A step closer to the integrated cloud
Zoho will offer desktop productivity suite hooked into back-end business applications
InfoWorld - If there's any suspicion that cloud computing is just about building "best of breed" stand-alone application silos on the Web, the recent move by Zoho may show that cloud computing is finally moving to a more integrated approach.
Zoho, a subsidiary of AdventNet, will sometime in the second quarter launch one of the first, if not the first, suite of desktop productivity applications integrated with a set of back-end business applications -- all of which sit in the cloud.
The suite will include the usual word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools. But it also includes a suite of business apps more associated with what IT manages: Zoho Meeting for Web conferencing, Zoho Project for project management, Zoho DB and Report for online databases and reporting, Zoho People for HR services, and Zoho CRM.
The SaaS (software as a service) approach thus far has been to offer independent apps on the Web that work essentially in isolation from each other, such as using Salesforce.com to manage sales contacts and SuccessFactors for employee reviews. That approach doesn't let businesses easily orchestrate those independent apps, and it has limited enterprise adoption to nonstrategic or isolated applications in many cases. But the Zoho approach of providing a suite of business and productivity applications from a single vendor may let businesses get both the cost savings of SaaS and the collaboration capabilities of self-hosted applications.
Microsoft has sketched out a similar vision, in which it would provide extensions to Office for document sharing and collaboration, but that effort remains in the very early stages. And Salesforce.com offers a platform in which developers create their own apps that share data with one another, as well as an exchange for third-party add-ons to the core Salesforce application, but neither is about presenting a broad business suite.
The cloud's integration challenge
Today's cloud computing environments -- that is, SaaS delivery platforms -- present no magic bullet for solving application and data integration problems, which are always a major challenge with best-of-breed, siloed solutions, said Josh Greenbaum, a principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting. "Different applications will have different data models and interfaces; that will always be the case," he said.
But on another level, cloud computing provides a more standardized interface and a more stable environment than an on-premise application does, Greenbaum said. "The moment you give someone an on-premise application, they start modifying it." In SaaS platforms, the vendor controls the environment, data structures and APIs, resulting in a more consistent target for IT to link other SaaS or on-premise applications.
Still, getting much beyond simple integration at the data-exchange level typically requires either far pricier on-premise suites or partnerships between software vendors. Such is the case between SAP and Microsoft, which offer Duet, a technology that gives users a limited amount of integration between Microsoft front-end productivity applications and SAP ERP apps.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Networking White Papers | Webcasts