It’s rare to find applications that are independent “islands of information.” Almost every business application consumes information from other applications or data sources in the organization and/or provides information to them.
Information is shared to support integrated workflows, case management, business process orchestration, or business intelligence needs. Increasingly applications have become distributed across SaaS applications, cloud platforms, and on-premises data centers. Cloud applications are easy to start using but have limited value if they remain disconnected from the rest of your enterprise. Integration with the rest of your application portfolio will be critical to get the full value from your cloud applications.
Application and data integration challenges have been around for decades. Adding cloud to the mix has only made things more complex, and the pace of change is dizzying. Your staff may struggle understanding new API standards, cloud-based event models, or user authentication scenarios. There are issues related to security, privacy, latency, data integrity and quality, API management, transaction integrity, and cloud operations. With an increasing volume of sensitive data flowing to and from the cloud, you must also consider the following key security issues:
- Data ownership and content confidentiality
- Potential for data to be compromised in transit
- Cloud data integrity, including synchronization and quality
Integration is so fundamental to business that it is risky to ignore. Organizations that have migrated to the cloud – and then pulled back to on-premises – cite cloud integration as the most difficult challenge to overcome. Your organization will not successfully adopt cloud solutions without a comprehensive cloud integration strategy. Poor planning around cloud integration can lead to the following:
- Skyrocketing costs for data storage or network transfer
- Ineffectual performance measurement or suboptimal application performance
- Business process interruptions or integrity issues if key services go offline unexpectedly
- Potential security risks
T4S Partners Cloud Integration Strategy & Services can help your organization address cloud integration challenges across four critical areas:
- Data Integration – make this a priority since increasing the use of cloud-based services changes the very nature of data management
- Applications Integration – get control of the process and data flows between cloud and on-premises applications or risk losing integrity and the trust of your business users
- Identity and Access Management – using cloud-based services generates challenges for managing secure and consistent end-user access credentials
- Service Level Agreement Management – align support structures and relationships with your cloud vendor(s) to manage expectations properly and have a plan when things go wrong
Many cloud integration solutions are available in the market today, including on-premises solutions or integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) options. With built-in support for the latest API standards and cloud platforms, many also offer pre-built adapters for leading SaaS applications. Even if a custom-coded approach has worked for your on-premises integration, T4S Partners recommends using a commercially available solution rather than custom-coding. The complexity of the cloud warrants “configurable” integration solutions, not “coded” ones. Even simple solutions will become stale and difficult to maintain against the elasticity of the cloud. Enhanced security requirements may also be too complex for custom coding.