What’s in Your Toolbox? How Standards Simplify Accessing Data in the SaaS World

What’s in Your Toolbox? How Standards Simplify Accessing Data in the SaaS World

Posted on June 27, 2022 0 Comments

Make it easy for your customers to access the data they need with Progress DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline.

I’m a car guy. I like to collect them and work on them. Much of the time it is enjoyable. But occasionally it can be quite a challenge such as when I find that a manufacturer did not use a standards-based fastener, but instead decided to use some custom designed part which requires a unique tool to remove. Something not already in my giant red Craftsman toolbox. Something not even at the auto parts store but requiring a special order from the manufacturer or a creative use of the welder to build my own tool. Not only does this delay my project, but it is usually expensive.

So, what does this have to do with data connectivity? Well, I am glad you asked. It has everything to do with it.

When SQL became the norm for querying structured data, the ODBC and JDBC standards provided a way to interface tools which speak SQL to a limitless array of data sources. It made it easy to use tools such as Excel, PowerBI or Tableau to work with these data sources to produce insight and beautiful visualizations. If your analytics tool “spoke” SQL, you could connect to your data sources with a vendor-provided driver. It would be as easy as grabbing that 10mm socket.

And then came SaaS and REST, breaking this model for easy analytics. Now, your customers are often locked in to using the analytics dashboard your hosted solution provides, limiting what your customers can do with their data. While you may offer REST APIs, this requires your customers to write code to connect the tools of their choice to the data they need – taking developers away from other projects and decreasing their ROI.

What if you, as a SaaS provider, could make it easy for your customers to connect to the data they need without any development effort using a secure data gateway to provide ODBC, JDBC and even standards-based OData access? Progress DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline solves this problem by providing a secure platform to share data in the SaaS environment with customers using secure HTTPS, centralized authentication, throttling and logging. They no longer ask for data extracts and CSVs but can now query the information needed in real-time.

So, you are probably wondering, “What is OData”? I like to call It SQL over REST, as it is a REST API standard designed specifically for data access and queries. Microsoft released it in 2007 and since then OData support can be found in popular tools such as PowerBI, Tableau and Excel. The best part is that since it is REST-based, there is no driver to distribute. This makes it easy to use, secure, and quick to deploy with Hybrid Data Pipeline.

Progress DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline installs in your SaaS environment as a highly available data gateway, connecting directly to your databases or REST APIs. You control the authentication to these data sources with our multi-tenant solution and can audit the SQL being issued at the user and data source level. If you are using our OData support, you can even limit the tables and columns shared on a per-user basis based on the data source configuration in Hybrid Data Pipeline.

All of this is to say that you no longer need to tell your customers they need a special tool to access their hosted data. They won’t need to spend time coding against your REST API but will have immediate access to the raw data they need to get the insights they need from your SaaS solution in the most convenient and familiar format.

Customer Example:

There is a large software company in the construction management space that has done just this. By deploying the DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline in their private cloud, they were able to migrate legacy customers using their older, on-premises solution to their modern, hosted environment and still provide those customers with standards-based, real-time access to the hosted data. Using the hybrid ODBC driver, their customers connect just like they did before, using the tools of their choice to run reports and create dashboards. This helped remove the friction many companies experience today when moving current customers to a new SaaS offering.

If you would like to add Progress DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline to your toolbox as a way to offer a standards-based data access platform, we offer an easy to use trial version in both traditional and docker formats. I would also encourage you to sign up for one of our upcoming webinars to learn more.

Register for a Webinar

Aaron Burg

Aaron Burg

Aaron Burg is a sales engineer with Progress. He has worked in the IT space for 20 years, focusing on the systems administration and security. This broad experience has allowed him to be a valuable resource for customers looking to implement Progress DataDirect’s connectivity solutions. 


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