Coming to the realization that your legacy systems and outdated business processes can’t deliver all the capabilities your business requires can be a little bittersweet for IT personnel. It's a little somber to see your old but reliable solutions — the ones that helped launch the business — keep fighting the good fight, but it's also exciting to unlock capabilities that newer SaaS applications and cloud services can provide. Those standard integration workflows evolve into hybrid integration ones and pretty quickly require more of a cloud-to-cloud application integration approach, and things start to get tricky.
The benefits from cloud integration sound great in theory, but how you decide to get there is just as important. The key is integration — connecting all your business processes, systems, applications, and everything in between, so they execute end-to-end workflows as one cohesive unit. Being able to connect best-of-breed enterprise and SaaS applications will give you the flexibility, agility, and scalability that your business needs to do just that.
Migrating to the cloud can be expensive, complex, and a downright daunting task, but it’s simplified with a hybrid integration approach that enables modern cloud integration processes. Here’s what you need to know in order to find the very best cloud application integration solution on the market.
The Challenge with Cloud Application Integration
It’s no secret, SaaS applications are everywhere. Whether it’s a Salesforce CRM, an Acumatica ERP, or a Slack collaboration solution, today’s enterprises will have multiple and sometimes hundreds of SaaS applications to manage. The enterprises that succeed, however, are the ones that provide the tools their employees need while keeping the organization connected, so it can execute business better.
However, there are a few challenges to a complete cloud application integration strategy. For one, most API integration layers provided by the cloud vendor fall short of the capabilities you need to integrate your business flows and other SaaS applications. Learning to navigate these hurdles will make for a smoother integration process, both in the short and long terms. Here are a few challenges facing those organizations looking to integrate their cloud applications.
Lack of Control
For all that cloud computing has to offer, the truth is that when you entrust the cloud with your data, you are giving up a certain amount of control. Your cloud vendor will hold the keys to that control and that can be a pretty scary thing to grow accustomed to. If that cloud company ever experiences downtime, it’s unlikely you will be able to access your data in their cloud. Maintaining control remains a sticking point for many IT leaders when you dip your toes into the cloud.
As companies add more and more applications to their current infrastructure, the environment can be complex to manage. Data mapping between cloud applications becomes essential, as a company with numerous SaaS applications, including ERP and CRM software, and other back-end systems must ensure the systems can communication with each other. A central integration platform provides the data transformation capabilities required to ensure your data mapping is easy to navigate.
How you choose to encrypt and protect sensitive data, whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud, will make a difference as to just how your cloud application integration strategy works. There will be some added security vulnerabilities when data is in the cloud, so any cloud vendor you choose must provide strong security layers that support your industry and government mandates. However, an integration layer that connects your cloud applications also can provide more security and encryption options.
You also must be aware of the different points of integration throughout the process. Constantly logging data while it is migrating is key. One of the alluring features of cloud computing is the speed and ease of use to deploy an application, but it also can be cause for concern. Employees can easily install their own applications and create a “shadow IT” scenarios, which are difficult to monitor since they are not sanctioned by the IT department, nor are they integrated.
Too Much, Too Soon
Because migrating your applications to the cloud has so much potential, it’s easy to rush to integrate applications without conducting proper testing. The savviest CIOs, in fact, will consider how the application will integrate before ever committing to it. Those that don’t take route must set aside plenty of time for pre-migration testing and troubleshooting and also set aside the right amount of IT talent to handle the migration. Cloud application integration is a marathon, not a sprint.
How to Achieve Seamless Cloud Application Integration
As your business grows, and as you move more and more applications into the cloud, the need to transfer data among them will grow as well. For these applications to directly exchange data, there needs to be an integration layer that transforms, encrypts, and transports data to and from other cloud-based applications. Enter the modern integration platform, which features all the API tools, robust data transformation capabilities, and secure data movement protocols designed to connect cloud applications to ensure interoperability.
A robust cloud application integration platform like Cleo Integration Cloud provides a toolbox of SaaS connectors, system and technology adapters, APIs, design wizards, and other devices. Enterprises using Cleo improve how they build and manage end-to-end integrations between internal and partner systems but also SaaS applications, including the important ERP, CRM, HCM, finance, and payment solutions that power their businesses.
Instead of IT teams spending all their time worried about the minutiae of executing cloud-to-cloud application integration, it’s time for businesses to focus your energy on core revenue-driving activities for the enterprise. Find out how to better onboard SaaS applications and gain ROI faster using Cleo integration solutions.