CMOs are fed up with SaaS and cloud silos, according to Forbes contributing writer Christine Crandell. That’s why they rank eliminating “the silos and manual work around” as top marketing objectives in 2015 to free up staff for more high-value work.
Of course, to do that, they’re making a beeline for the CIO’s office in search of integration options. That’s a bit frustrating, because IT certainly saw this coming, but integration is the top reason why IT becomes involved with cloud applications procured by the lines of business. Fifty-four percent of the time, integration is what triggers IT’s involvement, according to the The CompTIA Fifth Annual Trends in Cloud Computing. The problem also isn’t likely to disappear soon: The same research found that LOBs are procuring cloud applications anywhere from 18-26 percent of the time, which is a slight increase over the 2013 numbers.
As tempting as it may be to play dumb, it will fall to IT to solve this problem. Are you ready? Here are five free resources that will help you get a jump start on solving the cloud/SaaS integration problem:
“Finding Help with Cloud Integration.” If you’re completely clueless about your options for cloud integration, this post from 2013 is a good first start. The big change from 2013 is that you’re more likely to have multiple cloud or SaaS applications you want to integrate, but if not, I walk you through the basic options for integration.
TechTarget’s “Explore cloud application integration use cases.” Don’t be confused by the title — software tester Amy Reichert means use cases in the engineering sense of a list of steps defining interactions between a role and a system. She’s written this for developers, so if you’re not a developer and you’re short on time, I’ve summarized it here. There are two approaches it doesn’t mention: Point-to-point custom integration (people do it, but you shouldn’t) and using APIs for integration.
The 2014 Forrester Wave: Hybrid2 Integration report. Published in February of last year, this report is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still my top pick for cloud integration challenges. There are a lot of niche integration solutions, which can be really confusing. I like this report because it used strict requirements to eliminate the smaller integration providers. I have nothing against these solutions, and I definitely think you should seek them out if that’s what you need.
However, it can get be very confusing. In the end, only 14 vendors made the cut, and each has at least four of seven critical integration functions: App integration, B2B integration, BPM, data integration, cloud-based integration, API management and Internet of Things integration. It’s a long report at 32 pages, so if you want to cut to the chase, check out the chart at the bottom of page 10 to see which vendor addresses your pain point.
Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service. This report is the first time Gartner tackled the iPaaS market. IPaaS stands for integration platform as a service, and it’s the most robust option for dealing with cloud integration challenges. This report actually covers 17 vendors. An update will be published at the end of March, but for now, you can download the 2014 report from Informatica’s site.
The CompTIA Fifth Annual Trends in Cloud Computing. This report doesn’t give a lot of space to integration, but you might want to read page 10, which discusses how some smaller channel firms are getting out of the integration business. It’s also a good read if you need data for a business case or just want to familiarize yourself on cloud market trends. CompTIA offers the report for free with basic user registration.
Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.