Sales personnel use Salesforce .com applications, for example, to hold key prospect and customer data so it can be easily accessed while on the road. That data also should be available to a business' internal applications. Informatica plans to introduce in the third quarter a set of connectors that's designed to combine application data held by Salesforce with an enterprise's in-house apps.
"We want to break down the distinction between on-premises and off-premises data," says Brian Gentile, an executive VP at Informatica. The connector set will be known as PowerCenter Connect for Salesforce.com. The connectors are add-ons to Informatica's PowerCenter data integration apps, which provide in-house data integration. In addition, Informatica is partnering with Salesforce to make its data integration software available as an online service alongside Salesforce apps.
"As supply chain and support chain ecosystems continue to expand, more and more data capture is taking place outside the firewall," Forrester Research analyst Rob Karel says. Integrating data across business partners will prove to be a big opportunity for vendors that can provide that capability.
Informatica will offer its PowerCenter Connect data integration applications as an online service at AppExchange, the online application site for Salesforce customers. The service won't simply move data around, but it also will cleanse, convert, and load it into a database or storage facility. Informatica already has working agreements with outsourcing providers to tie into its data integration service. Two that have signed are ADP, which provides payroll processing, and Hewitt Associates, which offers human resources applications.
The connectors are nice, but they won't solve key integration issues, says Jim Shepherd, an analyst with AMR Research. "Which version of the data is the correct data?" he asks. "And how do we get information from it without human or complex software intervention?"
Informatica isn't promising to help businesses deal with those issues. But it plans to offer tools to make it easier to use software as a service without data integration problems.