Jitterbit extends beyond application integration, articulates an IoT and API play

Jitterbit, the well-known integration platform, is jumping on the API integration bandwagon. Smart move or not?

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Jitterbit, a well known integration platform that makes it easier for organizations to integrate their applications, data and business processes, is today announcing an extension to its platform that seems the company become relevant to a far greater audience.

There's an interesting trend in the application integration space. Companies that were once focused on the not-insignificant task of tying together applications are broadening their offerings even wider. It's now not enough to simply be an integration vendor, even if the state of the enterprise IT nation is growing ever more complex, and hence integration increasingly important. Despite the fact that enterprises are using an increasing number of discrete solutions and need to tie together both on-premises and cloud offerings, integration vendors need to go further.

And a common direction they're going is one which seems to involve enabling digital transformation. The theory goes like this: tying together discrete applications is pretty much just simple plumbing. While it's useful and necessary, it doesn't really come across as sexy. What certainly is sexy, however, are the themes of digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT). On the one hand, every woman and her dog has seen the examples of Uber, AirBnb, and Netflix and is wondering how software can be applied to her particular situation. Since, as Marc Andreessen put it, software is eating the world, everyone wants to know what software means to their particular situation. On the other hand, there is an ever-increasing awareness of how the future is going to consist of billions of different connected devices. People want to know what this world of sensors will mean for them.

Given these trends, it is no surprise to see that Jitterbit today announced what it is calling a "digital connectivity platform." The idea of the Harmony Live Platform is to enable a "clicks not code" approach to not only application integration, but also now the design, orchestration, and management of the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that not only tie together applications, but also devices and data. Jitterbit is differentiating its platform from the other API management players out there by focusing on its simplicity. According to the company:

Unlike legacy integration solutions and API management tools, Harmony Live! empowers non-technical users to connect any on-premise system, cloud app or device and expose it instantly as an orchestrated API in minutes. Using the Jitterbit Studio, users can connect, orchestrate and manage their APIs without writing a single line of code.

The platform runs on a multi-tenant cloud platform and the APIs that run upon it can be run in any environment while connected to the Harmony API Gateway, which exposes those APIs. Jitterbit is including some pre-built connectors to popular applications (including SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce, Autodesk, and NetSuite). Using these connectors, the individual business processes can be exposed as an API. If a data source does not have its own API, the platform can create one.


Unique, this isn't. There are a number of players offering an API management product. Companies like Apigee, Mashery, 3 Scale, and Layer 7 - not to mention the recent announcement of Amazon Web Services' own API management offering. That said, these aforementioned platforms do tend to come to things from a more technical edge. The differentiation that Jitterbit is articulating around democratizing API orchestration is interesting.

Of course, in talking up this democratized route, they tend to butt heads with the more simple platforms - vendors such as SnapLogic or even If This Then That (IFTTT) or Zapier. The key thing for Jitterbit will be to show that there is some whitespace between the more technical solutions and these more simple ones.

I'm not overly keen on the fact that Jitterbit is talking this up as the only offering of its kind. What they're doing is valuable and important, but not completely novel. That said, the need for increased API management, along with a compelling proposition to integrate sensor devices into applications, is a real one. Jitterbit have a part to play in all of this.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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