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Scribe Extends Cloud Service To Boost CRM Synchronization

Scribe Software, which last year released a cloud service to connect Microsoft Dynamics CRM data with other business applications including Salesforce.com apps, is extending its capabilities to synchronize content more easily with disparate premises-based business-critical software.

The company is billing Scribe Online Synchronization Services (SYS), released this week, as an alternative to integration middleware such as Dell Boomi, IBM Cast Iron and Microsoft's own SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and BizTalk connectivity software. Scribe Online SYS connects Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com data with business critical apps using third-party connectors via the cloud.

The goal of the Manchester, N.H.-based company is to extend the value of both premises and Software as a Service (SaaS)-based CRM environments to include other data sources such as ERP apps, marketing systems, legacy databases and even social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Among those developing connectors so far are GoodData, Metanga, Aplicor and Xactly. To enable partners to build connectors, Scribe this week has also launched its Spark Solution Developer Program, aimed at ISVs with SaaS-based apps, implementation partners and consultants. It is also available to corporate IT and development shops.

Participants in the partner program can use Scribe's new connector development kit (CDK), which consists of a set of APIs and documentation. With the connectors, updates to customer information are captured and reflected in both the CRM system and the corresponding application, ensuring information is always current and accurate across the organization, said Scribe CEO Lou Guercia in an interview.

Systems integrators can manage the use of these cloud connectors for customers, Guercia said. Scribe has 12,000 customers, 1,000 of which it picked up last year, and has 1,000 partners, according to Guercia. "That gives us tremendous leverage," he said.

Scribe, which claims it saw its business grow 22 percent over the past year, is hoping more systems integrators and VARs will build mappings between ERP applications, custom software and SQL databases. Likewise, internal IT organizations can opt to build their own connectors and can also access the CDK. If a shop has a proprietary system that they want to integrate with their CRM data, they can build a native connector rather than relying on ODBC or native SQL connectors.

The service runs on Microsoft's Windows Azure. When someone wants to build maps between different applications they use Scribe's wizard-based UI, enter the names of servers they want to connect to and the service will show the different entities that are within the target and source systems. "The user can drag and drop across the screen which entities they want to map and synchronize," Guercia said.

Dana Gardner, who follows the data integration market and is a principal analyst of Interarbor Solutions, pointed to the need for better connectivity between disparate CRM data and other data sources. Gardner believes Scribe is employing a unique and potentially effective route to market to solving that problem.

"Integration from a cloud vantage point is the right way," Gardner explained. "Doing integration point to point from inside the firewall is difficult and costly but standardizing and then creating a community effect, whereby more people create more types of connectors that then get relayed back into the community, that's an effective model. It's been proven in many ways in an open source type of environment. I expect that the same effect will play out in the cloud ecosystem or cloud of clouds. I do think there's a strong need and the go-to-market approach of the community and the channel is smart."

It will be interesting to see how much traction the new program gains in the coming months. Do you like Scribe's approach to the CRM integration problem or are you more partial to other alternatives? Leave a comment below or drop me a line at jschwartz@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/25/2012 at 1:14 PM


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