Organisations of all sizes are coming to grips with how to move from a monolithic, legacy ERP single system-of-record to best-of-breed SaaS applications, and as they do two common themes emerge.
First, SaaS applications are often purchased without the knowledge of IT. Second, the journey to a cloud-centered environment is virtually impossible with the integration tools of the past, such as enterprise service bus systems and other on-premise middleware.
To move to the cloud, organisations must use equally modern, cloud-based tools to integrate new SaaS applications into their increasingly dynamic hybrid IT environments.
A TechTarget report published in 2015 notes that Gartner analyst Eric Knipp dubbed application integration the primary barrier to cloud deployment success. Likewise, 451 Research ranks it ahead of every pain point but security.
The benefits of cracking the cloud integration code can be remarkable. Consider Adobe Systems as a case in point. Since remaking itself as a cloud company, Adobe’s stock price has more than tripled, overall revenue growth has moved from single to double digits, and recurring revenue (a.k.a. subscriptions) is 70 per cent of total revenue, generated by four million subscribers and growing.
As IT researcher Apps Run the World points out, cloud integration issues are painful, but organisations need to “get over it” and solve them.
Go native for cloud success
There are many choices when it comes to choosing an integration technology for your business. Legacy integration software—not unlike the on-premise ERP you’re trying to get rid of—brings with it all the usual on-premise demands: perpetual license hassles, difficult upgrade paths, and slow or often reverse ROI.
Most integration offerings in the market still rely on this approach in some way no matter how they might be window dressed under the guise of cloud. Beware of cloud washing!
Pioneered in the last decade, cloud-native software is designed from the ground up to take full advantage of the cloud and its many benefits that help modern companies become more agile. And critically, true cloud services are based on a subscription model that requires the vendor to guarantee the dependability of the software and ensure any upgrades or maintenance, relieving IT and the business of this massive burden.
In the past, you may have preferred “high-control” middleware systems and custom code to integrate your ERP, initially assuming once completed, your work was done. Of course, this is never the case with software, and, more dramatically, this high-control approach is a recipe for disaster in the era of SaaS applications and hyper-speed competition.
Today your integration tool of choice needs to be flexible and highly productive and that certainly informed the thinking behind Dell Boomi’s integration platform as a service (iPaaS) thinking.
As business leaders put increasing pressure on IT departments to move far faster, a low-code, streamlined native-cloud development and management environment is absolutely essential for survival in today’s marketplace.
The True Cost of Integration
Far beyond the initial purchase of an annual license, the actual cost of integration runs deeper. The accurate evaluation of total cost of ownership is all about speed. That means considering the time and skill requirements to deliver successful integration while minimising opportunity costs.
Many organisations that rely on legacy integration tools or that have recently purchased “facelifted” cloud washed tools continually miss delivery deadlines. They underestimate or simply accept as unavoidable the time and technical skill required to use software toolsets based on outdated approaches.
But the speed difference between a native-cloud iPaaS and traditional, on-premise middleware is dramatic. And integration projects that take months or even years with old approaches can now be done in weeks or days with a modern, native-cloud iPaaS.
But in all things technology, the most straight-forward yet difficult challenge for businesses is changing the way your employees work. Removing individual agendas and silos of operation to focus and harness everyone’s attention for the common good—that is what opens up the full potential of new technologies like iPaaS and drives meaningful and lasting change, in turn spurring innovation.
Revolutionary technology like iPaaS has the potential to transform your organisation. But such an effort requires strong leadership and a culture that hires people who embrace change. However, with a native-cloud tool like iPaaS, it is now possible to democratise integration and lower the walls separating IT from the business.
About the author
Nathan Gower is a Dell Boomi account executive in southern Australia. Dell Boomi is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.