Most in the IT world view Informatica as a provider of data integration software for building data warehouses. While that remains Informatica's primary business, it's making a big play for the SaaS market in a close partnership with Salesforce.com.
With annual revenues of about $450 million, Informatica is among the largest of Salesforce.com's business partners. Next week at Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Informatica is announcing a Web-based integration service for synchronizing data between a company's onsite applications and databases, and its Salesforce CRM system running in Salesforce.com's data center.
Pricing for the Informatica On Demand Synchronization Service starts at $1,000 per month per integration, and might appeal to companies that want, for example, to have sales account information in Salesforce synchronize with their onsite financial systems.
Not all IT shops may appreciate this, but the new service is designed to be easy enough for use by a tech-savvy employee or a Salesforce CRM administrator in a business division, since many Salesforce.com deals are made with little or no help from a company's IT department. The Web interface offers an "integration wizard" with more than 100 pre-built functions for linking onsite applications with Salesforce.com.
Informatica already offers on-demand services for loading data into Salesforce and assessing data quality.
"We believe that SaaS allows us, as a technology company, to change the game and simplifying the integration process," said Ron Papas, Informatica GM of On Demand, in an interview. That includes offering Web-based services to do integrations and making it simple enough without requiring a lot of help from IT, Papas said.
SaaS integration is still a small part of Informatica's business, but holds a lot of potential, Papas said. "We are making a big investment in the R&D side. We're looking at this as a very strategic growth opportunity for the company." Informatica has been working with other SaaS vendors to solve customer integration issues, including NetSuite, RightNow Technologies, and Xactly, he said.
Informatica lists a few dozen customers that are already using its integration services for Salesforce.com and other apps on the Force.com platform, including ADP Dealer Services, McGraw Hill, Morgan Stanley, and BDB Payroll.
Informatica uses AT&T as a computer hosting provider for the multi-tenant service. Customers download a software agent developed by Informatica behind their firewalls, which communicates with the hosted service and handles integration tasks.