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Businesses turn to the cloud for integration

Businesses face increased need to connect disparate systems.

As cloud technology matures and organizations more readily adopt these services, implementing and managing them has become more complex. Part of the issue stems from the numerous use cases and solutions that have emerged over the years. With so many choices, it can be difficult to find the best one for an organization's unique needs. At the same time, growing comfort with cloud solutions has allowed many businesses to leverage more than one service.

InfoWorld's David Linthicum discussed the advantages and challenges associated with multicloud approaches in a recent article. Suggesting that today's deployments likely involve dozens of different cloud solutions, Linthicum identified several core concepts for business and IT leaders to consider:

  • Multiclouds require greater emphasis on security and governance
  • Resiliency is a more complex issue in multicloud environments
  • The multicloud strategy is only beneficial with the right combination of providers

"It's important that you take the lessons learned from building complex distributed systems to multicloud deployments," Linthicum wrote. "You need to understand that integration drives complexity, which must then be managed. There is no substitute for planning and architecture."

Organizations will likely benefit from more robust monitoring tools so that they can keep the cost of utilizing cloud infrastructure from multiple vendors low. Although it is important to consider the expenses associated with multicloud, it is also critical to look into the complexity of leveraging software housed in disparate systems.

One of the core benefits of models such as software as a service has been the simplicity of accessing and using applications. However, those advantages can be diminished by difficulties with integrating core business systems. That is one of the critical issues that has emerged for treasurers, according to a recent CFO Insight article. SAP manager Christian Mnich told the news source that cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-on-premise integration will remain a prominent challenge in the coming years. This suggests greater demand for tools that provide visibility over cloud environments and fully integrated systems so that companies can unify their deployments.

 Shifting focus to integration
The news source also highlighted data from a survey of CFOs, 65 percent of which cited frustrations with communications systems integration. The majority (57 percent) said they planned to adopt cloud services as a way to improve in this area. However, it would be difficult to realize those benefits without considering the way different cloud solutions can exchange mission-critical data.

The complexity of application integration also emerged as a key issue in a 2012 Gartner report, in which analysts predicted spending in this area to increase 33 percent between 2013 and 2016. Some of the growth in expenses can be attributed to a shift in focus. As enterprises adopt more software and work with other organizations, they will need to better connect their environments. At the same time, this creates a more data-intensive IT ecosystem and necessitates that many more programs be connected than in years past. Analysts also identified the convergence of technology as a factor making application integration more complex.

"The skills and software needed to adequately implement integration between on-premises and cloud services with data and applications on mobile devices will require a nondiscretionary investment by enterprise IT for the foreseeable future," Gartner explained. "IT leaders must allocate resources accordingly, as mobile device support and mobile app enablement will not be avoidable."

Particularly as business success becomes more dependent on data sharing between applications, businesses may turn to cloud and managed services providers to deal with the complexity of bridging the gaps between disparate systems.