I recently sat down with a couple of Informatica Cloud customers to learn more about their general experiences with data integration delivered as an on-demand service. I was particularly interested in these two implementations, as both projects were led and ultimately managed directly by the line of business. Tony Young recently pointed out that, “the cloud is real” and most CIOs clearly have their heads in the clouds. Some of the points made by these software-as-a-service enthusiasts’ help to explain why the cloud is even more appealing outside of IT and why more and more organizations are adopting “two tier cloud integration strategies in 2011.”
This quote summarizes the difficult dynamics that often exist between divisions, departments, lines of business and the IT organization when it comes to cloud computing:
“IT is coming to the cloud, but there’s a perception that it’s disrupting their world. They’ll say either we can do it in-house with open source or build it ourselves.”
Not to get all venus vs. mars on you, but does this sound familiar?
And these points speak to the rapid pace of change in cloud applications and platforms and the requirement for cloud integration to be equally agile:
“Traditionally, if you needed IT help, you open a ticket, ask IT, and IT would do it. With Informatica Cloud, it enabled business users like me to enable the integration ourselves without the help of IT. That’s huge because IT has a backlog of projects and we get shuffled to the back and wait weeks. But, on our own with Informatica, the first integration took one day.”“In the past, we changed our processes to match the system. Now, we change our system to match our processes and the technology is able to adapt. Informatica brought this ability for the business to have more say.”
So how do business groups justify their cloud investments? Here’s a good example:
“We literally offset an FTE that would have been marshaling this data around. The reps can see what they’re allowed to see. FTE is 5-10x what we’re paying Informatica. The numbers are easy. There’s a huge difference and impact to our budget. FTE can only give us 40 hours per week. Informatica runs night and day and with this 2nd and 3rd integration, we’re just getting more and more value out of it.”
But it’s not all bad news in terms of the IT / Business relationship and the cloud. In both of these accounts, the relationship has been strengthened as controlled self-service has been introduced. In both situations, IT played a strong role in the selection process. In one case, the Informatica PowerCenter team introduced Informatica Cloud to sales operations, who were primarily focused on salesforce.com integration:
“IT brought the opportunity to obtain the cloud product to us. They said they’d buy it for us if we wanted it. They were going to get it with a budget rounding error, but it didn’t work out. So, we picked up a portion, got Informatica Cloud, and now we own this relationship directly.”
In the other, the line of business group is now working closely with the IT organization to move from point-to-point cloud application integration towards a broader master data management (MDM) solution.