Cloud Integration Predictions in Review

As is the custom, before I dive into my predictions for next year, I thought I’d look back and see how I did with my 2010 cloud integration predictions. Last year I predicted that:

1)  There will be an increased need for best-of-breed cloud data integration solutions. I also predicted that we’d see an emergence of online marketplaces that allow you to purchase prepackaged integration services.

Results: In Loraine Lawson’s recent Data Integration predictions post, she noted, “this year, integration seems to have shifted from a liability to an asset for the cloud.” Another publication referred to cloud integration as, “the capability that will drive mainstream Cloud adoption.” Clearly the importance of data integration to cloud computing success has been recognized. I believe 2010 was the year we crossed the chasm.

Bring on the tornado!
In terms of online marketplaces for prepackaged integration services, earlier this year we introduced the Informatica Marketplace. At Informatica World in October, we unveiled the Cloud Mall.
So far I’m batting a thousand!

2)  Integration as a service will become one of the fastest growing areas of cloud computing.

Results: I haven’t been able to find publicly available growth statistics, but Gartner’s Benoit Lheureux recently noted that, “Gartner’s Cloud services forecast heralds a new age of IT where on-premise and Cloud-based business functionality will thrive and co-exist. And by necessity Cloud services will also heralds a new age of intermediation.” Clearly IBM and Dell saw something they like about the need for cloud integration services – in 2010 IBM acquired CastIron and Dell acquired Boomi.

3)  CIOs will reject point-to-point cloud integration services that won’t scale and grow with their business.

Results:  I didn’t score as well with my last three predictions, but I do believe we’re moving in the right direction. Too many “rogue” data integration tools and approaches are still being adopted under the radar of IT, that are not enterprise-class and that inevitably will needing to be replaced due to performance or scalability issues or lack of proper IT governance and control. This is why we’ve spent so much time and effort outlining the interoperability features of Informatica Cloud and the core Informatica Platform.

4)  IT organizations will look to extend their investment in their current data integration and data quality platforms to get more from all of their cloud-based assets.

Results: Again, I believe we’re only now seeing the beginning of what Ron Papas referred to as “inside-out cloud data integration.” The primary adoption of cloud-based integration services to date has been “outside in” – driven by underserved lines of business who are drawn to the benefits of rapid implementation, self-service, subscription pricing, etc.  In 2011, I believe IT will get more involved as the benefits of the ‘cloud approach’ to data integration is better understood and hybrid implementations become the norm.

5)  The recognition of the importance of data integration to success in the clouds will lead to greater IT and business alignment.

Results: I have to report that there’s still lots of friction on this front. One Informatica Cloud customer said to me recently that, “the business is agile and IT is waterfall.” I won’t tip my hat too much on my 2011 predictions, but let’s just say that I think we’re going to see significant changes on this front next year.
As another Informatica Cloud customer in an IT role noted, “we can either get on this train or get run over by it.” The cloud integration train has definitely left the station… (or as Austin Powers would say, “that train has sailed.”)
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