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SaaS integration: Build, buy or subscribe

As organizations utilize Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud applications to run their business processes, it makes it all the more crucial for those applications and services to integrate with each other as well as with existing data residing in legacy systems. Enterprises today leverage numerous SaaS applications to manage billingmarketingCRM, and analytics systems in order to streamline processes and efficiently run and manage their business. By building, buying, or subscribing to an integration solution, a number of organizations have tried to reduce the inefficiencies and gaps created by using disparate systems. Through examination of all three options, this article will provide useful information to aid businesses in deciding which solution is ideal for their needs.

Custom integration hinders business agility

What seems like a quick and easy solution becomes an integration problem

Many businesses have turned to custom coding to tackle the challenge of SaaS integration. Custom coding provides businesses the ability to create connections quickly. Moreover, it provides the flexibility of tailoring integrations in order to meet specific business and technical needs. For those businesses who have a small set or scope of integration requirements, custom integration is often perceived as the fast, and most logical path.

When business grows and new integrations are required, the ability to troubleshoot and manage the integration between systems becomes more and more difficult. As the number of integrations increases, the point-to-point infrastructure increases in complexity, often becoming very tangled in the process. This tightly coupled “spaghetti architecture” leads to a loss of business agility, preventing flexibility and scalability when business requirements change. Multiple point connections are also very difficult to manage and maintain, as they frequently require updates and modifications as new versions of APIs are released.

Even further, as integration is not the core competency of many business, acquiring the talent and tools to create and manage these integrations can be costly, taking skilled developers away from the core business of delivering retailinsurancehuman resourcee-commerce or financial services.


Buy or subscribe to an integration solution

MuleSoft Anypoint Platform provides the tools to create connectivity

To integrate SaaS applications and services without creating a complex system, having a single platform that can perform multiple integration use cases is an ideal solution. Buying or subscribing to an integration solution is cost-effective, scalable, and easy to implement and manage.

A previous study by Ken Vollmer of Forrester Research Group entitled, Should You Build, Buy, Rent, Or Download Your Integration Capability? states, “While the cost of acquiring a third-party integration solution adds capital expense, making packaged integration capability available to the development staff can lead to significant improvements in developer productivity, lower maintenance costs of new integration functionality, and provide faster response time to the business."1

MuleSoft follows such a method, offering two solutions to meet the needs of businesses. MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is the next generation integration platform that allows businesses to connect data, applications, systems, and devices, by easily connecting disparate SaaS, mobile and on-premises systems. Anypoint Platform provides a complete set of products that lets you get started no matter where you are along the continuum toward the cloud. Moreover, the Anypoint Platform eliminates costly, time-intensive point-to-point integration and creates business agility. The platform includes two robust integration solutions:

  • CloudHub is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) allowing users to build and deploy customized integrations without creating additional IT overhead. CloudHub makes it possible to connect applications and services in the cloud and on-premises, allowing sharing of information across SaaS and cloud applications as well as legacy systems. Offered as a cloud based service, CloudHub is the integration preference for many enterprises who are performing cloud to cloud or cloud to on-premises SaaS integration use cases. Subscribing to a service such as CloudHub gives businesses a lightweight solution that does not require any sort of downloads or software.
  • Mule Runtime is the engine of Anypoint Platform. It is the industry's only unified platform that combines data and application integration across legacy systems, SaaS applications, and APIs with hybrid deployment options for maximum flexibility.

Build integrations once and deploy anywhere with MuleSoft. Depending on business needs, companies can connect applications by deploying on-premises through Anypoint Platform.

An integration platform future-proofs business

Build, sell and innovate with MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform

Although custom integration is many times the quickest way to build and deploy integration, it is unable to scale. When businesses grow, the application and corresponding integration requirements are likely to change as well. Companies need a future-proof solution to help them grow. MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform gives enterprises a path to build, sell, and innovate.

  • Cost effective: The simple drag and drop graphical interface of Anypoint Studio makes it easy for developers to be productive within minutes, saving the cost of hiring additional headcount to maintain integrations. Moreover, users of CloudHub and Anypoint Platform have access to pre-built integration solutions such as Anypoint Connectors, expediting the time to live for SaaS integration. Anypoint Connectors provide instant API connectivity to numerous popular applications. Additionally, pre-packaged integration apps, can easily be configured according to business needs. CloudHub and Anypoint Platform are free to try, with a variety of cloud subscription plans and tiers to help enterprises get started quickly.
  • Lower maintenance: Gain visibility and control over the integrations on both Anypoint Platform and CloudHub with a centralized management console, making it easier to identify and troubleshoot issues when they arise. For those wanting to manage integrations via the cloud platform or eliminate infrastructure maintenance, using CloudHub prevents the need to maintain a copy of software, manage new releases or updates. Saving time and money on maintenance lets organizations focus on their core business.
  • Scalability: MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform offers businesses the flexibility and scalability they need for the future. As a business grows, CloudHub and Anypoint Platform deliver by making it easy to onboard new systems and applications, giving organizations the ability to develop SaaS and Enterprise integration once and deploy anywhere. Moreover, MuleSoft ensures protection by running integrations on a stable platform based on the multi-tenant integration runtime.


Business requirementAnypoint PlatformKey benefits
Cost effective
  • Single platform for Enterprise and SaaS Integration
  • Simple, powerful graphical design
  • Library of prebuilt solutions
  • Integrate anything. Over 120 out-of-the-box connectors to integrate any protocol or application, on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Quickly and easily build integrations with a simple drag and drop interface.
  • Develop integrations once and deploy either on-premises or in the cloud.
Lower maintenance
  • Ultimate visibility and control
  • Monitor key performance indicators, set SLA alerts, and diagnose and fix issues - all from a centralized management console.
  • Get up and running quickly without additional IT overhead using an iPaaS. 
Enterprise scale
  • Enterprise class security
  • Scalable, reliable, available
  • Block unauthorized access to systems, eliminate exposure of sensitive information, and prevent attacks through proactive threat management.
  • CloudHub and Mule as an ESB are architected for both high throughput and highly distributed environments. 


MuleSoft Anypoint Platform for businesses

Regardless of business size, MuleSoft offers a robust integration platform to take on the challenges of SaaS integration. Whether organizations are interested in buying an on-premises solution or subscribing to one, MuleSoft provides businesses the flexibility they need to create connectivity easily. Learn how Anypoint Platform and its complete set of products can help drive business or contact us today to get started.


1 Vallmer, Ken. Should You Build, Buy, Rent, Or Download Your Integration Capability? Forrester Research Inc, 2009. PDF.