June 16th, 2010

One question I hear in my travels from prospective buyers of SaaS to outright opponents of SaaS regarding its inherent benefits is “so what?” So there’s no software to install and maintain. So I can buy by the drink and only pay for what I use. So I get rapid time to value. So innovations and improvements are continuous. So there’s no painful rev lock on upgrades. So what? What else can you do?

One question I hear in my travels from prospective buyers of SaaS to outright opponents of SaaS regarding its inherent benefits is “so what?” So there’s no software to install and maintain. So I can buy by the drink and only pay for what I use. So I get rapid time to value. So innovations and improvements are continuous. So there’s no painful rev lock on upgrades. So what? What else can you do?

Clearly SaaS for SaaS sake is not enough. The economics may be compelling but there has to be more. This harkens back to Maslow’s theory on satisfiers and dissatisfiers.  Just because you get rid of the dissatisfiers doesn’t mean the prospect or customer is satisfied. The best SaaS companies in the business recognize this and market on what’s possible with SaaS and not just the compelling economics.

Today Boomi made available its Summer ’10 release and with it we delivered another first to market innovation in the world of integration – made possible by SaaS and to be more specific, the advantages of true multi-tenancy. Boomi Suggest now automates one of the most tedious and time consuming aspects of integration – data mapping.  Data mapping is the process of matching fields from a source system to one or more destination systems.  For example “Customer ID” in one system might be called “Customer NBR” in another and have a different length and format.

Because Boomi AtomSphere is a single-instance, multi-tenant platform, it can learn from the mappings being performed by our entire global community. Here’s how it works.  As users build and deploy integrations, the data maps used in those integrations are anonymously indexed. When new integrations are built, Boomi Suggest recommends mappings based on powerful ranking algorithms that weight suggestions based on similarity and relationships of data fields. Users then review and approve the suggestions and the data map is automatically generated typically with 80% percent of the required mappings already completed. Every time a new data map is created on the AtomSphere platform its fields are added to Boomi Suggest (with no tie to the actual data being mapped) to continuously improve the wizard’s “intelligence” and improve the mapping suggestions.

This is something that appliances and “cloud editions” of single-tenant integration products just can’t do.  At best, they can learn from the users of just one tenant.  Boomi Suggest harnesses the collective intelligence of the entire global community of Boomi users and it will continue to get “smarter” as that community and the associated body of work and knowledge continues to grow.

Last year Boomi also announced widgets – integrations that were pre-built and productized yet could be customized by each customer without having to build the integration over and over again. This is also made possible by multi-tenancy and again not possible with single-tenant integration products and appliances.

So these are a couple of great examples of new capabilities made possible by SaaS and multi-tenancy. We agree that SaaS has to be about more than just compelling economics and we’ve got more great ideas cooking up inside Boomi labs.  Stayed tuned!

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