By Maneesh Joshi - Senior Director, Product Marketing & Strategy
The SnapLogic team had a blast at Salesforce’s Customer Company Tour in Chicago last week (April 18th, 2013). Kudos to the Salesforce team for putting on such a successful show. A strong attendance despite the horrid weather conditions was a testament to the popularity of Salesforce as a company and the fantastic events they put together. Here’s a few observations from the event:
It’s All About the Customer
Customer Company Tour, as the name suggests, was all about the customer. CEO Marc Benioff’s keynote was very impressive where he invited on stage Salesforce customers who have appropriated
tremendous value out of the social, mobile, and cloud paradigms. There was Obama’s campaign team that discussed how they used Chatter for internal communication and the marketing cloud to keep a pulse of their audience during the 2012 presidential elections. And then there was Trunk Club that has gone all-Cloud and have no IT systems in-house (We are seeing a lot of such customers leverage SnapLogic’s Cloud Integration offering to integrate their cloud investments!). Trunk Club shared how they have done a tremendous job personalizing customer experience by making customer information available at their sales rep’s fingertips (mobile devices).
Business Users Taking Charge
We met a lot of business users at the booth. They are really taking “charge” (literally with their credit cards! ) of their systems. They’re focusing on making the enterprise sales force more agile, improving customer experiences and capturing customer sentiments via social media channels. The SnapLogic team is excited about this new trend because it is precisely this audience (the citizen developers) that needs a product as simple as SnapLogic to integrate the Salesforce instance with other SaaS and on-premises applications.
Last but not least, Salesforce really knows how to get it done! Food and wine was great. But, most importantly the playlist was awesome! It really helped keep the energy levels high and the spirits up despite the lousy weather outside.
This week we had a blast mingling with procurement and finance gurus at the Coupa INSPIRE Conference in San Francisco, where there was lots of conversation about sparking a revolution in spend optimization. We were there spreading the SnapLogic love and demoing our Coupa Snap, which you can check out in this product video:
It was especially great to catch up with some of our joint customers like Pandora, which uses SnapLogic to move tons of order and planning data between Coupa and its many other cloud applications. You can read more about the awesome productivity and agility benefits that cloud integration delivers for Coupa customers in our press release. For those who didn’t make it, here are some pictures of the buzzing exhibit hall:
Next up, we’re off to the Big Data Innovation Summit in San Francisco for the rest of this week. And if you’re in the Chicago area, please stop by and say hi during CampIT’s Cloud Computing Strategies event tomorrow or the Salesforce.com Customer Company Tour, where we’ll be exhibiting on Thursday, April 18.
by Maneesh Joshi – Senior Director, Product Marketing & Strategy
One would think that spending more than a decade in various aspects of the integration business (9 in engineering, 4 in product marketing, and 1 in solution marketing) would be enough for anyone to become comfortably numb to this space. But that’s not for me which I guess boils down to my engineering brain that incessantly tries to find the perfect solution for every problem. And I strongly believe that the time to “Snap” in that perfect solution has come!
I consider myself lucky that despite being through one massive round of innovation where the integration industry evolved from EAI to SOA, and luckier that I’m bang in the middle of round two. This time around, the heavier protocols such as SOAP are now making way for the lighter weight and more pragmatic cousin called REST (REpresentational State Transfer). Why leave now, I’ve wondered, when integration is finally getting simple enough that businesses can derive rapid value without having to spend millions of dollars on year-long projects? I’ve also wondered what is it about the contemporary times that is driving this second round of innovation. This blog shares my humble perspective. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
Experience, age, or just plain cynicism (call it what you may) have taught me that timing has a lot to do with successful adoption of any innovation. The iPhone wouldn’t have been as successful without the preceding advances in rich interactive screen technology, or the SSD technology, or youtube, or the 3G network, or…. and the list goes on. In the same way, I’m convinced that there are a slew of technological advancements that have made the integration space ripe for disruption. Let’s take a look at them.
HTTP – The Universal Language
With an increasingly mobile and geographically distributed workforce, it has become almost a mandatory requirement that all business applications are available in the internet domain. Even the non-SaaS enterprise applications are now being made available outside of the firewall (as websites or via mobile applications). In fact, I’d argue that the traditionally well understood concept of enterprise boundaries (often defined using the boundary of a firewall) are being severely challenged with the advent of cloud and mobile applications. All applications (SaaS and on-premise) are now expected to expose functionality via Web APIs (HTTPS, in most cases) for customer, partner, and employee consumption. These pervasive implementations of the universally accepted and understood protocol (HTTP/S) have greatly simplified serving up and consumption of business information or data. In my mind, this change is one of the main drivers simplified data access in integration solutions.
A More Business-Centric IT World
Websites fronting enterprise applications and serving up business content are naturally business-centric. These business-centric web APIs tend to abstract out a lot of the technical complexities that have traditionally proven to be the bane of service-oriented architectures. Consumption of these business-centric services has made building integrations a less technical task. The onus is now on IT to abstract the technical complexities out and wrap them up as mobile or browser consumable services. The developers building mobile applications or other web applications tend to have a different skillset from the ones who have traditionally built enterprise applications. They no longer need to be XML-savvy or understand the inner workings of application protocols (JDBC, SAP ABAP, etc.). Integration applications have a lot to benefit from this abstraction. I would argue that with the right kind of tool set, even a business analyst can become an integration developer. This is reason number two for the brewing disruption.
Emergence of the Citizen Developer
To extend this argument further, business users are more technology-savvy than ever. This new generation of business users have grown up with computers around them and are perfectly comfortable at installing and configuring applications, writing simple macros in excel, and interacting with highly interactive games and applications. In short, they are not intimidated by technology. With the availability of business services that abstract out technical complexities, the business user can now easily be empowered to rapidly develop integration flows without IT’s hand holding. Their thirst for agility and instant gratification has only gotten exacerbated given the ease at which SaaS applications can be purchased and gotten value out of. All they need is a business user friendly tool that gives them enough flexibility and power to build meaningful integrations. How IT’s role changes in response to this dynamic is a longer topic meriting a dedicated blog.
To summarize, I strongly believe that the integration space is ready for disruption. And the timing is just right as well given how business applications have broken down traditional enterprise boundaries by moving from on-premise to cloud and how that has simplified business services enough for the reasonably tech-savvy business user to rapidly build integration flows. This transition will bring integration to the masses, improve overall organizational productivity while freeing up IT resources for more strategic projects.
I look forward to your comments and thoughts!
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/108576686385992990195/about
By Andrea Eubanks De Jounge, VP Marketing
It was a busy week full of Big Data at GigaOM’s Structure:Data event which took place during a snowy spring week in New York City. In the Structure keynote venue, GigaOm senior writer Stacey Higginbotham hosted a fireside chat, sans fire. Our CEO Gaurav Dhillon, explained why Big Data is broken without integration.
Guarav outlined the impact he expects from the ‘Internet of things,’ saying that when it comes to fruition, the economics of big data analytics will start to pay off. He referenced the decades-old bar code, used for warehouses to replenish inventory. Today, he said, we have newer technologies that help us maximize inventory with data, such as an app that can ping a retailer to help a shopper wandering aimlessly around a store.
Gaurav ended the keynote by saying that if we can apply the right analytics to the right data and ensure that machine data can interoperate with data from CRM or other applications, then the real payoff for big data will begin.
Our own Rich Dill, solutions engineer, presented a hands-on workshop on the “Top 10 Challenges of Making Big Data Real – and Tips to Overcome Them.” He focused on how to make integration projects successful by using integration technology, like SnapLogic’s BDaaS solution, and key techniques for learning, understanding and planning for success.
Rich shared some of his own successes and challenges over his years of building solutions and completing software and integration projects. He framed his presentation using the cultural standard of “David Letterman’s Top Ten”:
1. A miracle occurs here: of course we can connect to it…
2. There is always more data than you expect: unless there is not enough data to be meaningful
3. Never mistake a memo for reality: did you hear what I said or what I meant?
4. It is logically impossible to schedule for the unknown
5. There is life beyond American English: eventually you will have to deal with other languages
6. Of course the data is accurate, clean and ready: no really
7. Dealing with unstructured data is fun: somewhere buried inside is your delimiter where you least expect it
8. The data and process is subject to…: pick your acronym PCI, FIX, HIPPA, SOX
9. The requirements once defined are set in stone: yeah right
10. The most critical data will be on the most difficult platform to access: “a good deal of our case data is on Notes running on AS400”
Thanks to everyone who attended our sessions or dropped by the SnapLogic table. We look forward to seeing you at the next GigaOM Structure event in June and unveiling some exciting news!
By Zeb Mahmood, Principal of Product & Strategy
On the heels of our announcement of the SnapLogic Spring ’13 release, I wanted to showcase how the updates benefit the kinds of professionals that I’m sure you will recognize. They include:
“P” – the pipeline builder
P has less than 3 years of enterprise software tools experience. He uses SnapLogic to save time when building and maintaining integration pipelines using visual design tools.
“A” – the admin
A has over 10 years of hands-on sys admin / dev ops experience. He uses SnapLogic to reduce time spent on deploying, monitoring, and maintaining enterprise integrations.
“C” – the CIO
C may never directly use SnapLogic, but will always ask the tough questions: What is the ROI and TCO? He has multiple ETL/ESB/EAI tools. He is interested in SnapLogic because it fills functional gaps left open by the incumbent integration tools, and it provides tangible cost benefits.
If you were to visit SnapLogic’s new office in San Mateo, you’d see the user personas plastered on the walls. This helps everyone at SnapLogic know who the users are – the people we listen to closely when mapping out our product roadmap. The SnapLogic Spring ’13 release offers something for each of the user persona listed above.
New Snaps make P more productive. These include Snaps like Head and Tail that sample data from the start or the end of a data stream rather than having to digest the entire dataset. An Exit Snap provides more control over the behavior of sophisticated nested pipelines. Other updates include a CSV Parser Snap enhanced to validate file meta-data at run-time, and the Aggregate Snap makes in-memory data processing for large datasets super efficient. Over a dozen Snaps are either net new or have been enhanced in this release.
While the new and enhanced Snaps get P to be more agile in building pipelines, significant usability enhancements have also been made to the SnapLogic Designer to ensure that everything that P needs during the pipeline design / troubleshooting time are easily accessible. For example, all the server logs are separated into several functional buckets and exposed in a spreadsheet like tabular format that P can search, filter, and sort through.
All these enhancements make P more productive!
We’re seeing a lot of our customers expanding the use of SnapLogic within their enterprise. At times they are not building new pipelines, rather they are adding more data sources to existing pipelines. These new data sources are introducing new varieties/structures of data from very large text fields, to streaming binary data. To ease such enhancements, the new SnapLogic release provides support for database BLOBs/CLOBs, and enhances support for Snaps like FTP, HTTP, etc. to support binary data. It’s important to note that SnapLogic’s RESTful platform has always supported streaming data.
New updates for A include enhancements to the Management Console, the Server and the Sidekick (the on-premises connectivity). The Management Console updates include management and monitoring of a cluster of SnapLogic nodes in real-time. Other enhancements include pipeline execution history metrics, users/groups management, and status of SnapLogic Sever to Sidekick connectivity.
Generic Snaps like the File Reader, XML Writer, etc. are considered core Snaps and have been provided pre-installed with the SnapLogic Designer and Server. While endpoint specific Snaps like Salesforce.com and Birst are installed on an as-needed basis. With the new release, all Snaps, core or installable, are now decoupled from the Designer and the Server. This significantly lowers the overhead for SnapLogic upgrades. The best analogy for this is upgrading apps on your iPad versus upgrading iOS on your iPad. You may upgrade the apps once a week, but you upgrade iOS once year. Similarly P can upgrade the Snaps weekly, while A upgrades the SnapLogic platform once a year.
I’m trying to keep the blog short, but I can’t close without talking about the support for private SnapStores. The enhancement is in direct response to SnapLogic’s customers and consulting partners. Customers wanted a private SnapStore so that they can provide a self-service integration tool to business analysts that expose application data via Snaps. The consulting organizations asked for the capability to manage access to Snaps that they’ve built using the private SnapStore vs. having to list their Snaps on SnapLogic’s public marketplace.
Overall, better productivity from the P and greater control for A provides faster time to integration and cost savings benefits for C. Managing unstructured and streaming data allows for faster and better informed decisions for the business. Overall, the SnapLogic Spring ‘13 release provides benefits from the top down, for every persona invested in the integration process.