When you think about cloud integration, the names that first spring to mind are all companies that specialize in data integration — Boomi, Cast Iron, Pervasive, Informatica and others [disclosure: Boomi recently paid for me to write a product briefing]. This reflects what you might call the ‘data-first’ approach that’s been prevalent in enterprise computing; the role of integration middleware has been to transform data for exchange between one application silo to another, and the first generation of cloud integration vendors have replicated this function.
The cloud makes it easier to take a ‘process-first’ approach to integration, one that focuses on the desired business result and integrates processes at the same time as the underlying data within them. This approach sees data integration as a means to an end rather than as an end in itself. The sentiment is not new; traditional enterprise integration stacks are all topped off with business process management layers. But cloud applications, with their ready support for REST APIs, mash-ups and widgets, seem to provide a more natural environment for user-centric process integration.
Interestingly, most of the vendors that are taking a process-first approach seem to be based outside the US. Cordys, based in the Netherlands, is one. Another is Fujitsu. Both have been featured in ebizQ webcasts. Recently, I spoke to the CEO of a French startup, RunMyProcess, the first pureplay vendor I’m aware of in the field. Its customer base also has a non-US bias, with half in Europe and the rest in Asia and South America. But after closing a $2.2m funding round, it has its sights set on correcting that bias.
Like other cloud integration vendors, RunMyProcess offers a cloud-based integration hub that acts as a single point of integration between multiple applications, ensuring that its customers avoid the complex maintenance challenges of point-to-point integrations. It differs from other vendors in treating its hub as a platform for creating applications using process-based design. “It doesn’t really make sense to separate the buiding of custom applications from integration,” founder and CEO Matthieu Hug told me…