The Business Internet
In the minds of most people, the Internet is an immense assortment of consumer-oriented Web sites that are accessed by individuals using a browser. Well-known examples of these types of destinations include eBay, Yahoo, Barnes & Noble, Expedia, and so on. In this view, Internet transactions are typically carried out by a person performing a single, discrete interaction such as placing a bid, buying a product, running a query, reserving a flight, and so on. While the Consumer Internet has benefitted from a seemingly never-ending series of exciting innovations, many observers would correctly assess business-oriented applications as, frankly, somewhat staid and stodgy. But things are changing, fast.
The trend towards massive, monolithic packaged software from a handful of mega-vendors has been reversed. Instead, the momentum has shifted to what Marc Andreessen has dubbed the Business Internet, which is exemplified by innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions such as Salesforce.com, Workday, and NetSuite. Although on-premise applications are still being created and installed ? and are certainly present as legacy solutions ? the majority of new software is being deployed into the cloud (whether public or private). According to Saugatuck Technology, an IT research consultancy, 40 percent or more of all NEW business application/solution decisions in the enterprise will be Cloud-based by 2014 (up from 15-20 percent in 2009). All customer segments are impacted.
Why the big shift from on-premise applications to the Business Internet? The answer is part technology and part psychology. Ubiquitous, well-proven technology standards such as HTTP/S for transport, RESTful APIs, and the unlimited scale of the underlying infrastructure of the Web have provided the foundation. The other part is psychological. In many cases, the Business Internet, all these new cloud-aware applications, can now simply be thought of as Web sites? whether they?re running inside the firewall or in the cloud. Your employees don?t view Salesforce.com as the CRM Application, they view it as the ?Salesperson?s Website.? And for Application Managers concerned about the hundreds of highly focused new Web-based applications that have arrived on the market, each with its own unique niche and value proposition, it may help to think of them just as your users do. Websites.
And most of these websites have one thing in common: a RESTful API to make integration possible. And since they all follow standards, these new solutions can easily ?plug in? to the enterprise?s existing infrastructure. This also validates and preserves the significant investments that many organizations have made in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
These cloud-aware, standards-based applications have been particularly disruptive to the way that integration is performed. It?s no longer necessary to expend large parts of the IT budget to create brittle, heavyweight solutions that only work inside the firewall. Instead, you can now perform integration in the cloud. This is much faster, cleaner, and cheaper to build and maintain. Even though the majority of integration projects still occur within the confines of a single organization, the standards I described earlier make it possible for novel cross-enterprise collaboration, which will revolutionize the way businesses work together.
We saw the handwriting on the wall way back in 2006, so we designed our product architecture to thrive in this new environment. Our customers have benefitted from notably shorter time and effort necessary to connect their applications, no matter where these solutions are hosted. For developers, SnapLogic makes it easier than ever to create new and inventive mashups, using the same standards and APIs that they?re already familiar with. Since they?re exposed as effortlessly invoked RESTful services, SnapLogic processes can be seamlessly integrated with the rest of the enterprise?s infrastructure. By breaking down these barriers, we?ve made it much easier to interoperate with partners, suppliers, and customers than ever before. The Business Internet is real today?where is your organization taking it tomorrow?