Took a briefing the other day, regarding Elastic Intelligence’s new company/product, Connection Cloud. About a third of the way through it, I had one of those moments. You know, the one where you say aloud, “Why hasn’t anybody done this yet? Why haven’t I done this yet?”
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, which means you have no idea what I’m talking about. Let me back up. Connection Cloud is a service that answers a question that users have made since the birth of software as a service: “How do I keep control of my data?”
In theory, your data is always yours, and you can move it around or feed it into disparate BI and reporting applications however you like. In practice, data is resident in the platform on which the business systems are built, and connectors must be coded to have those apps talk to each other and report on the same data, not copies of it.
Connection Cloud fills the role of middle man—or middleware, if you prefer—by being a data switchboard with connectors available for everything. It can pull info from any cloud application or group of applications into the reporting system of your choice, and refresh as often as you like. Build a report in any app, whether Excel or any SaaS vendor’s product, and you can populate it nearly instantly with live data. Not a static dump, not a preconfigured subset. Choose the fields you want and make your report happen.
I am very enthusiastic about Connection Cloud, which is strange because my focus is usually on customer experience and the use of social media, not running reports. The fact is, though, businesses run on information. They need to understand more than just what’s happening at the point of service, and that means detailed reporting of operational data. Anything that provides more access and easier management to that data makes it easier for businesses to operate with confidence, and without fear that working with a SaaS provider is a one-way street.
Am I being horribly naive about this? Have I missed something in the past several years? Let me know in the comments, because I think Connection Cloud is dead clever, and it’s doing something necessary and (so far) unique.