With the acceptance of cloud computing, more and more business enterprises use software and even infrastructure services. These information service companies provide applications, such as data storage, computing processes, document sharing and management information system services as public resources to support the business process management of their customers.
However, no cloud computing service vendor can satisfy the full functional IS requirements. Enterprise organizations still have the burden of integrating these applications with their back-office systems and on-premise applications, without which the SaaS applications have little to no value.
Complex enterprise integration requirements challenge even the best cloud solution providers today. Integration prerequisites are a bridge between cloud applications and data warehouses, entitlement, authentication, billing systems, a tem-of-record, and on-premise applications. In many cases, this integration is across layers in a manner not intended by the application's vendor but performed nevertheless because interfaces are unavailable, because organizations do not have the necessary skill set and do what they know how to do, or simply because it is faster and cheaper.
Customers may also decide to purchase other service solutions, offering short term convenience, but raise issues for both parties by creating brittle connections that are easily broken by software upgrades, additional integrations, or customizations applied to the application.
The cost of integration can be 30-45% of the overall cloud implementation, which often increases project durations. While organizations will encounter some new integration challenges with cloud implimentation, they are still faced with many of the same challenges of traditional application integration.
Enterprise organizations in specific vertical industries are subject to extensive government, industry, and internal IT data security regulations that are more challenging to address with cloud solutions and must be considered early in the integration process.
There are the business requirements of the application that may impose complex data visibility rules that are unique to organization's business process and cannot be changed. Cloud applications that have rigid visibility models may require additional work to accommodate these rules, often compromising the integrity of the data or the application.
Initially, defining performance metrics for each integration is paramount to the success of the project and will define how the integration is designed and implemented. There are a few integration patterns that are commonly applied to SaaS implementations. A clear understanding of the desired functionality will yield the minimum data elements requiring synchronization and replication. It is essential to evaluate and match the integration capabilities of the vendor with requirements.
Integration-on-demand services seek to address these issues. On-premise integration systems will continue to offer complex integration capabilities that their on-demand counterparts cannot provide. Savvy business end users are ordering on-demand integration tools without Information Technology’s approval. This raises significant security concerns about unauthorized client applications accessing corporate data sources.