As I predicted in an earlier post, if you’re like me you’re getting a lot of promotional emails leading up to the biggest cloud computing event of the year – Dreamforce 2013. If you play your cards right you can win some serious swag on the expo floor (here’s a nice post for exhibitors on giveaways) and you can attend some pretty amazing parties (thanks for the party calendar, Aptus!).
Of course, when it comes to getting loaded, I’m talking about your data!
A lot of emails I’ve received this week are about better ways to load data into and out of Salesforce. And there sure are a lot of tools to choose from. I just did a quick Google and AppExchange search and found out about two or three new data loaders I wasn’t aware of, as well as a number of posts on how to load data natively using the Force.com platform.
So what’s my point? Data loading is important. It has a role in a Salesforce implementation and some of the more simplified tools are an important part of a Salesforce administrator’s toolkit. In 2011 I wrote a post about what Salesforce customers care about – data loading is still on the list. In fact, last week at the Cloud Channel Summit, Ron Huddleston shared the top app priorities of Salesforce customers – Big Data Management was number one!
But true bi-directional data, process and application integration is a critical enabler to SaaS application adoption. And most of the free Salesforce Data Loaders don’t have a migration path to a more robust cloud integration platform as a service. They’re simply useful tools built for freemium lead generation purposes. Enterprise IT organizations understand the importance of ensuring that data and processes flow seamlessly between applications – whether they are cloud based or behind the firewall. The alternative is SaaS silos and application users having to login to multiple systems to get the information they need. Quick and dirty data loading tools can serve a purpose, but if they’re not well governed and managed, they have been known to do more harm than good.
It’s time to go beyond the data loader. For organizations seeking to roll out Salesforce (and other SaaS apps and platforms) across the enterprise, it’s time to look for an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that is fast, multi-point and modern. We hosted a webinar recently with David Linthicum and he talked about “the multi-cloud world.” As we get ready for the Internet of Things, or what Cisco calls the Internet of Everything, I think you’re going to hear some powerful messages at Dreamforce 2013 about the importance of the 3 I’s (Integration, Identity and Intelligence) and how the right approach to each will drive Salesforce (and overall cloud) adoption and success.
If you’re just beginning to evaluate a cloud integration platform, you might be interested in reading this paper by Ventana Research: Selecting a Platform for Cloud Integration.
So have a great time at Dreamforce, but remember, when it comes to your data, don’t just get loaded! We’ll be reviewing the highlights of Dreamforce 2013 with Jeffrey M. Kaplan from THINKstrategies on December 5th. You can register here.
Let me know if you’d like to connect – ping me at @dcunni on Twitter.