SaaS Next Big Wave: OData Integration for External Data

SaaS Next Big Wave: OData Integration for External Data

January 12, 2016 0 Comments

Two of the top SaaS vendors, Salesforce and Oracle, have now adopted OData as an external data strategy. It was really exciting to be on stage at both Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld to share my experiences in SaaS' next big wave for integration across Salesforce Connect and Oracle Service Cloud Accelerators. But what do these developments really mean?

Why Standards Matter for External Data Strategies

An external data strategy for an application enables access to disparate data sources without copying the data locally. Such a strategy effectively elevates the business impact for any application with instant access to business critical data. We saw this in on-premise applications across Microsoft SQL Server (Linked Server), Oracle (Siebel Virtual Views or Database Gateways), IBM DB2 (Infosphere Federation Server), Postgres (Foreign Data Wrappers), etc. These platforms were critical to the business and accessed data from across the organization for operations.

External Data Source Edit: XDS

The OData Standard for SaaS and Hybrid Data Integration

With the cloud, SaaS applications are now gaining prominence and need to develop external data strategies. This is a competitive advantage today, but will soon become a requirement as SaaS vendors adopt OData for their data strategies.

The top three differences in external data strategies from on-premise business applications to SaaS include:

  • Rise of citizen developers
  • Hybrid data connectivity
  • Connectivity for the web

Line of business professionals such as citizen developers and integrators are demanding self service point/click integration patterns to external data from SaaS applications. A lot of the data remains on-premise behind corporate firewalls, resulting in a requirement for hybrid data connectivity from cloud applications to on-premise data sources. The first two tend to be in conflict since network security policies to access data behind a firewall are typically beyond reach for citizen developers. But that burden is shifted to the OData ecosystem of producers, which includes DataDirect Cloud®, for self service access to back office databases.


Standards are absolutely critical to external data strategies, so that SaaS vendors can develop their data access layer around a standard for unlimited data sources, versus trying to build one-off connectors. In the on-premise world, ODBC and JDBC were popular standards for database federation. With SaaS data strategies, OData is the most popular web friendly standard with an interoperable RESTful API.

With the on-premise applications, external data strategies started out as a competitive advantage for these technologies and became a check box feature from the leading vendors, including the open source community. We are at the forefront of that wave today with OData adoption for SaaS vendors.

Learn More in our Upcoming Webinar with Progress, Microsoft and Oracle

Join me, Sumit Sarkar, Chief Data Evangelist with Progress, and Mike Pizzo, Principal Software Architect with Microsoft, both of us organizational members of the OData Technical Committee, for an eagerly anticipated live webinar on 1/19. And we’re excited to host Roderick Peace, Director of Product Management from Oracle Service Cloud, who will share the latest developments for their OData strategy.

During this webinar you’ll:

  • Gain a clear understanding of the OData ecosystem from Microsoft experts
  • Learn why OData was selected as an external data integration pattern for Oracle Service Cloud
  • Watch demos showing OData hybrid data connectivity with Oracle Service Cloud and Salesforce

Click here to register for the webinar.

I am excited for this new SaaS Open standards revolution. Odata hybrid data connectivity brings new, unparalleled data capabilities to the SaaS market. Three of the top five SaaS vendors have partnered with us around data connectivity strategies, and we would LOVE to work with you next.

For more information on the webinar, take a look at Mark Stafford's (Microsoft OData team) post.

Sumit Sakar

Sumit Sarkar

Sumit Sarkar is a Chief Data Evangelist at Progress, with over 10 years experience working in the data connectivity field. The world's leading consultant on open data standards connectivity with cloud data, Sumit's interests include performance tuning of the data access layer for which he has developed a patent pending technology for its analysis; business intelligence and data warehousing for SaaS platforms; and data connectivity for aPaaS environments, with a focus on standards such as ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET and ODATA. He is an IBM Certified Consultant for IBM Cognos Business Intelligence and TDWI member. He has presented sessions on data connectivity at various conferences including Dreamforce, Oracle OpenWorld, Strata Hadoop, MongoDB World and SAP Analytics and Business Objects Conference, among many others. 

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