Cetrix Blog

SaaS integration best practices

Paul Nilsen - Apr 19, 2018 8:15:48 PM

Cloud Integration platform

Many enterprises slowly move to cloud computing in their own pace. You do not need to bring all of your IT systems to the cloud. Some sensitive data or legacy applications data can stay within the organization, named as on premises data. The organization maintains the on-premises data.

The private cloud is the one, which is maintained by the third party cloud vendor within the organization.  The community cloud is running across organizations and maintained by other party.

Hybrid integration refers to the communication link between your on-premise and your cloud data over your integration platform. The following figure-1 shows high level understanding of the platform. Cloud can be either public or private category.

As per the industry analysts, many firms use this hybrid integration approach. This is to take advantages cloud computing space as well as to keep privacy and control over the sensitive data.

Fig 1, Hybrid Integration platform

Figure-1, Hybrid Integration platform

How integration happens in cloud integration platform?

There are several integration patterns, as shown in the Figure-2.

        • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
        • Enterprise Service Bus (ESB)
        • Managed APIs

Fig 2 , Types of integration

Figure -2 , Types of integration

The figure-2 shows the basis of a hybrid integration platform

According to a new report from Gartner, "By 2019 ... over 85% of new packaged customer service and support software will be delivered on a cloud-based model, and Software as a service (SaaS) will emerge as an essential selection factor for customer relationship management (CRM) customer engagement centers.”

Services level Integration (SOA)

Fig 3, Cloud computing Services

Figure -3, Cloud computing Services

Figure-3 shows the relationship between multiple service levels of management in cloud integration platform.


Cloud is  cost effective solutions for the enterprise. In addition, it provides infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as service (SaaS).

IaaS is the most basic service of a cloud service, which caters IT infrastructure, servers, virtual machines, storage, networks and operating system.

PaaS is on-demand environment for development, testing, delivery and managing the applications. Developers can quickly create web or mobile applications without worrying about the set up. It also inherently uses IaaS.

SaaS cloud providers host and manage the software applications and underlying infrastructures and maintenance. Integration as a service is needed.

It is advantages to make use opportunities of cloud computing based on sensitivity of data and compliance need.

Regulatory Compliance & Security: Some enterprises need to maintain the data within on premises for compliance. Some organization keep them on-premises due to security concern. So it is necessary to have a plan of maintaining non-sensitive data in cloud and sensitive data in on premises. To tap advantages over cloud computing it is necessary to connect with cloud.

Best practices of SaaS Integration?

SaaS application should be

    • user friendly and self explanatory.

The features should be user friendly and able to understand without much effort and complexity.

    • SaaS application should be with customer satisfaction focussed.

Standard expectation of features should be available and should satisfy the customers from start to end.

    • Interactive Support if needed.

Users need interactive support and it should be available on need.

    • FAQ readily available.

All Frequently asked questions (FAQ) should be answered and kept available.

    • Self service;  

There should be features for self service and simple guidance.

    • place for feedback.

Collect feedback from customers for continual correction and progress.

References are in

    • single truth communication for follow-up.

If customer communicates in multiple channels, SaaS should able to identify the user and answer accordingly,

  • Enough standards in process.
  • Right team for communication.
  • Proactive customer service.
  • Build trust with customer.
  • Review feedback.
  • User feedback should be monitored and answered in SLA.
  • Lesser downtime.
  • Maintenance operations should be notified and fixed in SLA.
  • Stakeholders should be notified with proper communication.
  • Bugs, missing features, hidden features should be handled as quick as possible.
  • If it is multitenant, it is cost effective.
  • SaaS should be integrated with other applications.
  • SaaS should be in operational performance in SLA.
  • SaaS should support compliance board standard rules and regulations.

Various regulation board organization demands data should be within its prescribed location premises with security.

  • SaaS should be maintained and monitored.

SaaS should be monitored for lookouts for downtimes and fix.

  • Design right message to right user.

Communication and notifications and should be sent to correct users. Application and database id should be unique at user level.

  • Scalability with application:

Use more powerful servers if it is required.

  • Scalability with database:

As the demand increases, the capacity of the database should be capable of handling it.

  • Support web2.0 features :

Support user interactive messages such as social media, facebook, twitter etc.

  • Incorporate open source software and services.

In addition to the vendor software, open source tools also should be available to choose.

  • Utilize agile methodologies in implementation.

There must be place holder for agile methodologies.

Fig 4, SaaS delivery

Figure 4, SaaS delivery

The Figure-4 shows how the releases are getting rolled out in SaaS. Agile methods , tools and technologies are utilized.

It is referred in SaaS and Integration Best Practices

  • Develop standard architecture

Industry standard features are to be available.

  • Incremental releases in software deployment.

SaaS should provide enough tools and deployment options for it.

  • Develop integration strategy for SaaS application.

Integration with on premises, back offices and cloud network applications are still a challenge. Need to have proper strategy for integration.

  • Integration with large volume of data.

Proper estimate is necessary to choose right tools to handle a larger volume of data.

  • Integration on demand / Elasticity

As more and more applications are connected, integration on demand feature should be available. iPaaS (Integration platform as a Service) helps in integration as a Service.

Figures 5 show the elastic scaling, one of the very best features of the cloud.

Fig 5, Elastic Scaling

Figure-5, Elastic Scaling.

It is referred in cloud computing patterns.

  • SOA.

As organizations add more and more business and SaaS functionality, Service oriented Architecture (SOA) governance feature should be utilized.

  • Location independence:

In cloud, location is independent.

Fig 6, Enterprise_Integrator

Figure-6, Enterprise Integrator.

This figure-6 shows how WSO2 Enterprise integrator version 6 works.   It comes as a single package with all of these modules and profiles included for enterprise Integration platform.

  • ESB Service Integration (WSO2 ESB)
  • Message broker(WSO2 MB)
  • Business process(WSO2 BPS)
  • Micro-services and Analytics.
  • Real-time data processing (WSO2 DSS)
  • WSO2 Governance registry
  • WSO2 business activity monitor (BAM)
  • API manager and identity server

ESB connectors are readymade ESB extensions that allow the developer to focus only on the respective business logic. There are more than 150 connectors to connect with SaaS applications, legacy services, on-premise systems, and third-party cloud APIs available in the WSO2 store for cloud integration platform.

WSO2 API Cloud is a public hosted version of open source WSO2 API Manager. It enables enterprises to quickly share their business capabilities with their customers and partners across the globe.

You need to implement a complete identity management solution that ensures secure access to your SaaS apps and safeguards sensitive data that reside in them. You can leverage WSO2 Identity Server capabilities to address the security needs when adopting a SaaS solution and preserve your industry security standards. More information is at  WSO2 Library


WSO2 Library

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Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen is the director of solution development at Cetrix Cloud Services. He also works with the Solution Development Department at Cetrix Technologies, where he headed the department for three years. Paul has over 20 years of experience in IT, working on software engineering projects, hardware-software product integration, design of special purpose systems using artificial intelligence, and implementing CRM and ERP software systems.

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