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Cloud Integration: Why Is It Imperative For Your Business Today?

30 Jan 2023

Cloud technologies are rapidly becoming one of the significant investment avenues for organizations, regardless of their size and industry. Today, companies are looking for a mix of enterprise & cloud-based apps that best facilitate business-oriented outcomes. And, for that, they have embraced cloud-based integration at some stage. The reason being without proper tools to manage data in the cloud, this information can become siloed, overlooked, or lost altogether. It is because more & more business operations are happening in the cloud – either hybrid or fully cloud-to-cloud – environment.

With specialized platforms and as-a-service capabilities, companies can design and deliver solutions faster while resolving complex operational challenges.

This article will explore the key features (and benefits) of cloud application integration, available platforms, use cases & more to enable you to create your integration strategy.

What is Cloud Integration: Why & How?

It is the process of bringing data from different sources into a unified platform. It breaks down software silos to allow easy access & management of business apps and data from disparate systems in real-time.

In the modern business ecosystem, the more applications a business uses daily, its IT environment becomes more complicated. Therefore, it is often worth deploying cloud integration platforms before application volumes increase exponentially. Cloud integration platforms accelerate connectivity, enhance visibility & ultimately optimize key business processes – in one place! The demand for cloud system integration emerged from this need to combine and maintain disparate data sets and cloud resources while unifying different cloud environments with on-premises data.

And, while integration can be managed in-house by deploying infrastructure and services that support cloud connections – this approach could prove to be time-consuming and costly, even for larger enterprises. Cloud integration platforms help streamline this connective process & further reduce the amount of lead time required for deployment. Cloud integration puts businesses in a much better position to manage and optimize their processes, operations, and customers. Depending on the needed volume and data transfer speed, IT teams can leverage the following types and methods of cloud integration.

Types of Cloud Integration

Cloud-based integration would include cloud-to-cloud integration, cloud-to-on-premises integration, or a combination of both. Further, cloud integration solutions address different business components, including data and applications. And IT teams can leverage the listed below types of cloud integrations, depending on the data transfer volume and speed;

  • Cloud Data Integration: Enables seamless data flow between different repositories. It involves processing, transferring, and transforming information in batches, or in real time during integration. Businesses typically leverage data integration to transfer raw, unstructured cloud data for specific use cases. However, IT teams can also centralize cloud data with mainframe system data or legacy servers.
    Examples include business analytics, master data management, artificial intelligence training, and ELT (extracting, loading, and transforming) raw data into a data lake or warehouse. Data integration tools are designed to perform activities such as data cleansing, data quality checking, masking, and batch processing.
  • Cloud Application Integration: Unites numerous applications and ensures continued interoperability and functionality. It involves applications sharing requests, commands, and other mechanisms to trigger business activities. This process facilitates data exchange using real-time dataset integrations between the systems involved.
    Common examples include integrating critical business apps such as inventory management, sales reporting, customer relationship management, and financial applications. It helps businesses optimize their workflows, build insight-driven data models, predict future demand with machine learning models and modernize their infrastructure.

Benefits of Cloud Integration

Advantages of cloud application integration

Cloud integration with different enterprise applications offers multiple advantages over time-consuming traditional information and data exchange infrastructure methods. It removes data access barriers by facilitating deeper analytics and increased collaboration. And cloud integration software helps you counter data silos by synchronizing the data and applications. Organizations adopt cloud system integration to improve functional connectivity and gain comprehensive data access. The market for cloud integration platforms is expanding rapidly, and so it’s no surprise that industry leaders are leveraging its benefits in the following ways:

  • Analytics & Reporting: Companies can avoid redundancy even with a shared data store to reduce storage costs and synchronization efforts. You would agree that the advent of business intelligence enables organizations to utilize data gathered from mining and discovery to improve overall performance. Did you know cloud integration provides a path for robust data analytics platforms, CRM systems, and other applications hosted by third-party providers? It enables the linkage of data stored on local servers with remote sources.
  • Reduced Cost: A cloud integration platform is easy to implement, manage and deploy integrations. It is far more affordable than outsourcing an IT specialist to set up a solution from scratch or hiring dedicated resources to manage it in-house. Conventional integration solutions necessitate the creation of custom connections to third-party apps, which can be costly and complicated.
  • Data Management: By leveraging iPaaS (Integration Platform as s Service), a business can host its integration technology in the cloud instead of a firewall. It facilitates swift B2B data exchange and management in real time. Accessing the correct data at the right time is vital to better decision-making.
  • Faster Delivery: B2B ecosystems are expanding exponentially, making it imperative to connect with new customers and partners immediately. Modern businesses are moving faster by shifting their key workflows and integration flows to the cloud. The integration enables applications to exchange real-time data, make crucial decisions quickly, and deliver services instantly.
  • Secure Data Storage: On-premises setups store all the information on physical machines. So, if the machine breaks down, all the data may be lost. Cloud platforms prevent such issues with secure data storage that can be easily accessed on any device at any time.
  • Agility and Scalability: Businesses are better equipped to evolve and adapt to market and consumer demands when using the cloud. The extensibility, interoperability, and cost-efficiency offered by cloud integration platforms make scaling IT infrastructures much easier, faster, and more flexible than upgrading on-premises physical hardware. With cloud platforms, everything is digitalized in a fraction of the time – from reducing compute power to expanding server space. Businesses can remain agile when provisioning IT resources for enterprises and leverage deploying flexibility for modern apps while connecting business services.
  • Operational Efficiency: Since business processes are integrated with cloud platforms, users can shift their focus from searching for information to analyzing it in real time. The cloud is unlikely to experience downtime so that IT teams can be more productive, and businesses can save on maintenance. Lastly, users can easily automate manual data entry, reporting, and information restructuring processes with intelligent operational workflows to avoid human errors.

With the cloud, organizations benefit from a holistic view of all the essential, most complex business scenarios within their business environment. The insights help create and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

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Cloud Integration Challenges

Organizations need to choose the right integration platform to enjoy the advantages of cloud integration. However, that does not eliminate an organization’s possible challenges with integration priorities. At Rishabh, we’ve assisted several enterprises with their vital decision to move to the cloud. Below are some crucial challenges we can help you address during your journey.

  • Data Security: The enterprise data gets stored and processed by a third-party vendor making it vulnerable to theft, leakage, and unauthorized access.
  • Compliance: Depending on the industry type, particular laws might regulate how consumer data is shared and stored.
  • Lack of Standardization: Cloud platforms, applications, and resources use different data schemas and formats to communicate with various elements.
  • Data Movement: It can be an error-prone and time-consuming process depending on the volume, variety, and frequency of data transfer.
  • ETL Workflows: Cleaning, treating, processing, and transforming raw, unstructured, and structured data adds complexity and decelerates the integration process.
  • Network Latency: Cloud environments with high latency often limit integration workloads.

Deploying the right tools and having an experienced technology partner, like Rishabh Software, is vital to implement a seamless cloud integration process. More and more businesses starting with cloud integration are opting for iPaaS solutions. It helps them integrate cloud-based applications & systems with domain-specific capabilities around ecosystem enablement, IoT, and mobility. But before we delve deeper into how iPaaS helps businesses with cloud integration, let’s first understand what a cloud integration platform is.

What is iPaas, and How it Helps with Cloud Integration

Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) refers to a suite of cloud services. It enables the development, execution, and governance of integration flow. It connects any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications & data within individuals or across multiple organizations.

Choosing the right iPaaS solution helps companies streamline and centralize app integration management. Additionally, you can regulate integration flows, scalability, product functionality, and performance. And the products  typically qualify as preferred iPaaS software include the following capabilities:

  • Ease the development, deployment & management of cloud integrations
  • Facilitate the integration flow development for governance
  • Enables seamless connection between cloud-to-cloud solutions
  • Unifies all cloud solutions on a centralized platform

Cloud Integration Platform Elements

Choosing a cloud integration platform for your business needs becomes easier when you know the essential elements. Listed below are the key components & capabilities of a comprehensive cloud integration platform to help you make an informed choice:

  • Built-in Connector: Leverages API integration features for efficient management of complex environments
  • Automation: Seamless integration of online services improves productivity and client experience
  • Virtual Infrastructure: Streamlines integration operations without needing custom coding.
  • Speed: Enables quick and easy connectivity for integrating apps, data, and systems
  • Security: Safeguards confidential and sensitive data from unauthorized users

Cloud Integration Platforms & Their Key Capabilities

The said platforms help integrate cloud-based applications & systems with domain-specific capabilities around ecosystem enablement, IoT, and mobility.

Let’s have a look at top integration platforms,

  • Zapier: Provides code-free application integration to expanding companies. With the ability to connect to and share data with 1,000+ web apps, it can automate almost any business workflow.
  • MuleSoft Anypoint: Empowers management of all the application programming interfaces (APIs) and integrations over a centralized platform. It provides various tools for developing, managing, and testing APIs. Leveraging edge gateways and encryption ensures data protection and administers access rights.
  • Dell Boomi: Allows fusing the apps, data, and processes into one. It helps manage data quality governance, application integration, and B2B network and build workflows with minimal coding.
  • IBM App Connect: An all-in-one integration tool that enables the admin to create workflows that decide how data is transferred from one application to another.
  • Microsoft Azure Logic Apps: Enables administrators to automate workflows that integrate apps and business data across on-premises systems and cloud services.
  • Workato: Enables enterprises to automate business workflows, integrate their apps, and extract real-time insights. Its compelling visual interface logic automation presentation is easy to follow.

Businesses can also leverage the embedded technologies of these platforms to natively communicate beyond business boundaries and enable seamless integration & movement of data between services and customer systems. These B2B tools and features create a secure data gateway into a SaaS architecture to allow smooth, faster & reliable information exchanges. The right cloud platform enables IT teams to make changes on the fly and allows complete configuration across the entire ecosystem.

Cloud Integration Use Cases

Cloud integration use cases

Cloud integration is perfect for sharing analytics tools and data between users from different locations. It can reduce data redundancy, automate workflows, and orchestrate APIs and services. Companies can also use IoT connectivity and AI models to connect their assets and offerings with partners and customers quickly. While the application of cloud integration remains the same across business verticals, the prominent use cases vary.

  • Financial Services: The sector helps centralize their savings, checking, mortgage, credit and debit card, and CRM data. It would enable employees to better understand the client’s financial needs, improve the service experience & optimize the offerings to cross-sell or upsell.
  • Logistics & SCM: Freight management, equipment utilization & tracking the frequency of transits are all essential tasks. Transportation businesses must collate and synchronize data from different sources to optimize resource use or scale down as and when needed. Cloud integration enables an accurate analysis of key performance metrics, delivering dependable results with minimum scope for glitches.
  • Retail Sector: Brick-and-mortar stores are now pivoting to online channels with new apps for order management, shipping, inventory tracking & payment processing. These apps must ingest, integrate, and exchange data for seamless online shopping. Cloud integration services enable retailers to digitize their business, connect these apps and transfer data in real-time.
  • Public Sector: State and federal governments can leverage cloud integration solutions to offer online services. Departments of motor vehicles and police departments can benefit from cloud application integration while allowing online vehicle registration renewals, permit home remodels, federal taxing, and voter registrations.
  • Healthcare: Data silos can adversely affect the quality of patient care. Cloud integration allows interoperability, strengthens provider communication, and enables patient-first maintenance. It also allows patients to easily access their health records with apps that aim to improve treatment adherence and patient outcomes.
  • Manufacturing: It unifies data from engineering systems, assemblies, inventories, supply chains, and shipping. And this data integration would help companies efficiently manage production quantity and quality.

How Rishabh Can Help You Make the Most of Cloud Integration

Cloud-based integration encompasses; 1) cloud-to-cloud integration, 2) cloud-to-on-premises integration, and 3) a combination of both types of integrations of both applications and services. And for businesses, iPaaS enables the utilization of both integration solutions through a responsive, scalable, and reusable cloud integration platform.

As an experienced cloud-based application development company, our cloud integration services cover creating holistic strategies, migrating your applications and workloads to virtualized environments, or refactoring them for more efficient utilization. Whether you need fast integration with AWS or Azure or want to create cloud applications from scratch – we’re here to help.

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