Cloud Integration Best Practices from Dreamforce

“One of the biggest technical obstacles in the world of cloud computing is integrating cloud applications with each other and with on-premise systems.”

This quote comes from a ChannelWeb article today focused on cloud integration. Based on the number of Dreamforce sessions on this topic, it’s clearly top of mind for both line of business and IT executives seeking to do more in the cloud heading into 2010.

Earlier today I spent a bit of time going through some of the sessions on integration (simply login to Dreamforce.com and go to the Content tab). Here are some of the primary take-aways I gathered when it comes to cloud integration best practices:

Considerations:

  • Effective integration has benefits before, during and after implementation.
  • Successful implementation needs the right software, engagement by all stakeholders and the right processes.
  • Don’t run before you can walk – agile development, bite-sized chunks.
  • Expect incremental changes – you can’t anticipate everything.
  • Use a phase approach when integrating salesforce.com with other applications.
  • Plan adequate testing cycles – “plan before building, test before launching.”
  • Project management is critical.
  • Training is critical.
  • Involving end users early and often is critical.
  • Salesforce.com and their partners are always available to assist.

Approach:

  • Real-time vs. Batch Integration?
  • Hub vs. Point to Point?

Customer Master

  • Integrate with all of your applications, which will allow you to centralize all of your customer data into an one system, which will make it easier for the entire company.
  • One view of customer essential for effective customer management and asset/resource maximization.
  • Choose your system of record.
  • Treat salesforce.com as your golden source of information.

Data Quality

  • Start data cleanse early, especially if quality is poor. Ongoing data ownership is key.
  • Stop errors at the source.
  • Be sure the input data is structured, formatted as needed.
  • Maintain data clean from duplicates by having a process for duplicate records.

Got some more? Which of these best practices are/were most important to you? And when it comes to a cloud integration solution, what’s most important to you?

Quick Poll:

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