The use of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and other cloud services in companies has increased massively in recent years. In addition to the many benefits, however, this trend has also unwittingly encouraged new silos to form in companies and has led to lower transparency. Proper cloud integration can remedy this situation.
Cloud services is a rapidly growing area
For the majority of companies today, obtaining software from the cloud has become second nature. Software as a service (SaaS) has become particularly popular. It’s quick and easy to subscribe, and can be used immediately. There’s such a wide variety of products on offer that companies can easily find something with the features and functions to meet their specific needs. It’s no wonder that this is a rapidly growing sector, with new products being added daily.
On the other hand, it’s not all good news. The developments described above have led to new silos emerging in companies. Easy access to cloud services tempts departments to quickly subscribe to a cloud service as the answer to any challenge in their day-to-day work. This is often done without sufficiently consulting or coordinating with other departments or the in-house IT. The result is that several SaaS applications with largely the same functions are subscribed to and used within the same company. In addition to the direct operating costs, this also increases the workload in training and in-house support for employees.
Why you need cloud integration
From a company’s point of view, the greatest challenge is being aware of the cloud solutions being used in their organisation. Proper cloud integration can significantly help companies here. Basically, cloud integration means that several cloud applications or systems are connected to form a whole.
There are two basic types of integration. Multi-cloud integration is when cloud solutions from several providers are connected with each other. Hybrid integration, on the other hand, focuses on merging cloud applications with on-premises or legacy applications.
The advantages of cloud integration
Good, professional cloud integration has several advantages:
- First, cloud integration improves the efficiency of a business. If cloud integration is aligned to a company‘s enterprise architecture, this often results in lower costs as it prevents services being bought multiple times.
- Second, cloud integration increases scalability and allows a company’s technical resources to be employed more flexibly.
- Third, proper cloud integration helps companies to accelerate development and innovation in their company, including a faster time to market for their new products.
- Fourth, cloud integration improves internal communication. High-quality, comprehensive data can be accessed more quickly when making decisions.
- Fifth, good cloud integration helps you offer your customers better service, which ultimately leads to higher customer retention.
- Sixth, a well-planned and implemented cloud integration strategy not only gives you a competitive advantage now, but is actually increasingly a basic requirement for remaining competitive and surviving in the long term. The majority of companies using cloud and SaaS have now recognized the importance of cloud and SaaS integration and are driving implementation projects.
Possible approaches to cloud integration:
Basically, companies have four options for cloud or SaaS integration:
- Point-to-point integration between two different applications.
- Integrating applications via pre-built connectors provided by the SaaS provider.
- Integrating two or more applications using a traditional on-premises approach, such as an ESB (Enterprise Service Bus).
- Integrating with an iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service), which has emerged as a response to the challenges of the modern cloud world.
Both the first and second options are suitable as quick, provisional solutions for short-term cloud or SaaS integration. In the long term, however, both these integration options can encourage new silos to form, reduce IT efficiency, and cause extra work – especially if the number of SaaS and other cloud solutions in the company increase in the future and come from different providers.
The third option concerns companies for which on-premises-based software integration has always played an important role and which therefore already use a formalized integration approach such as an ESB. Even though this type of approach can be used to implement simple cloud integration scenarios, the technology was developed in the pre-cloud era and designed for on-premises integration. In other words, as soon as cloud integration and SaaS integration in particular becomes a bit more elaborate and complicated, an on-premises integration approach quickly hits its limit.
iPaaS: The sustainable integration solution for the cloud age
If cloud integration plays an important role in your company, you need to focus on the fourth integration option, iPaaS. This is a modern form of cloud integration that is extremely scalable and gives you all the advantages described above. An iPaaS is a future-proof solution for both cloud integration and SaaS integration that can support your corporate strategy in the long term.
A good iPaaS provider supports you with value-added services
Some iPaaS providers can provide you with expert personnel as well as extensive information material, if required. This gives iPaaS an important advantage over other integration approaches, particularly if the demand for integration services and the specialist skills these require fluctuate or arise spontaneously. iPaaS is suitable as a long-term solution.
Some iPaaS providers go one step further and specialize in integrating on-premises and legacy systems. This allows many legacy systems that would otherwise have to be decommissioned or replaced at great expense to be connected to cloud applications and operated profitably for years to come.
In addition, iPaaS enables adjunct solutions to be included comparatively easily in your cloud and SaaS integration strategy. For example, APIs play a key role in data transfer within cloud environments. APIs should therefore be managed throughout their entire lifecycle. It therefore makes sense to operate an API management solution in conjunction with an iPaaS solution.
Cloud integration: SEEBURGER‘s iPaaS solution does it all
SEEBURGER offers a modern iPaaS solution that meets all the cloud integration requirements discussed above. What’s more, the Business Integration Suite (BIS), the technical platform on which SEEBURGER’s iPaaS offering is based, includes a complete API management solution as well as a comprehensive toolset for integrating legacy systems. The advantage of such an integration suite is that you get everything from a single source and, even as an iPaaS user, only have to learn how to use the integration tools once.
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Written by: Holger FiederlingHolger Fiederling has been working for SEEBURGER AG since 2008 and initially worked as a product manager for SEEBURGER B2B-Solutions. Since 2014, he has been responsible for pre-sales and business development for the SEEBURGER Cloud. His focus is on the creation of new, innovative solutions and services, which are oriented towards the requirements of the customers, always with the aim of maximizing the latest opportunities for the customers. In doing so, he attaches great importance to taking into account the experience gained from all of his international customer projects. After starting his career in the automotive industry, Holger Fiederling worked for two large management consultancies in the SAP environment and in the area of hosting and outsourcing of IT processes. To compensate for this, he spends a lot of time on his mountain bike or skiing in winter.