Well over a week ago Cape Clear was consumed by the SAAS marketplace. When I first heard the news I scratched my head but as SAAS gains steam, the need to share data via automation becomes more important. The increasing communication of data outside organizations has not decreased but only increased making simplified integration an imperative. Currently I am working with a several clients that are sharing data with business partners to provide a more complete solution. REST and SOAP interfaces are the standard and from experience are easier then the RosettaNet and EDI standards of the past. These standards spent a lot of time identifying a domain, event model, protocol etc that provided an out of the box roadmap for B2B.
These days the protocol and policy's are standardized however the event model and domain are custom to each. Most of the customers I am doing work for are implementing simple B2B models that share core data and simple event models. This is currently comprised of a WSDL on each end with customers invoking each others interface.
How does this tie into SAAS? Well if you are familiar with the first evolution such as Salesforce.com, there was a backlash from large organizations around storing their data offsite with poor APIs to extract and manipulate the data. After several iterations, Salesforce.com has improved their APIs and you see the second generation like Google, Workday and others providing compelling solutions for GIS, ERP etc. These services have taken off not only in small niche like applications but in the Fortune 1000 and Local/State/Federal Government.
What SAAS has exposed is the need for integration never decreases, it just sort of shifts from internal to external or if you look from a SOA perspective, the interoperability is baked in from the start.
The acquisition of Cape Clear is testament to this fact and identifies the need to use standards to simplify adoption.