Survey: SaaS, Cloud Providers Say Integration is ‘Crucial’ To Business Growth

A just-released survey finds that as cloud integration becomes more important to enterprise IT, it has become business critical to SaaS and cloud services providers. Nearly 90% of cloud providers said integration is important to winning customer deals. IDN speaks with the survey’s authors.

Tags: cloud integration, SaaS, iPaaS, survey, THINKstrategies, MuleSoft,

cloudsurvey_01A just-released survey finds that as cloud integration becomes more important to enterprise IT, it has become business critical to SaaS and cloud services providers. Nearly 90% of cloud providers said integration is important to winning customer deals.

The survey was conducted by THINKstrategies, a strategic consulting services company, and MuleSoft, a provider of open source-based integration, ESB and iPaaS solutions.

“It’s become clear from this survey that integration with customers’ existing systems is the most common hurdle in the sales process for SaaS/cloud providers,” Jeff Kaplan, THINKstrategies Managing Director told IDN. “Also, the results clearly show that SaaS/cloud vendors must incorporate integration solutions into their go-to-market strategies in order to succeed in today’s marketplace.”

In fact, the survey found an astounding number of SaaS and cloud providers – nearly 90% –  said having their own ways to help customers with integration was “important” or “extremely important” to their businesses, he added.

“Today, for the most part, it is up to the customer to integrate their SaaS or cloud projects using cloud integration vendors or larger system integrators,” Kaplan said. “But, there are signs we may be moving to a different approach, where the SaaS or cloud provider can or should offer some basic levels of integration bundled with their solution. This would be good for their business and the sector as a whole, because it would avoid making the customer do integration as a separate project on their own.”

But even as providers acknowledge they should provide a bundled integration solution to customers, they want that integration capability to be a lot easier and more cost effective to deploy.

“This survey makes clear integration with customers’ existing systems is the most common hurdle in the sales process for SaaS/cloud providers..”

Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director
THINKstrategies

To help SaaS/cloud vendors take on these integration tasks, MuleSoft has invested in technologies to make it simpler and easier for providers to deliver integration to customers, Mahau Ma, vice president of marketing for MuleSoft told IDN. 

“MuleSoft looked closely at how SaaS and cloud providers can provide integration [to customers], and we’ve discovered that many providers often offer such a specific solution that integrations can be practically identical – 90% the same or more – from customer to customer,” Ma said. This means a SaaS application, for instance, may only need to integrate with one of two types of systems, such as a customer database or a payroll system, he said. 

“This means, if SaaS and cloud providers could simply offer customers a pre-configured way to tie together their SaaS apps with one or two critical systems, a lot of this barrier would be solved and providers could generate even more and quicker sales,” Ma added.   

Interestingly, SaaS and cloud providers seem willing to take on these integration tasks – so long as the solution is easy and scalable, according to the survey.

“With this study, we overwhelmingly confirmed that integration is among the top, if not the top, concern among providers – not just end-users,” Ma said.

Inside the Key Findings of the Survey on
SaaS, Cloud Providers Views on Integration

The THINKstrategies/MuleSoft survey found several areas where cloud integration capabilities are growing in importance to SaaS/cloud providers – and may determine the future growth of the entire sector. Among the takeaways:

 

  1. Integration is a key to winning new customers: Over 88.8% of SaaS/cloud vendor respondents view integration as either important or extremely important in winning new customers.
  2. The need for integration is widespread: A majority of SaaS/cloud vendors (52.8%) say that more than half of their customers require integration. Dealing with integration issues is the norm, not the exception, when deploying SaaS/cloud solutions.
  3. Integration is the “top barrier” to new SaaS/cloud sales: 87.7% of SaaS/Cloud companies identified integration as a common or very common sales hurdle.
  4. Integration’s high-impact on time-to-value: Integration is the most time-consuming element of customer implementation, with 79.3% of respondents saying that integration was highly time-consuming or somewhat time-consuming.
  5. Integration is a critical component of SaaS offerings: Nearly two-thirds (62.5%) of the SaaS/Cloud companies believe integration is a critical part of their solution.


Together, THINKstrategies and MuleSoft surveyed 200 cloud and SaaS providers, asking professionals at all areas of these companies – product development, sales, services, support – where they faced the biggest pain points in delivering customer solutions.

MuleSoft has developed an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solution. Mule iON is built on the open source Mule ESB




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