When it comes to investing in new technologies, the Cloud has become the go-to platform for the majority of business applications. However, one factor that is often neglected in the process of adopting these technologies is how applications integrate together. Cloud integration can be crucial for your business success, but pitching its importance to decision makers within your organisation can be a daunting task. In this blog, we look at everything you need to know to prepare yourself for an internal Cloud integration pitch.
With the New Year almost upon us, most companies are in the process of finalising their budgets and strategies for the year ahead. Identifying the key challenges for the business, researching the tools to solve these problems, and forecasting how much it’s all going to cost – it’s a busy time of year!
With so much going on, and so much in the pipeline, it can be easy to gloss over some important factors affecting your IT investment for the year ahead. Exciting new tools and technologies may grab the limelight, but it’s crucial that you think about how they will fit in alongside your existing systems.
Cloud integration should therefore be one of the key investments for any business using the Cloud extensively. But how can you convince key decision makers to give Cloud integration the priority it deserves?
Why Cloud integration matters
The benefits of Cloud computing itself are clear to see, with these technologies allowing users to access business applications remotely, anywhere in the world and without the cost and hassle of manual installations.
Moving business apps to the Cloud allows you to centralise your operations whilst exploiting the efficiencies the Cloud offers when it comes to time, money and resources. A recent survey by SnapLogic found that 56% of businesses run at least four Cloud software applications. But if these applications are not effectively managed and integrated, there is a risk that these efficiencies are diminished.
Cloud software-as-a- service (SaaS) applications give line-of-business users the ability to get up and running on these tools without the involvement of IT staff. This relieves some of the strain on IT departments in the short term, but, left unmanaged, data volumes can spiral out of control, often resulting in duplicate and inaccurate data.
Cloud integration allows companies to share data between the numerous business applications they use on a day-to-day basis, whilst keeping firm control over how data is structured between these differing outlets.
Setting out the requirement
In order to convince decision makers to invest time and money in Cloud integration, there first needs to be a clear and present requirement within the business.
Cloud integration is a more pressing concern for companies that have multiple ¬ and often large ¬ numbers of critical business applications running in the Cloud. These might include tools such as ERP systems, CRMs, productivity suites, databases, e-commerce platforms and marketing automation software to name but a few.
Each of these applications presents a business with a unique set of challenges and ¬ without a solid integration strategy in place ¬ the value of your data may decrease as it becomes difficult to achieve a single version of the truth. Without effective Cloud integration, companies are at risk of losing the competitive advantages they gain from adopting the Cloud in the first place.
Do your research. Clearly define a strong business requirement. And most importantly, back it up with evidence.
Build or buy?
As with many IT investment decisions, when it comes to Cloud integration, there are two options – build or buy.
Many companies opt to build Cloud integration technology internally. This is particularly common in businesses where there are large development teams capable of producing this technology. This does, however, require a great amount of manual coding and constant maintenance to ensure everything continues to run smoothly. Even then, there are no guarantees that this approach will be effective or efficient for the business, due to the cost and resource required.
The increasingly common solution is to buy in Cloud integration software. There is a wide range of vendors now offering integration solutions that are not only more effective, but also more affordable. Whichever approach you take, it needs to be justifiable.
If you choose the former, then you need to be willing to accept that this will require a significant devotion of internal resources. With finite resources available to the business, this will undoubtedly lead to the merits of integration being weighed up against those of alternative projects.
Choosing the latter option will require extensive research into the wealth of Cloud integration solutions available. And it will necessitate pitching the right products for your business to the decision makers who will ultimately have the say on whether this can be signed off.
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