Pervasive Puts Its Galaxy Integration Community Into Orbit

–by Sanjeev Aggarwal and Laurie McCabe, SMB Group

At its annual Metamorphosis conference earlier this month, Pervasive announced Pervasive Galaxy, which merges an online integration marketplace and community into a single, streamlined platform. Pervasive has designed Galaxy to remove boundaries between buyers and sellers and make it easier for end-user customers to understand options, review vendors, figure out what’s best for their needs, and shop for/purchase integration solutions. Galaxy’s built-in community capabilities help vendors connect with customers to gain input, gather feedback, exchange ideas and help crowdsource new solutions.

As we noted in our SMB Group Top Ten 2011 SMB Predictions, better, faster integration is becoming a critical business solutions differentiator. Cloud computing has made business solutions more accessible and affordable for a wider swath of companies, but integrating them can break the bank. This is especially the case for SMBs, who usually don’t have the money or appetite for complex or time-consuming integrations.

This reality drove Pervasive, a long-time leader in the integration space, to send Galaxy into orbit on the heels of some very big players making significant acquisitions in the integration space; IBM’s purchase of Cast Iron earlier this year, and Dell’s recent deal for Boomi.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the announcement, and our take on what it means for the integration market and the stakeholders in it.

The Integration Challenge

Integration is one of the biggest and costliest hurdles for companies that need to adopt new applications. Companies need to integrate applications and data sources to maximize productivity, reduce redundancy and inaccuracies, and streamline workflows. Yet integration between and among external cloud and on-premise applications, different data sources and existing business workflows can be costly and complicated. This is particularly true for SMBs, who lack IT staff that can develop integration between applications, or the budgets for solutions that require time and labor services.

How Galaxy Addresses the Integration Challenge

With Galaxy, Pervasive is creating a place where customers can easily identify and access affordable and capable integration solutions and vendors, and also provide vendors with feedback about their integration requirements. Galaxy will offer data integration products, solutions, connectors, plug-ins and templates, and serve as a community platform for customers, developers, integrators and other relevant vendors. Pervasive’s intent is that this convergence will nurture a strong ecosystem which will facilitate more rapid, innovative and accessible integration solutions.

Vendors on Galaxy will offer customers both integration components and turnkey cloud integration services. For instance, integration components available in Galaxy include engines, workflows, connectors, agents and rich data services that can support a range of needs, such as data loading, data matching, profiling, transformation and business analytics. Galaxy will also offer ready to run solutions for point-to-point solution integration in a subscription-based SaaS model.

How Galaxy Works for Customers

Galaxy enables community participants to build, preview, test and buy integration solutions. These might include pre-built data integration solutions, connectors, plug-ins or templates that enable faster integration solution development.

Instead of starting with a Google search, or contacting a VAR or consultant and trying to figure out if there is an existing integration solution that’s right for their needs, customers can go to Galaxy and see if there’s an existing solution that fits the bill. They can also use Galaxy to locate a partner than can customize an available integration to their individual needs, or build a custom solution from scratch.

Building an integration community is Galaxy’s other primary focal point. End users will not only be able to shop for ready-made solutions on Galaxy, but will also be able to view and rate templates, connectors, plug-ins and solutions. They can also use Galaxy to inform developers and integrators about their needs, request new integrations, and link to others with similar needs to share the costs of getting a new integration developed. End-users who build integrations themselves can, if they want, also sell them to others via the Galaxy platform.

How Galaxy Works for Partners

Pervasive Galaxy offers developer and system integrator (SI) partners an integration marketplace platform, development tools, store, community collaboration and revenue sharing–basically everything they need to build and sell their solutions. There is no charge to build integrations. Once partners build the solution and start selling it on Galaxy, they keep 70% of the sale and the other 30% goes to Pervasive. Partners retain their intellectual property, and can offer documentation and the required technical support (possibly for an additional fee).

Galaxy should help developers get their integrations to market more quickly, and make their offerings more accessible to a broader constituency. For instance, Galaxy’s “try and buy” program gives developers a way to demonstrate ROI before they commit to a purchase–giving skittish and/or cash-strapped SMBs a risk-free way to try the integration and see if it pays off before they have to spend money for it.

In addition, partners can take advantage of Galaxy’s community to tap into integration requirements across a range of businesses. This should enable them to tune their integration solutions more closely to actual requirements, to explore potential new markets for their products and meet customer needs in a more repeatable and profitable manner.

What Does Galaxy Do for Pervasive?

Galaxy gives Pervasive a centralized mechanism to market and provide access to its growing array of development and testing tools–including Pervasive Data Integrator, Pervasive DataCloud, Pervasive Data Profiler in a more streamlined way to developers and integrators–and build a new revenue stream based on the sales of the integrations that partners build and sell.

Pervasive has initiated, built and will maintain and manage the Galaxy marketplace platform. As the Galaxy community grows, Pervasive should also be able to extract a lot of insight about customer and partner integration requirements and demands across different horizontal, vertical and geographic markets, which it can use in its own product planning efforts. Pervasive and its community members will jointly develop and participate in demand generation and building visibility for the Galaxy market, vendors and community.

At some point, Galaxy could serve as a launch pad for integration testing and certification, conducted either by Pervasive or by the community, helping to reinforce the company’s position as a leader in the integration space.

Quick Take

The integration challenge is becoming increasingly more complex because of trends such as cloud computing, mobile solutions, social media and the exponential growth of data. These trends will continue to drive the need for companies to integrate more applications and data from an increasingly dizzying array of sources.

These trends are also driving Pervasive and its integration competitors to tear down some of the barriers that have made integration so difficult in the past (see Dell and Boomi: Doubling Down on Integration, for our view on Dell’s approach to this challenge).

With Galaxy, Pervasive has built a streamlined, in-context ecosystem for customers to search for, identify, evaluate and purchase integration solutions. As important, Galaxy gives users a place where they can voice their integration experiences, concerns and requirements. Meanwhile, Galaxy should help partners market their solutions, and gain insight on integration gaps and requirements from a much broader audience, and amortize the costs of developing their integrations over a larger number of customers. The ecosystem approach puts vendors and customers on the same page and fosters the collaboration that should result in a win/win for all involved.

However, while Pervasive has built Galaxy, the question remains whether enough users and partners will come to make it a true integration destination point. To fuel customer interest, Galaxy needs a strong cadre of actively engaged developers, SIs and integrations in the Galaxy ecosystem. Conversely, to attract partners, it needs a lot of customers that partners can sell their services to. Pervasive will need to double down on its social media, marketing, partner engagement and other related activities to ensure Galaxy reaches its goals–especially as it faces strong competition from the big guys–in our opinion, particularly from Dell-Boomi, which appears to be thriving under the Dell umbrella.

But, Pervasive’s smaller, independent status can also play in its favor, as noted in Top Takeaways from Pervasive’s 2010 IntegratioNext Conference. The company can keep a laser-like focus on the integration needs of customers and the business development needs of partners. And its independent status may appeal to prospective partners that may having differing agendas than or encounter red-tape challenges when working with Pervasive’s larger rivals. If Pervasive can use this agility and focus to its full advantage, and rev up marketing and social media engagements, Galaxy should succeed in it mission to create a vibrant integration marketplace.

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