Recently I had an interview with Loraine Lawson, Editor at IT Business Edge, on the ever-changing landscape that our Partners, both Vars and Sis, will be required to navigate, and how the Scribe Online platform will help them not only maintain their business, but be able to provide additional opportunities for growth. I've excerpted just a bit of the article, so take a moment to read below or visit the full article on their site: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/community/features/interviews/blog/scribe-online-adds-sis-and-vars-into-the-cloud-equation/?cs=47026
"You have to bring together the people, the processes and all of the apps and data. I think that's really where we're headed with Scribe Online."
Lawson: First could you answer: Are you continuing with the Microsoft focus as you go with Scribe Online or how do you expand it?
Guercia: Initially, we are. We're turning to the channel that we've had great success in, right, but the mission of Scribe Online is really to go and extend beyond just the Microsoft channel.
Let me explain why that's the case. Firms like Boomi, Cast Iron and Informatica have largely focused on cloud-to-cloud integration through some form of designer widgets, right? They basically went after what was a very practical opportunity to get data integration between various cloud services, [which] I think was a very practical and smart thing to do.
We will do some of that, but really our differentiation is we're focused on cloud-to-premise-based integration. I think the era that we're in now is really one where companies understand that cloud or on-demand services — which have come in typically through the line of business whether it's in a sales area or marketing or HR — they really need to be mainstreamed with all of the apps and all of the data that's run behind the firewall. I think that this is particularly true in the midmarket…. More in the full article.
Lawson: So are you working primarily with the VARs and the SIs or will you sell directly to the end-user companies?
Guercia: Our strategy is really this: If we're selling or developing business with cloud providers, we're going to be cultivating a portfolio of cloud companies that want to write to our connectors.
So what we give them is not only some level of cloud-to-cloud integration, but we open up markets for them if they want to extend beyond cloud-to-cloud to get into cloud-to-premise….
What Scribe offers them is when they write a connector to Scribe Online, they instantly get access to all Microsoft CRM 2011 users, and they would also be able to get access to SQL, so they can take data from SQL databases and run it through their service and as we add new connectors, they would get access to those services as well.
But what we give them initially is access into a Microsoft Dynamics market that they never had and then a channel of partners that can now use their technology to go build BI solutions. Now, they can spend literally a month of one developer's time writing to our connector development kit, which will be out in July…. More in the full article.
Lawson: There's been discussion about how cloud will impact systems integrations and VARs, particularly in terms of whether or not they'll even be necessary as more companies move to the cloud. Do you find that is something they're concerned about?
Guercia: Well, it truly is because if you think about what's happening, the cloud in some extent, right, is disintermediating the integrator, because they can get an on-demand application. I mean, I understand that very well. I've been in this industry for 10 years, so I get that. …
What the SIs need to do is re-invent themselves and really be relevant in integrating hybrid environments. Just relying on doing SAP and Oracle implementations and not figuring out how to integrate to these cloud services, I think, would be a death nail for those larger players…. More in the full article.
Lawson: I know some cloud integration companies offer pre-packaged integration solutions. I'm having a hard time understanding how your offering is different from other pre-packaged solutions, except for you're adding VARs and system integrations.
Guercia: Here's the thing, and it's a rhetorical question: Do you think that either the SaaS providers or the IT organizations by themselves will have the tools and the wherewithal to really harness all of the applications that run behind the firewall and all of the cloud services that they have today and tomorrow into an integrated application-centric solution for their company? I don't believe they will. I think they're going to need help…. More in the full article.
Lawson: How do you think that your offering this service to SIs and VARs will impact end-user organizations?
Guercia: We've come out of just a dreadful economic period, right? Fortunately we're seeing the light of day now, things are getting a little bit better, but I do think there was some element of cause-and-effect relative to the growth of these SaaS apps during a period when the economy was terrible. The businesses had less money to do things and they had fewer resources to make things happen, especially on the IT side.
I think we're in a period where companies are saying, all right, how do I bring this together? How do I make this an IT function rather than having all these different execs purchasing their apps for their particular department? How do I pull all of this together?... More in the full article.
In my previous blog post, I spoke of the changing role of the partner brought on by the advent of cloud computing. In this new world, partners are moving away from a reliance on 'systems integration' and moving towards creating value-added industry focused solutions. A critical component to these solutions is the need to help companies make sense of the integration requirements to other business applications and data sources. When developing an integration approach, it is important to recognize the different and evolving roles between the partner and customer throughout the phases of an application deployment. Even if there isn't a partner involved, in many cases IT organizations act in a similar capacity as partner to the business to deliver a successful CRM project. A collaborative approach to integration between "partner" and "customer" best serves the integration needs of companies deploying these business applications.
It is rare that one person has all of the skills and knowledge necessary to fully implement an integration solution. In a CRM integration project for example, the development of the integration requires a solid understanding of the design of the CRM system and the key customer processes that drive the integration need. It also requires detailed knowledge of the other applications, many of them complex back office applications. The ability to allow multiple people to participate in the development and design of the integration solution in a coordinated manner is essential. Each of the parties should be able to design their discrete piece and simply fold it into the broader solution. The other members of the project team should be able to easily understand the work others have done and should be able add their input and comments. Team members that have moved onto other projects should be able to easily move back into an active role.
So beyond these team development capabilities what does a collaborative approach to integration really mean? Over the new few weeks I will be exploring the 5 capabilities of a collaborative integration platform. This exploration should shed some light on the direction we are headed with our new integration platform, Scribe Online, as well as some of the continued investments we will be making in Scribe Insight. So watch for my next post as we drill down on the first capability; Reusability.
Posted by Peter Chase on 04/27/2011 at 07:30 AM in Data Migration, Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics SL, Enterprise, Integration, Leadership, Partner Channel, Peter Chase, Salesforce, SAP, Scribe IaaS, Scribe Insight, Scribe MVP, Scribe Online, Scribe Templates, Software-as-a-Service | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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The advent of Cloud computing and the availability of cloud based business applications like CRM is dramatically changing the IT environment for companies of all sizes. The Cloud offers simplification…simplification of the user experience and simplification for those responsible for managing the applications itself. It enables companies to get to value faster with their IT investments, allowing them to focus less on technology issues and place more attention on redefining and streamlining their business processes. At the same time, the rapid adoption of the cloud is also accelerating the need for data integration. The cloud has resulted in an explosion of data coming from employees, customers, partners, and influencers. Companies that can integrate, assimilate, and make sense of that information across the enterprise will be the winners.
A number of our partners are responding quickly to this changing landscape. They are transforming large portions of their practices from doing traditional "systems integration" towards creating industry or vertical market solutions that establish a new differentiation for their companies in the marketplace. Not only do these solutions offer built in application functionality inherent to the industry but also include pre-defined integration processes to a number of different cloud and premised based endpoints. Scribe is responding to this changing environment for our partners as we build out our new Scribe Online cloud-based integration service platform. This service is being designed to allow these partners to easily and profitably package, market, and deploy pre-packaged solutions to their target customers. We are also building in a number of collaboration features into the platform to ensure that all parties that have a role in the customer's project, ISV, solution provider, consultant, internal IT, etc. are able to work effectively and efficiently together.
Over the coming months you will hear a lot about Scribe Online and the new innovations we are bringing to market around data replication, migration, and integration…and we want to hear from you. If you are a partner, how is the shift towards cloud computing changing your business? What impact is the cloud having on your relationship with your customers? Are you investing or divesting in certain areas? What strategies or approaches are you using the transform your business? How does integration fit into your business strategy? If you are a customer, what types of partners are you looking for to help you implement your IT investments? How are the relationships with your partners changing? How do you plan on bringing together your cloud and premised based applications? What do you see as the biggest challenges in rationalizing your hybrid computing environments?
We look forward to the conversation.
Lately, you've probably seen or heard the buzzwords "collaborative IT" or "cloud IT". And like most buzzwords, those terms are open to a number of interpretations depending on who you talk to. "Collaborative IT" is certainly one of my favorite phrases when talking about Scribe Online. But what does it really mean for the data integration partner or customer? And why does it matter when planning for cloud applications or integrating them with your existing business environment?
When we talk about collaborative IT, normally we're talking about a business application environment sourced with various pieces and parts that may not be in-house but delivered by different vendors, service providers, etc. to make this happen. For most businesses it's not cost-effective or efficient any longer to have everything "in-house". Cloud IT would be the SaaS or hybrid variant where businesses are knitting together various cloud services and platforms with existing infrastructure.
At Scribe, we've worked with partners for over a decade and the one thing we're seeing is no matter what the platform or delivery model, that integration is a collaborative process between multiple people. Rarely is an application integration project an "IT only" endeavor – especially when introducing a new application or implementing complex, large scale integrations. Application integration projects typically involve IT, business stakeholders, various consultants, partners and vendors. That's a number of different people working together to effect successful integration. As businesses continue to take advantage of the ever increasing type and number of applications, services and data, hiring experts for all of these is expensive and doesn't scale particularly well.
When Scribe talks about "collaborative IT" we're focusing on the people part of the collaboration – partners, customers, vendors, and other experts who work together to ensure the success of the integration project. Some of these may be long term relationships and others short term relationships. When we architected Scribe Online we thought carefully about the "collaborative" user experience of collaborative IT – how this disparate group of people work together via the integration platform itself. What's the best way to document and communicate changes through the lifetime of the integration? How do you maintain or implement an integration with a team of people who may be on-site or remote? How do you manage the changing roles of these various participants over the lifetime of the integration?
Scribe Online was designed to incorporate the "how" of collaborative IT from a people perspective. How partners and customers interact with each other during an integration project, and how to best leverage the platform to make those interactions truly collaborative. Collaborative IT is not only services and delivery platforms, it's also people.
The results of our Technology Adoption Preview or TAP for the Scribe Online Replication Service are in. Although we have been working on the underlying Scribe Online platform for over a year now, this was the first time we had provided a functional service to users.
We had 40 participants in the TAP that configured 61 data replication solutions during December. During that time, the service replicated over 307 Million rows of data from Dynamics CRM Online 2011 to SQL Server. We had nearly universal feedback on how easy the service was to set-up and configure. We did uncover some issues; most of them around connecting to SQL and Dynamics CRM Online 2011. Many of these issues were resolved during the TAP. The most common enhancements requests were centered on usability and allowing for more configuration options. We would like to personally thank all of the TAP participants who really put the service through its paces.
We were thrilled with how well the underlying Scribe Online platform performed under its first real world use. We are also happy to report that the Azure service that Scribe Online runs on performed like a champ. We continue to be pleased with that platform decision.
We hit all of the exit criteria we had for the TAP and are releasing the Replication Service into Managed Beta today. If you are interested in participating in our Managed Beta, you can go to www.scribesoft.com/online and click the Pre-Release button on the right hand side of the page to apply.
We will see you in the Cloud.
Over the past year, our engineering team here at Scribe has been busy developing a new cloud based integration service offering. As cloud services continue to expand, this cloud offering will enable our partners and customers to address the rapidly growing need to bridge the gap between online and on-premise applications. This industry-leading platform will uniquely support system integrators, solution partners and ISVs as they expand data integration options for customers. The platform will allow these partners to rapidly create solutions that can be easily deployed in the cloud.
Scribe is excited to introduce the first service on this new platform, code named Denali. This service will enable customers, with just a few minutes of set-up to replicate a Dynamics CRM 2011 Online database to a SQL Server instance for the purposes of more advanced BI and reporting. We will release an early version to a select group of Technology Adoption Preview (TAP) participants on December 1st. If you have experience and knowledge of Dynamics CRM Online and Scribe, you may be a good candidate to participate in this TAP. Being part of the TAP will require a commitment of between 2 and 4 hours per week for about 4 weeks. It will, however, provide a great opportunity to help us shape this new cloud offering.
You can find more information about this new cloud service and the TAP by going to www.scribesoft.com/denalitap. If you are interested in applying for the TAP, you can complete the form at the bottom of the page.
This journey into the cloud will be exciting for all of us. We look forward to embarking on it together.
With a little over two weeks to go before our first annual Scribe User Conference our team is busy preparing a rewarding and enlightening event for you, our customers and partners…we plan to enjoy ourselves too! It will be a great opportunity to learn new ways to use Scribe technology to shape how your users share CRM and ERP information to make smarter, more informed decisions. We hope to engage you in a good discussion about trends and opportunities that will result from the integration of cloud delivered services and premise based applications. This is an area of real interest to me and I plan to show you where we're headed with Project Denali, a code name for our upcoming new cloud based offering. We'll talk openly about our vision, the future of Scribe and how we will include our partners, consultants, customers as well as ISVs in our offerings and routes to market. The opportunity is too big to try to do it alone and we want to join forces with you to grow the pie together. We will continue to update www.scribesoft.com/scribecloud but for those that attend our user conference you will have an even better sense for our strategy and roadmap plans. I look forward to seeing many of you later this month.
So, have you heard? Scribe now has a Hosting Partner Program. This program, requested by many of the companies which currently host Microsoft Dynamics Business Applications, provides a number of benefits for partners and their customers including:
Because Microsoft Dynamics Applications, provide partners and customers the 'Power Of Choice' to be deployed on-premise or in a hosted configuration, many of Microsoft's partners are electing to provide the option of hosted Dynamics solutions for their customers. These hosted solutions typically require data migration and integration with other applications and data sources, which may be hosted, cloud-based or located on-premise. Through Scribe's Hosting Partner Program Scribe partners will be able to address every customer's needs regardless of the deployment option(s) their customer selects.
One of the historical roadblocks preventing most companies from outsourcing their mission critical applications to a hosting provider has been the perceived lack of integration to their other critical on-premise applications. Scribe has always provided our partners the technical capabilities to bridge that integration gap between on-premise and Software-as-a-Service applications. Now, with the new Hosting Partner Program, the business model makes it even easier for our partners to be successful at selling not only our integration solutions, but also their hosted Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
To view a list of partners that have already joined the program and which Dynamics applications they host click here. Continue to check this link as we are sure that it will grow. Or better yet, join the program!
Does Scribe offer 'subscription based pricing' for data integration? I think that's a question I have heard more in the past 3 years here at Scribe than any other. With the proliferation of Microsoft's SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) pricing model throughout the Dynamics suite of applications (most, not all), Microsoft's push to get more of their Dynamics partners involved with 'hosting' Dynamics applications, and Salesforce.com's continued strong 'on demand' presence in the market, it was only a matter of time before I could answer that question with a definitive 'yes, Scribe does offer a subscription pricing model for data integration.' That time is now.
Over the past 6 months, Lynn Harrington (Scribe Director, EMEA) and I have been working with a number of outsourcing companies and hosting VARs to develop a Scribe Hosting Partner Program that makes it easy for VARs and/or their hosting partners to offer data integration in a model that works most effectively for their customers. We have recently revved up this program (see our Hosting Partner Program Launch announcement here) – and it is now available for hosting companies or VARs that provide application hosting for their clients. We have structured the program to be very much in line with what Microsoft offers in their SPLA pricing model. Customers, through their hosting provider, are charged a simple 'per user, per month fee' covering the data integration portion of their application deployment – be that integrating Dynamics GP to Dynamics CRM, Dynamics NAV to Salesforce, or Dynamics CRM to SAP, to name a few examples. These 'per user, per month fees' typically get bundled along with the fees charged the customer on the applications being hosted. Additionally, there are no minimum user requirements and no minimum contract lengths.
To make the program easy to implement, Scribe provides the required integration software to the hosting provider in a simple provisioning model to ensure flexibility and ease of deployment. We also offer pre-sales 'proof of concept' support, and pre-packaged consulting support options to ensure hosting partner success in deploying Scribe Insight for their customers.
For many VARs in the mid-market space, having an option for implementing their customer's 'integrated' ERP and CRM applications in either an on-premise or partner hosted deployment is a compelling story, especially when Scribe Insight is the integration tool being deployed. Our program allows for integrating all applications within a data center, hosted to on-premise, or hosted to 'in the cloud' applications – dramatically expanding and strengthening a VAR's portfolio of offerings to their customers.
For more information on Scribe's Hosting Partner Program please contact your Scribe Regional Business Manager or Account Executive.