Align on these precepts
Cloud integration is a complex undertaking, but you cannot go far wrong if you keep in mind the following precepts:
- You cannot always predict what kind of data your business users are going to need tomorrow to drive decisions and grow the business, so be prepared with a full range of data access, latency and transformation capabilities.
- You will eventually find yourself managing scores if not hundreds of best-of-bread cloud applications, so invest in implementing a flexible, scalable and secure integration layer.
- You can go broke hiring business intelligence consultants and IT programmers to support this kind of scattered application environment, so hand over responsibility for querying data and creating reports to your business users to save both money and time.
- Your head may be turned by solutions with a low upfront price, but nothing beats a low total cost of ownership (TCO).
Like many companies, AppDynamics lacked the time and resources to build the cloud integration infrastructure we wanted, so we looked to commercially available tools and techniques. Some techniques, such as the ESB model mentioned above, are fine for transporting data, but inadequate for integrating, transforming and managing data for business analysis and decision making. We knew we would quickly outgrow such approaches and would have wasted whatever resources we had invested in their implementation.
In the end, we implemented a data integration platform solution, Informatica's iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service), which provided the five core essentials for cloud integration and aligned us with the precepts above. There were other options with a lower upfront cost, but we were investing for the long run, not the easy sprint. The TCO advantage of a platform becomes apparent very quickly as you integrate more and more applications and their data.
Do not let anyone tell you that cloud data integration is a slam-dunk. There is more to doing it effectively than meets the eye. Select your solution wisely, as it will help drive the long term success of your company.
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