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Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced AWS AppFabric, a no-code service that makes it easy to integrate multiple software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. The presentation took place during the AWS Applications Innovation Day event.
According to the company, IT and security teams can integrate third-party apps into their organization using AppFabric with just a few clicks in the AWS console. The integration eliminates the need for custom point-to-point (P2P) integrations and provides a unified view of application usage and performance.
AWS said AppFabric is designed to connect with 12 productivity applications and five security apps. Also, it can be integrated with 17 SaaS applications via API. The company says that with AppFabric, customers can reduce operational costs and improve the security posture of their organization by gaining visibility into application data.
“Customers have asked us to abstract this level of connectivity and allow apps to work better together without having to do any integration work,” Federico Torreti, product lead at AWS AppFabric, told VentureBeat. “Our differentiator through this offering is that apps not designed to work together will work better with AppFabric.”
Torreti said the company aims to help customers leverage the network of more than 100,000 AWS partners through AppFabric. In this way, AWS aims to enable these partners to improve and expand the experiences offered to their users and staff, encompassing all aspects of a company’s SaaS activities.
During the event, AWS also showcased an upcoming generative AI feature for AppFabric, powered by Amazon Bedrock and scheduled to launch later this year. The AI feature allows users to quickly capture answers, automate tasks, and generate insights across multiple SaaS applications.
The announcement comes after Microsoft recently unveiled its Fabric suite, an end-to-end platform for analytics and data workloads. The Fabric suite integrates products for all of an organization’s data users, from technical data processing by engineers to data analysis and decision making by analysts.
Microsoft highlighted in its announcement the practice of Amazon and other cloud providers of repeatedly charging customers for various analytics tools and discrete data used on their clouds. Microsoft has hailed its Fabric suite as an advance that could allow it to surpass Amazon and other cloud service providers, especially in serving large enterprises.
Enable app connectivity across a unified layer
According to Torreti of AWS, modern workflows require collaborative efforts across departments for productive teamwork. These workflows are characterized by cross-functionality and interconnectivity, often requiring users to switch between multiple SaaS applications to perform a single task.
The AWS study found that employees switch between apps up to 30 times a day, spending nearly 12% of their time searching for content. This constant switching of apps leads to distractions and hinders sustained concentration. Torreti said the company has developed the code-free capability to address this interconnected nature of modern digital workflows.
AWS says the capacity will act as a bridge between data silos between SaaS applications, facilitating better cross-functional work among employees. It aims to cultivate a culture of collaboration and enable employees to perform their duties more effectively.
“AppFabric is a fully managed service that quickly connects SaaS applications across the organization without the need for coding or development work,” Torreti said. “It eliminates the complexity of building and maintaining point-to-point SaaS application integrations and provides better visibility into application data.”
Torreti said customers can now trust AWS as the optimal platform for running applications, while improving security observability across an organization’s application technology stack.
“Enterprise IT leaders can respond faster to security threats and reduce operational costs by feeding normalized data across SaaS applications into security tools like SpluckRSA Netwitness, Logz.io, Rapid7, Netskope or other security tools of their choice,” he added. “Administrators will be able to set common policies, standardize security alerts and manage user access across multiple applications “.
Ease the integration burden for customers
AWS said customers had historically taken responsibility for app integration work. While there are still specific use cases where point-to-point integrations are crucial, such as data lake hydration, these integrations can be costly and time consuming.
They require specialized skills to investigate, create, secure and maintain each integration due to the variations in data models between different application APIs.
The company introduced the new service in response and says it handles end-to-end integration between apps, including normalization of different data models, APIs, privacy and security.
At the event, the company announced a partnership between Zoom in and AWS AppFabric to enable innovative AI experiences. Furthermore, Leumi bankIsrael’s largest bank, was highlighted as an organization using AppFabric to enhance its security operations center.
“AWS AppFabric connects 12 SaaS applications, including some of the most used productivity applications from Asana, the Atlassian Jira suite, Dropbox, Miro, Okta, Slack, Smartsheet, Webex by Cisco, Zendesk and Zoom, and manages them all in one location,” Torretti said. “AppFabric will also pull data from Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 to improve the experience.”
Customers can select the applications used by their organization in the AWS Management Console and establish connections with AppFabric. AppFabric then automatically provides a standardized set of operational and security data for each app.
“Transforming raw SaaS application audit log data and then centralizing it into a log repository comes with its share of challenges. But it is a critical requirement before we start creating alerts and monitoring usage across multiple apps,” said Boris Surets, chief information security officer at Optibus, in a written statement. “AppFabric has doubled our visibility into SaaS activity during at night, with minimal effort and cost.”
Additionally, the platform seamlessly integrates SaaS applications with various security tools.
“AppFabric aggregates and normalizes security data using the format Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework (OCSF)an open community schema, which makes data accessible from these tools,” Torreti told VentureBeat. “Using this framework, IT and security professionals can analyze data more easily and set common policies, alerts, and a unified set of rules that span multiple SaaS applications.”
Using Generative AI to deliver complex insights
In addition to using AppFabric for the security use case, the platform offers Generative AI capabilities powered by Amazonian rock to help customers complete tasks based on the context of multiple applications.
Torreti pointed out that AWS users have often complained of the inconvenience of navigating between multiple apps or copying and pasting from various data sources, leading to constant switching between applications throughout the day.
To address this challenge, AppFabric’s generative AI capabilities span SaaS applications, reducing the need for users to continually switch between applications when searching for information or completing tasks such as generating meeting notes, drafting of update emails or creating project updates.
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AWS explained how AppFabric treats the reasoning and understanding capabilities of its models not as simple archives of knowledge but as dynamic entities. The service enriches the context of its generative AI model by incorporating current data and knowledge, and with Bedrock, users can refine these AI models.
“As part of our architecture, we do three things: First, we base and enrich prompts in customer data. Second, we are constantly evaluating and improving the prompts, and finally, we are actively working to tailor the prompts to specific customer use cases,” Torreti said.
He pointed out that the new AI feature helps users complete tasks by providing results in the preferred format of the chosen application.
“When you join a virtual meeting using Zoom, AppFabric will use the context of the transcript and provide relevant data such as the most recent messages and emails for a particular user, then use the APIs to recommend actions that user can take through SaaS applications,” Torretti explained. “With the Generative AI feature, we are shifting the paradigm on applying Generative AI from retrieving knowledge to relying on their reasoning skills and being action-oriented.”
AWS announced that AppFabric is now available for immediate use in US East (N. Virginia), Europe (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and will soon be available in other AWS Regions.
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