One of the main reasons cloud computing is taking off is that it’s just so darn easy. It’s cheap, it’s quick, and you don’t need to go through a lengthy battle to do it. You’ve heard it a hundred times — it only takes a credit card and you’re up and running.
But while that may be what makes cloud popular, it’s not the best way to leverage cloud computing’s real power, writes Rex Wang, vice president of Oracle’s Product Marketing, in a recent Forbes column.
By taking a long-term, strategic approach to cloud computing, you can use cloud computing to drive transformational change, he writes.
“Thinking big and taking a long-term view are critical,” he writes. “Accelerating the pace of business innovation, dramatically simplifying IT, and increasing responsiveness to dynamic business needs are what CEOs demand from their CIOs, and cloud computing can help make this happen if it’s done right.”
As I read Wang’s column, it quickly became clear that integration plays a key role in making that shift from cloud computing as a convenience to cloud computing as a strategic asset.
Let’s look at his example of one way you can use cloud computing for transformation:
“For example, organizations can use cloud computing to transform sales, marketing, and customer service processes by integrating social, mobile, and big data insight if the underlying cloud platform has those capabilities built-in.”
Integration is tricky, though. If you’re smart and think about it as a strategy worth pursuing in its own right, it pays off. But if you neglect it, it can be a major problem for IT and business users.
That’s true on the ground, and it’s true in the cloud, as well, and Wang cites underestimating the difficulty of integration between the two as a common pitfall of cloud computing projects.
Most senior business managers know it, too. Wang cites a global survey that asked 1,355 senior business managers about their cloud experiences. Eighty-one percent cited full integration as an important requirement for achieving the full benefit of cloud computing.
“In many cases, lack of cloud integration is cause to pull the plug entirely,” Wang writes. “The study also revealed that ‘companies have abandoned roughly one cloud application a year due to integration problems.’”
That’s probably because the expense of integration can quickly eat up any financial gains cloud gives you, he adds.
It’s yet more proof of what most of you intuitively knew all along: Cloud with integration is like a pencil without lead - pointless.
It doesn’t have to be this way. For more on how to make sure you’re ready to deal with cloud computing’s integration challenges, check out “Four Ways to Solve Cloud Integration, for Better or Worse” and “Finding Help with Cloud Integration,” which focuses more on SaaS, but includes many recommendations that are applicable.