Cloud Computing: The Next Wave of Data Fragmentation?

I like this quote from a wide-ranging Forbes.com article about information overload and data integration:

“…cloud computing also represents the next wave of data fragmentation. As an example, any customer that uses Salesforce.com will have all the sales-opportunity information managed in the cloud by that site. Now, that same customer, in order for them to answer a very simple question such as, “Did we actually get an order from a customer,” or, “How much did we pay the sales reps,” would have to integrate information from Salesforce.com with all the management information that is typically in some on-premise application, with sales compensation information that is also managed on-premise.”

The good news is that the software as a service (SaaS) model is now more often than not seen as a friend of IT, instead of a foe. While this really depends on the company culture,  the current economic climate and pressures to reduce operational costs and risk are forcing even the most old-school IT organizations to develop new vendor sourcing and management strategies. The SaaS model, with subscription pricing, fast implementations, and lack of reliance on hardware and software on premises, is freeing up IT resources and fundamentally changing the dymanics of all aspects of enterprise software.

For example, the SaaS model has fundamentally changed the process of software evaluations and purchasing. Line of business (LOB) users are now often driving the technology purchase and the implementation process and, in some cases, they are bypassing the IT organizations altogether. So how do you ensure that your SaaS/cloud strategy is a lightening rod for revenue growth, cost savings and business alignment and not just another data silo bandaid that will deliver short term LOB gain, but result in long term IT pain?

The first step: DON’T WAIT TO INTEGRATE.

Develop a comprehensive SaaS integration strategy and choose the right cloud-based data integration solution. This is critial to avoiding further data fragmentation and it’s critical to success in the cloud.  I’ll write more about what to look for in an integration as a service solution in future posts. Also check out, “Data Integration in the Clouds Becomes More Valuable” for a good overview.

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