The newly launched Azuqua platform aims to solve a common, expensive problem for businesses: connecting multiple SaaS applications. The company, an alumnus of the start-up incubator Techstars, was founded by a former Microsoft employee who realized that people were spending weeks or months connecting multiple SaaS sytems.
"You can provision Salesforce.com in half an hour, but when it comes to connecting, it takes a long time. You're writing custom code, you have consultants come in, and you have mountains of code you need to maintain," Azuqua founder and CEO Nikhil Hasija says.
Creation and maintenance of the custom code for these connections has built a thriving industry. Forrester puts the integration market at $32 billion a year, while Gartner estimates that in the span of three years (2013-2016), midsize to large companies will spend 33 percent more on application integrations.
Azuqua allows users to connect multiple systems without ever writing a line of code. Instead, a drag-and-drop interface allows companies to set up connections. Hasija predicts the audience for Azuqua will be midsize enterprises, which will now be able to connect or add systems they couldn't before, because it would have been too expensive to yield a return on investment. Users would be sales, service, and marketing professionals who work across multiple systems.
Azuqua currently supports a number of systems, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Salesforce.com, Trello, Twilio, Facebook, Google Sheets, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
In addition to connecting multiple cloud-based products, Azuqua can add value to these connections through an Excel-like library of functions that includes if/then logic and natural language processing. For example, a user could set up a sentiment analysis in Twitter and add people who felt negatively about a competitive product to their CRM contact list. The sales team could then reach out to these people as potential customers. The team could also use Azuqua to bring in other social information, like from LinkedIn, into other systems.
Azuqua has spent the past year in beta and is now intent on acquiring a passionate user base. Hasija compares what his company wants to do with the consumer-facing company IFTTT (IF THIS, THEN THAT), which allows users to set up automatic actions. IFTTT allows people to set up a rule that will autosave all the photos they take on Instagram to Dropbox, for example. Other companies that offer software for data migration, such as Snaplogic and Informatica, usually require advanced computer science expertise, according to Hasija, which is not the case with Azuqua's simple drag-and-drop interface.
"Companies are acquiring systems at a very rapid pace. Sales, marketing, and customer service professionals are drowning," Hasija states.