A recent blog post at ERP Software at Your Service nicely sums up two key choices you have to make when you want to integrate with anything-hardware or application services-via the cloud:
It's not a horribly exciting or new choice, is it? It seems some things never change.
Still, this isn't a small question. The post cites a Gartner stat that 75 percent of all cloud deployments will need to connect to on-premise applications-and that means integration. And as this ComputerWorld article pointed out, you can't exactly wait this issue out:
Employees can bring SaaS applications-one flavor of cloud computing-into your company pretty easily; all they need is an American Express card and the will to circumvent IT, says Don Goin, CIO at auto loan company Santander Consumer USA. The company is a division of the $18.7 billion banking giant Banco Santander.
The brief ERP Software post points out that many cloud vendors are going the partnership route to integration, aka Salesforce.com, while others such as SAP are relying less on third parties, but with what it calls a "deeper and broader solution." Both, the writer notes, come with problems.
But the real point of the post is that there is another option: The third-party solution, which can be an integration platform or service you buy, or a more custom build from a systems integrator. The piece mentions another recent article about Westmont College's choice to do just that.
Actually, if you only have a little time, skip right to the Campus Technology article on Westmont's move to the cloud. Reed Sheard, who wears the dual hats of CIO and vice president of advancement at the California college, shares how the college saved money and created more effective IT systems with six cloud initiatives, including building an integrated fund-raising relationship management system.
For that system, the college subscribed to Salesforce.com's CRM system, but it needed to connect the data to its existing on-premise Datatel ERP system. To do that, they used a third-party cloud integration solution from Cast Iron Systems, (now owned by IBM). The whole piece is an informative look at how one organization is using cloud-based services of all types to do more with less, all without integration issues standing in its way.