Cloud Integration as a Mandate, Not an Option

According to recent research from Saugatuck Technology:

“In the near term, through 2015, enterprise buyers indicate a need for integrating Cloud to on-premises software, though the preference for pure-play Cloud solutions continues to grow. By 2017, our surveys indicate the demand for Cloud pureplay solutions will have risen significantly and will drive the need for Cloud-to-Cloud integration. Whether it is Cloud to on-premises today or Cloud to pure-play Cloud tomorrow, the need for integration is clearly mandated.”

I like it – cloud integration as a mandate, not an option.

According to a recent IDG survey, Integration is right behind security as a barrier to cloud adoption in the minds of IT. However, IT does not perceive that integration is as important in the minds of their line of business counterparts. (Thanks to Louis Columbus for summarizing the results of the survey here.)

Is there a disconnect? I’m not so sure. If it’s done right, integration should be invisible to your cloud application end users and the people who require data from these systems.  But if you take it away, you’ll see how quickly integration will jump to the top of the LOB wish list as cloud application adoption plummets and chaos ensues. Try this:

  • Make your SaaS app users login to multiple systems to get what they need (aka swivel chair integration).
  • Give your accounts and contacts different names in each system and sit back and wait.
  • Send out reports with conflicting information to different business leaders in your organization at the end of the month. Or better yet, send them to your CEO. (I heard one company call this the CFO firedrill.)
  • Require your SaaS application owners to get in line with your centralized IT department each time they want to make a change.
  • Allow each group in your company to use Access and Excel as their primary repository for integrated data. (Insert your favorite term here: spreadmart, spreadhead, Excel Hell, etc.)

One reason that cloud integration has become less of a barrier to cloud application adoption is because more modern, elastic platforms that have emerged to address the line of business need for speed, flexibility and power. Here’s what SnapLogic founder and CEO Gaurav Dhillon had to say in the company’s record Q3 results announcement:

“Customers are no longer willing to accept last generation?s approaches to today?s data management challenges.”

According to Dave Linthicum, Business – Not IT should make the case for cloud, and the IT organization has to ensure that cloud integration is a mandate, not an option.


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