Three startup companies this week announced how they are trying to solve this problem.
Boomi, which offers a SaaS integration service, announced Tuesday it had raised $4 million in its first round of venture capital funding from FirstMark Capital. Boomi says it has a patent-pending technology that lets it integrate customers' SaaS and on-premises software via the Web.
Once an application is connected to Boomi On Demand, it can operate with "hundreds of other" SaaS and on-premises apps that Boomi supports. Clearly, Boomi's success relies on its ability to get other software companies to play ball. It'll try to build momentum this fall with the offering of a software development kit that will let software vendors create connections to Boomi, with the sales pitch that vendors can focus less time on building SaaS integration layers for their software and more time on enhancing features.
Boomi says it already has a customer base of companies using SaaS from Salesforce.com, NetSuite, Intacct, Taleo, OpSource, and Zuora.
SnapLogic offers open source data-integration tools that map data from one source to another, letting companies create new types of Web applications and mashups, and also provides connectors to some SaaS sources, including Salesforce and SugarCRM. This week the company announced SnapLogic for EC2, a version of its technology that's designed to work for companies using Amazon.com's hosted computer processing service, called Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.
Cast Iron Systems offers appliances (yes, hardware boxes) that are specifically programmed to let companies integrate onsite applications with a SaaS service. For example, one of its entry-level appliances will let a company integrate one of its applications with NetSuite; a higher-end, pricier appliance will let them integrate multiple apps with NetSuite.
Cast Iron also supports Salesforce and RightNow among SaaS vendors, and supports integration with the onsite software of a number of vendors, including Oracle, SAP, and Lawson. On July 21, Cast Iron is announcing its next generation of appliances, called Cast Iron iA4000. The series of appliances will include new data tools, online templates, configuration wizards, and improvements to usability.