The Surprising New Business Driver for Prioritizing Cloud Integration

Loraine Lawson
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2014 Big Data Outlook: Opportunities and Challenges

You probably won’t be surprised to find that cloud adoption is still driving integration, but you may be surprised to learn what that reveals about changing business priorities.

Constellation Research’s newest report confirms that, yes, organizations are still concerned with cloud integration. But the reasons have changed.

For several years now, integration has topped the list of concerns because it was unclear how to or who should manage the integration. Cloud vendors often left adopters on their own when it came to integration with on-premise systems or other cloud solutions. This created a lot of headaches for IT.

In recent years, a number of solutions have evolved to address cloud integration—not the least of which is that many cloud solutions now incorporate integration as part of their offering. So why does integration remain a top priority?

Ray Wang, Constellation Research founder, principal analyst and author of the report, told CRM that it’s because of three main drivers:

  1. Cloud is now a mainstream solution, with more than 2,300 cloud software applications available for enterprise use. Wang shared one strong testament to this: Few, and possibly no, software start-ups are being funded as on-premise applications.
  2. The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming online, with a rough estimate of 47 billion connected endpoints by 2020. No surprises there, but Wang does stress that the IoT will require more than your run-of-the-mill integration. It will require metadata and process-level integration.
  3. Enterprises are less concerned with owning data and more concerned with accessing it.

That last one surprised me, so let’s just pause to reflect on that, shall we?

It makes sense, of course, given the growing importance of external data sets, but it signifies a significant change over the past few decades, and even recent years, of the belief that “information is power.”

The phrasing used by CRM made me question what this means:

  • How does this reliance on external data change your business model?
  • What does it mean for compliance?
  • What about data governance: Who will own the data? I mean, who owns it besides Google and Facebook.
  • How will organizations be able to stand on data if they can’t verify the quality of that data?
  • Are organizations (inadvertently or not) creating a situation where no one is responsible if data is misused, stolen or compromised?
  • What does it mean for individual customers, consumers and users? (Are users really “there to be used,” as Phil Simon recently commented on a Jim Harris post, “Facing ethics in a data-driven world?”)
  • Where is all of this going?

While CRM’s story didn’t address these particular points, it’s definitely worth reading. In addition to explaining these three integration drives, Wang warns CIOs about the dearth of cloud analytics tools and the implications for the “digital businesses.”

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