The coolest part of Informatica’s visit today was the new SaaS story. Naturally, they’re starting with Salesforce.com, but they hope to use the technology they’re developing for Salesforce with other SaaS vendors, with Business Process Outsourcers, and with anybody else who needs robust cross-enterprise data integration. I don’t actually think there’s a lot of hard technology there; nonetheless, somebody had to build it. And they apparently have, in two main parts.
First of all, they’re extending their connectivity tools to work well across enterprises. We didn’t talk about the detailed technical implications of this, but I’d guess there was a fair amount of security-related work, and a fair amount of additional effort to handle actual remote networking (session management, traffic shaping, etc.). Second, they are putting software onto the Salesforce.com platform itself, with all the multitenancy/ zero-footprint requirements that entails. This seems to be mainly in the data cleaning/quality and replication areas, at least at first.
As simple as this sounds, I think it’s of considerable market importance. Without good data connectivity, frankly, I’ve never seen why SaaS made much sense for large enterprises. I think a lot of CIOs would tend to agree with me. This kind of technology will make it a lot easier for IT shops to embrace SaaS.