This week at Dreamforce, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, announced Salesforce1. Benioff suggested that Salesforce1 could be the single platform to run entire companies, and manage the internet of things from a single source. However, the bigger story behind Salesforce1 is an API story. How else can a single platform claim to “Connect all your apps. Connect all your devices. Connect all your customer data.”? Increase your APIs tenfold is how.
In the age of the cloud, integration is everything. What was once a labor-intensive service is rapidly becoming a set of capabilities in the cloud that IT organizations can dynamically invoke as needed. We’re still some distance from making that integration process completely turnkey. But we’re getting a little closer with each passing day.
One of the more problematic elements of building any application is managing end user identities. Writing the code to manage who gets to access any given application not only is time consuming; it doesn’t usually add much in the way of unique value to the application.
When it comes to mobile computing IT organizations basically have two choices. They can either try to extend their existing applications to support mobile computing access or they can develop applications from the ground up that are truly optimized for mobile computing.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s chief marketing officer, Mark Lazerow, suggests that there’s roughly one really important development in social marketing per year, citing Facebook’s application development platform launched in 2007 as an early example. His pick for this year’s model is the new Twitter ad API probably the most important development in social marketing to come along in a year.
Celoxis is both an online and installable project management platform integreted with Microsoft Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar, and Salesforce.com, among others. Celoxis explains the Celoxis API in a way that suggests they want you to be able to use it easily.
The Currency Cloud, cross border payment as a service provider, has enabled developers to integrate international payment processing with an API: XBPConnect. Prior to the Currency Cloud, payment/invoice software required users to leave the platform and engage a third party to process an international invoice. The Currency Cloud allows cross border and multi-currency transactions from a single platform. The API allows developers to integrate the functionality into existing apps and platforms.
One of the great things about APIs is that they make applications more accessible than ever in the age of the cloud. But just because an application is accessible doesn’t necessarily mean there is a mechanism in place to consume data from the application via the API it exposes. In fact, the tools needed to consume that data is giving rise to a new class of middleware that is collectively being referred to as cloud brokering software.
Video conferencing is one of those killer applications that a lot of people get initially excited about, but wind up seldom using. The reason for this ranges from everything from a lack of interoperability standards to the fact that setting up an appointment to walking down the hall to a another room to use a video conferencing system is more trouble than it’s worth, especially when the setting up of that video conferencing session usually requires an administrator or someone from IT to actually set up.
It used to be that integrating data across different applications required an unnatural act involving complicated pieces of middleware. In recent times, accomplishing that act has become easier thanks to lighter-weight middleware based on standard Web services and RESTful APIs. But even still, accomplishing that task still requires the skills of a developer. In contrast, the next revolution in data integration is going to be characterized by business users integrating data across applications on their own at will.