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Astadia Enables SaaS Via Pervasive's Solution

Astadia, a business solutions consultant with expertise in software-as-a-service (SaaS), and Pervasive Software have formed a partnership. Under the deal, Astadia plans to use Pervasive's data integration technology for customers moving to Salsesforce.com's SaaS-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution.

Astadia is using Pervasive's Data Profiler solution to check the quality of a company's data and compliance with Salesforce.com's solution "before deployment or reimplementation," according to an announcement issued by the companies.

Astadia currently is the number one partner with Salesforce.com, according to Lonnie Wills, vice president of global services at Astadia. However, the company does more than just integration with SaaS systems and customization.

"We're not just a technical team that puts together a solution, but we really are business people and we try to help [companies] better align their businesses to drive profitability," Wills said.

One example Wills gave was Astadia's work with a customer in the electronics manufacturing space. The customer wanted to build a manufacturing forecasting solution and used Salesforce.com and integration tools to make that happen.

The example is a sign that partnerships and customized solutions aren't going away with the SaaS distribution model, according to David Inbar, director of integration marketing worldwide at Pervasive.

"Successful SaaS models are changing the economics of consuming applications," Inbar said, "but the underlying data are still the same data. And some of the same disciplines have to be applied to [the data] whether it resides behind the firewall or with some SaaS vendor or in between. With Salesforce.com, you can deliver the applications faster, you can change them faster, but there's still the need for customization. There's still the need for partnerships, and really there's a new breed of partners [with Pervasive] like Astadia."

In addition to partnering with companies like Astadia, Pervasive has partnered directly with Salesforce.com since 2001, Inbar said. Pervasive's solution also has connectors to work with a variety of systems.

Astadia is agnostic in its selection of technology. It selects solutions based on its customers' needs, but it currently has staff trained to use Pervasive's solution, which provides greater support than just data mapping.

"Customers don't even really know their own data to the extent that it's not mapped out," Wills said. "Clearly, they don't necessarily understand the business logic that's been defined over time that creates that GUI for them to see whatever information they have today. So part of our process is sitting down and going through a data mapping exercise upfront. And then understanding what's going to be the system of record, whether it's Salesforce.com or a legacy system. Pervasive is that conduit that allows us [to write those business rules] … to manage that information between those two systems."

Pervasive's solution is embedded and enables data transformation, but it also supports "clean" data through the application of business rules.

"The need to clean data is not only to get it cleaned up on time when you are first going to get into the application, but then to make sure that any additional data updates follow the business rules you want to follow," Inbar said. "While in the database world, you may set up all kinds of constraints, triggers and stored procedures to do it, in the applications world, there's a whole set of additional business rules that need to be applied so that the data are consistent between one system and another."

The solution doesn't depend on a service-oriented architecture (SOA). It works with "traditional" systems too, according to Inbar.

"SOA is an option, and that's really driven by the customer," Inbar said, "because SOA is more of a journey than a destination. There's no reason why all of this couldn't be running as a service and a lot of the time it is. Sometimes it's implemented as a very traditional operating system service and sometimes it's set up as more of a classic Web service or part of an SOA approach."

Wills isn't seeing so much SOA systems to build solutions around at this point.

"We tend to find legacy systems that have no Web services and aren't built around SOA at all," Wills said. "And that's what's so powerful about Pervasive is that I am able to connect to that system and provide and enable that SOA, if you will, to expand and deliver data to Salesforce.com."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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