Progress Software has started a beta program for a new software-as-a-service-based connection management offering designed to help organizations create, run and hook up to business applications in the cloud.

The service, called DataDirect Cloud, is said to enable simplified SQL access to a range of cloud-based data sources through a single standards-based interface, the company said. The DataDirect Cloud offering provides driver technology that plugs into almost any third-party application suite (such as business intelligence, business process management and data integration).

The new service also provides Web-based query development tools that allow interaction with software-as-a-service (SaaS) data without any on-premise software required, and scalability suitable for demanding data access needs, according to the company.

DataDirect Cloud beta program access is scheduled to be available for a limited number of participants beginning in January 2013. General delivery of the DataDirect Cloud connectivity management service is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2013

“The success of cloud computing and SaaS-based applications will depend in part on eliminating the ‘data silo’ these applications create for their customers,” Michael Benedict, vice president and business line manager at Progress DataDirect, said in a statement. “With the DataDirect Cloud offering, we are delivering the final link to effectively integrate SaaS- based applications with the common tools most organizations have in house today.”