating both these types of apps together and how the Australian Institute of Management deployed these apps as part of a multi-million dollar IT transformation project.
I’m astounded by the incredible turnout and response to MDM Day and other MDM-related events at Informatica World, and again, I see this as a sign of MDM’s importance in the business world. Attendees told their stories, swapped best-practices, and shared their visions of using MDM to improve up-sell, cross-sell, and other important business metrics. But now let’s keep the momentum going. Here I want to tell you about three free webinars that will help you to dive more deeply into MDM, and take your initiatives to the next level. The first is for any large organization, and the other two are for pharmaceutical companies. (more…)
For those of you hanging out at Informatica World, this is not news. For those of you who aren’t in Vegas with us, you missed the unveiling of the world’s best entry level data integration platform. So you heard it here second, not first. Next time, if you want to hear about this kind of stuff first, you have to show up at Informatica World! <shameless plug for INFAWorld 2013 complete>
So, what is it that I am bragging about? PowerCenter Express, that’s what. This is the latest addition to the Informatica PowerCenter family of products, specifically designed for entry level data integration and data profiling. This product will be downloadable over the Internet and installs in as little as 5 minutes. It is super simple to use but has all of the rich transformation functionality you are used to from Informatica. Also, you don’t have to install a separate profiling product, everything is self-contained. The product comes with built in “cheat sheets” that walk you through how to use the product in a step by step fashion. In addition, there is complete documentation as well as video based tutorials.
But best of all, PC Express delivers the kind of product quality you are accustomed to from Informatica. What does that mean? It means that unlike most of the entry level data integration products available for download, PC Express just works. It doesn’t crash just because your ETL job requires more memory than you have on your machine, it gracefully caches to disk.
But wait, there’s more. For the first time ever, Informatica is offering a FREE version of our market leading PowerCenter product. There will be two versions of PowerCenter Express:
- PowerCenter Express Personal Edition – available for FREE for a single developer at a time
- PowerCenter Express Professional Edition- available for $8K/user per year subscription (at the time of this blog post)
And one last important point. PC Express is based on the same virtual data machine as our enterprise class products and our cloud based products. This means that at some later date, if you decide you need more scalability, more users, or enterprise class features like high availability, you can easily migrate from PC Express to the other Informatica data integration product lines.
So if you are at Informatica World, you will be receiving an email outlining how you can download and try out PowerCenter Express. If you aren’t at Informatica World, maybe you have a friend who will share the secret website location where you can get a sneak peak at PowerCenter Express. If you don’t have any friends who went to Informatica world, well, you will just have to wait until the download site goes public in July. And next time you will know that you better go to Informatica World if you want to get early access to cool stuff.
In a recent Information Management blog post, Alex Bakker from Saugatuck Technology noted:
“There is an underlying problem facing many, if not most enterprise IT leaders and organizations: these technologies [Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Integration] have developed much faster than enterprise IT groups and practices have been able to adopt and manage them.”
The good news is a topic that was once considered the “Achilles heel of cloud computing” is increasingly being recognized as the key enabler of cloud success: integration and data management. With that in mind, Informatica rolled out our Summer 2013 release this week. Here are some highlights and useful resources. (more…)
In Ashwin Viswanath’s previous video blog, he spoke about why it is important to have a cloud integration solution that has purpose-built integration applications. In this video, he delves deeper into the security aspects of cloud integration and how to rapidly provision integration environments for distributed business units, subsidiaries and departments in a quick and efficient manner.
In Ashwin Viswanath’s previous blog post, SaaS Data Integration for SaaS Applications, he explained how SaaS applications are much more dynamic than on-premises business applications with new fields and objects added with just a few clicks. This same agility is required when it comes to integrating SaaS applications, which is why it is important to have a hybrid IT strategy for your data integration architecture. Informatica PowerCenter together with Informatica Cloud can help you get started with such a strategy.
In a recent Sand Hill article, Jeff Kaplan, the managing director of THINKstrategies, reports on the recent and changing state of data integration with the addition of cloud computing. “One of the ongoing challenges that continues to frustrate businesses of all sizes is data integration, and that issue has only become more complicated with the advent of the cloud. And, in the brave new world of the cloud, data integration must morph into a broader set of data management capabilities to satisfy the escalating needs of today’s business.” (more…)
On Wednesday we announced our latest cloud integration release – Informatica Cloud Spring 2013. It’s a major step forward in terms of breadth and depth for our software as a service (SaaS) solution. Why, you ask?
- Didn’t all of our cloud integration customers get upgraded to the Winter release in November?
- Didn’t we just broaden into cloud-based master data management (MDM)?
- Don’t we have 3-4 releases per year?
Well, yes…but…there are a few aspects to today’s announcement that I think are particularly noteworthy. Here’s a summary.
Just like your on-premise database applications like E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel and custom applications, SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Oracle CRM On Demand, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Eloqua and others will experience large data growth causing performance issues and increasing costs.
As data grows in your SaaS applications, the performance of accessing transactions and reporting will degrade. Your SaaS vendors will also require more time, effort, and cost to maintain and manage this data. Backups, upgrades and replication of these environments will take longer and application availability will be impacted due to longer maintenance windows. Your SaaS application vendors will require more storage to house the additional data and this cost will be passed on to you. (more…)
It’s no secret that software as a service (SaaS) applications like Salesforce CRM, Eloqua, Workday, NetSuite and Concur, to name a few, often get their start in the enterprise through individual departments, divisions and subsidiaries. Known for their rapid deployment times, frequent feature releases with API updates and end-user ease of use, SaaS applications are typically much more dynamic than on-premise business applications. New fields and objects can be added with a few clicks by line-of-business administrators, analysts and operational roles. So when it comes to data integration, waiting for IT to redevelop and deploy mappings every time there is a metadata change typically doesn’t meet the expectations of business users and application owners, who are used to greater speed and agility in the cloud.