8 years ago

Cloud Integration Made Easy

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For years, the concept of personalized computers has been the trend. These computers allowed us to do everything on our own. We did not need anybody or anything to help us process and store data. In the early part of the 80s, the norm – especially for businesses – was to hire data processors from other companies. Today, with the continuous rise of the Internet and its powers, the new trend is “cloud computing”.

Many of today’s businesses use cloud computing for a seamless process. They like the idea that instead of organizing data and programs on a computer’s hard drive, everything is stored and accessed over the Internet. There’s no physical address – hence it’s called as the “cloud”. And you can access it anytime, anywhere.

With cloud computing, it is usual to find complications that can obstruct or impede business processes. This is why a lot of companies are now focusing on cloud integration. With a cloud-based integration platform, companies will have the assurance that every new technology that comes out is introduced and linked to the organization. In other words, updated information from different sources is easier to access. Best of all, there is no human intervention needed in getting the data.

Some companies prefer cloud integration implemented via SaaS or Software-as-a-Service, where applications are hosted by a service provider. There are some, though, that prefer to use licensed enterprise software and implement it in a “controlled physical location”. Lately, however, companies have been making the shift to a combination of the two. And this has presented some challenges, especially in terms of simplifying the enterprise integration process.

Cloud Integration Simplified

Configuring multiple application programs so data can be shared in the cloud does not have to be complicated. But, for some, it is. This is why it is important to follow a standardized approach when integrating data, no matter how or where they are managed.

One of the first essentials of cloud integration is connectivity. Linking to different types of data and application should not require a lot of complicated processes and maintenance. There will be times when you will need to connect one application to several endpoints.

Another important factor to consider are the business processes that can control how data is managed. A good understanding of how the systems containing the data will affect the business processes involved is needed.

It is likewise essential to know and understand what hardware platforms and storage environments you will work with. This will help make the monitoring and management of workloads easier. Good planning is important in ensuring a successful integration of data.

To make the process of cloud integration even simpler, Oracle has come up with five steps you need to follow.

  1. Starting integrations from scratch is not easy. You’ll need to consider things like integration architecture design, debugging, testing and redesigning, among others. Aside from using up a lot of time, this process is also expensive. Imagine yourself recreating the same integration every time your company offers a new product. For example, the customer service software contains valuable information about customers. Let’s say one of these customers has been talking to the support team regularly. The issues related by the customer have been logged into the customer service software, but not into the other software, and it has not been solved. Weeks later, a sales representative pays a visit to the customer to present a special offer, only to be turned away because of product dissatisfaction. If the sales team was immediately updated about the customer complaints, this would not have happened. Thus, pre-built integration is essential so that inter-department issues and other related items are duly updated throughout the entire network.
  2. When considering different products or services, one of the first things you should do is talk to people who have tried them and get their feedback. Additionally, if you go online and search for items you’d like to buy from a certain retail site; you try to get recommendations from other consumers first. Sometimes, you even do some research and ask for quotations. Good recommendations are important in coming up with the final choice. A similar picture happens in cloud integration. The process is different, though: the level of recommendation is based on the number of users with successful matched and activated data pair between two applications. The more users with successful pairings, the higher the recommendation.
  3. Configuring your integration platform before you integrate applications is not easy. It can take up a lot of time and is often subject to errors. You will need to consider factors like security protocols and security credentials, among others. Setting up integration platforms for your applications will be simpler with the help of auto association of Oracle SaaS applications. This association of applications will pre-populate the application connector select box, pre-configure the Oracle Integration Cloud Service, bypass application credentials between users/administrators and make the integration process faster.
  4. Simplifying the integration process means offering a good and instinctual user experience. The key is to focus on application knowledge and veer away from issues that make the process complicated or technical. For example, instead of using the term “deployment”, the word “activating” or “activated” can be used. The steps should also be simple: Start Here – Connect – Integrate – Dashboard, for instance. Think of a process that users will find easy to understand, so much so that they can perform it using their “instinct”.
  5. Finally, it is important to consider the process involved in the transition from public to private (and vice versa). First thing to focus on are integration components like lookup tables, application connectors and transformation mapper, among many others. The tools used by the cloud-based integration platform should not be different ones to avoid a complex process. Moreover, it will help if the architecture utilized for on-premise and cloud-based integration is a common one. Lastly, common industry standards will make integration portability a reality. In other words, it is essential to avoid using two platforms that have different architectures, products and standards.

In Conclusion

Integration platforms are filled with many features, so an easier integration process is essential, not only to ensure better user experience, but also to keep up with the rapid increase in the demand of such platforms. In addition, businesses that have not yet fully leveraged into the cloud system will not have a difficult time transitioning.

Photo courtesy of Perspecsys Photos.

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