This post was originally featured on May 21, 2013 in VentureBeat as a guest post by Matt Quinn, CTO of TIBCO.

We’re well beyond any question about whether cloud computing is the future. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) paved the way for the idea that organizations can operate some of their most important systems in an on- or off-premise cloud. Small, medium, and even large businesses accept that cloud computing delivers flexibility, cost, and scalability that business has never had before. Companies are gravitating to cloud because it brings very short time to value and doesn’t impact the current business model. Lower cost and less risk are very attractive propositions.

How big is this move? Forrester estimates that the average company has 9.3 different SaaS applications in use. Consulting firm Capgemini reports that 78% of new applications are deployed into the cloud — and that’s just the applications that are being tracked. In reality, workers today are practicing BYOS (Bring Your Own Service) as they experiment with SaaS in broad ways that IT, and even business managers, may not know about.

Cloud has its challenges

As cloud computing continues to mature and its use expands, it hasn’t been without challenges. The most significant limitation has been the increasing pain of a lack of integration between cloud applications and the rest of the business. This is a pain that becomes more acute as the cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-on-premise system invariably becomes more complex. On top of the integration challenge, the mechanics of cloud expose organizations to increased risk of data integrity, process latency and security. Oftentimes, SaaS applications are being marketed to the business, which likely looks at risk in a different way than IT or compliance. This is a challenge itself as the organization faces risks that aren’t understood or moratoriums on SaaS use that aren’t followed.

A way to solve this problem is to stay within a single SaaS vendor “stack,” but that leaves an organization beholden to a single vendor – a risky position. But there’s a reality of the still-maturing cloud: SaaS applications are typically limited in capability, a necessary evil of the SaaS paradigm that creates economies of scale for users by requiring customers to use highly standardized interfaces and functionality. To build out the same level of capability that’s commonplace in the on-premise world, organizations need to blend custom functionality within their own walls with multiple, disparate cloud applications and storage options. The reality of Cloud is that nearly all enterprises will need to operate a hybrid model for years to come.

TIBCO Cloud Bus

With these challenges in mind, TIBCO released TIBCO Cloud Bus yesterday. This is an entirely new integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) that uses ready-made templates and connectors to integrate cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-on-premise systems and applications, and includes integration with social networks. In keeping with the nature of the cloud, TIBCO Cloud Bus is a subscription, pay-as-you-go service without a large upfront investment or infrastructure.

The immediate benefit of this iPaaS platform comes from being able to rapidly connect SaaS applications without having to program, by using the latest graphical tools in a business-friendly user interface. Considering how critical time-to-value has become, this kind of ease of use is essential. Let’s face it:  What matters enormously today may not be necessary tomorrow; and likewise, business needs to constantly innovate through technology that seems to change daily.

http://www.capgemini.com/sites/default/files/resource/pdf/simply._business_cloud_where_business_meets_cloud.pdf

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Take the Cloud to a Higher Altitude