Recently Dave Linthicum has been writing more and more about the importance of data integration to cloud computing success. A few months ago he wrote about the integration challenges of cloud computing, which made me wonder if he was becoming the Wilford Brimley of the cloud reminding us all to eat our oatmeal. Earlier this month he referred to data integration as the “Achilles Heel” of cloud computing in a post which has led to some interesting comments and a few interesting articles. And finally last week he wrote about the cloud data integration buzzkill in a great InfoWorld post that outlined the common scenario where “cloud euphoria” is disrupted when these awful words are uttered once your first SaaS application is successfully implemented:
What about integrating the data back in the enterprise? How is our data in the cloud going to sync up with our other core enterprise systems?”
So why is data integration finally being recognized as critical to cloud computing success? Here are a few possible reasons:
- Gartner predicted that “by 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own no IT assets” and the so-called “Big Switch” is on.
- According to IDC survey results, “business applications are expanding to the cloud” and decision making (as well as the actual implementation) is often being driven by the line of business, not IT.
- Social CRM continues to gain momentum, resulting in more fragmented customer data that must be integrated and managed to deliver real business value.
- There is a growing need to integrate front-office SaaS applications with on-premise back-office systems (whether it’s an application migration, synchronization, or replication use case), as front-office applications are moving to the cloud at a much faster pace.
- SaaS application adoption is lower and attrition rates are higher without comprehensive data integration. As one Informatica Cloud customer put it: “Having salesforce.com without integration is like having a house on a beautiful island, with no way to get there.”
Whatever the case may be, there are definitely going to be scattered clouds on the horizon so a dose of Wilford Brimley reminding us to eat our oatmeal (and integrate our data) isn’t such a bad thing. As Dana Gardner put it in the article Cutting Through the Fog to Get to the Cloud:
“The only choice that’s a really bad choice is to do nothing with cloud computing at this point. Having a strategy and moving forward is very important.”
Now just make sure that data integration is part of that strategy…