Cleo Says Agile, Cloud-Based Integration is Key To SaaS Success

Adoption of cloud-based apps will just keep growing in the New Year, experts say. Execs at Cleo, a provider of enterprise integration solutions, say success with SaaS also needs a more agile, cloud-centric integration.   IDN reviews Cleo’s reasons why. 

Tags: cloud, connectors, flows, hybrid, integration, iPaaS, SaaS,

Adoption of cloud-based apps will just keep growing in the New Year, experts say. Execs at Cleo, a provider of enterprise integration solutions, suggest that success with SaaS also requires  a more agile, cloud-centric integration. 


Cleo listed some of the top SaaS challenges in a recent blog. Among them:

  • Complex customer integrations,
  • Inefficient onboarding,
  • Unmanageable costs and
  • Moving security targets

The solution to these and others SaaS complexities are to adopt an “embedded integration” approach using iPaaS (cloud-based integration platform-as-a-service), Cleo added. 

Embedded integration technology helps meet these challenges head-on and enable a more agile and capable SaaS operation, one that can sufficiently support its customers.


An embedded integration platform allows SaaS companies to deliver better value to their customers by automating complicated integrations. When SaaS companies must integrate a wide portfolio of trading partners and customers, an embedded integration solution connects those systems together, whether on-premise or in the cloud.

The SaaS integration topic will get even more attention in 2019, Cleo execs say, as many companies are using cloud-based SaaS software (or planning to use them) to deliver a number of digital transformation projects. 


“For a lot of organizations, seeing the potential in digital transformation is all a bit fuzzy. The issue might simply be that the term – not the idea – caught on without necessarily being well understood by everyone using it," according to Cleo CEO Mahesh Rajasekharan.  


“To me, digital transformation is a term that clearly captures the new age we are entering – you might say the next great revolution – the Fourth Industrial Age. Take, for instance, the dominance of digital technologies. Digital technology has come to characterize everything from product design to the way the companies are transforming traditional offerings. When effectively leveraged by the business, digital technologies have the potential to drive significant growth which translates to increasing revenues, cost reduction, and operational optimization,” Rajasekharan  added.


To underscore this point, Cleo’s marketing specialist Adam Hughes recently listed some of the most common problems enterprises face when trying to execute SaaS integration. IDN takes a look.

Transformation of data from one system to the other (i.e. on-premise to cloud)
Companies that want to experience all that cloud applications have to offer must first ensure they perform due diligence on how their data will be synchronized and integrated between their on-premise environment and the cloud. This requires data transformation tools to convert important data into a format that’s accepted by your systems to support hybrid IT environments.


Lack of control, security
Using SaaS and other cloud-based services often means companies give up a certain amount of data control to a third-party vendor. They’re also trusting the SaaS or cloud vendor to secure the data, and without a proper integration solution that can govern data flows and protect sensitive information, access management and data privacy will be consistent business concerns.


Incomplete solutions
Unfortunately for many enterprises, many SaaS vendors don’t offer a complete integration solution to their customers. Because cloud providers have an API to exchange information, it is often assumed that app integration capabilities come with it, and that the API can provide all the connectivity and data integration features a business would need. However, cloud APIs are often proprietary and complicated, and they certainly don’t equate “integration.”


Improper connections
When [integration specialists] are dealing with a vast and complex ecosystem spanning hundreds of applications both on-premise and in the cloud, it is imperative to have the proper connections in place. Because data comes in many forms and sizes and may have to adhere to numerous compliance mandates, these connections must be able to accommodate secure data interactions across various protocols and between on-premise and cloud systems.

Beyond these, there is also the limitations of legacy systems to cope with new requirements for enterprise-class integrations across cloud and hybrid environments, Cleo execs noted.


The Cleo website states: “Legacy systems do not provide the speed and agility businesses need to function effectively in our world today, and that is why it is crucial for every business owner to upgrade their legacy system by using modernized IT system.”


The site further suggests several questions to help companies determine just how they should update their legacy systems for cloud / hybrid integration:

Are you able to accept and process multiple data formats from all internal applications and partner systems?


Do you need to customize integrations to connect to new applications and trading partners?


Are you able to expeditiously handle increased volumes of data from new applications and trading partners?


Are you able to identify data processing errors and resolve them quickly?


How much investment is tied to supporting legacy systems, such as chargebacks, development expenses, and maintenance costs?

How the Cleo Integration Cloud Delivers Agility for IT and Business

For enterprises that want to modernize their IT systems, Cleo Integration Cloud help organizations to connect, integrate, and analyze end-to-end data flows within their own company, as well as with customers, partners, suppliers and external applications.


Rajasekharan also described how a cloud-based integration ecosystem approach can ease the pressure of SaaS adoption – both technically, as well as from a deliver-for-the-business perspective.


“The forces of digital transformation are causing today’s businesses to discover innovative ways to create value and deliver new customer experiences, fundamentally changing the competitive landscape across every industry. Our customers recognize leadership in their respective industries requires a strategic, ecosystem-oriented approach to integration so they can plan for change, accommodate digital disruption, and ‘see around corners’ to keep their companies ahead in a rapidly evolving digital economy,” he added.


The Cleo Integration Cloud aims to provide a “comprehensive ecosystem integration platform” to support enterprise-class, end-to end business integrations for tasks both within a company and for external integrations with partners, B2B and IoT. The focus behind Cleo’s integration architecture is to enable enterprises to use their iPaaS to create a flexible, reliable and dynamic “ecosystem” of critical assets -- where apps, data and users can all be easily connected.


Technologically, Cleo Integration Cloud sports an intuitive graphical panel to make it easy to seamlessly integrate new-gen cloud apps with company’s core (often legacy) business processes. The GUI reduce the time required to build and maintain data mapping or file transfers by automating core application integration processes, Rajasekharan noted.  


For connections, Cleo’s library supports any-to-any data integration and transformation with more than 1,500 connections, alongside out-of-the-box support for 20+ popular industry standard protocols.


For runtime, Cleo Integration Cloud integrations can be deployed in cloud, on-premise, or hybrid environments, with both self-service and managed integration service options. It also lets companies create operational dashboards with role-based views for technical, business, and executive users, he added.


The Cleo Integration Cloud iPaaS platform aims to provide a modern approach to data movement, transformation, and connectivity to orchestrate and integrate business processes. Recent enhancements to the platform include:

  • Improved user experiences for ease of use
  • Increased self-service capabilities to provide organizational agility
  • Role-based operational dashboards for comprehensive visibility and control
  • Offloading of non-core activities to Cleo through an optional managed-service offering

Beyond seamless operations (between cloud, on-prem and partners), Rajasekharan also noted an often-overlooked reason to use a cloud-based iPaaS as a foundation for a company’s integration ecosystem.


“Out of the cloud, there’s advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence and machine learning which are being delivered as a service. Analytics is a better word for big data. And a lot of companies are using different styles of analytics to drive predictive and descriptive intelligence initiatives. The goal is to try and monetize data in new ways, and companies are making new and important discoveries in really creative ways.” Rajasekharan noted.