DUBAI – Bridging the divide between cloud and on-premises applications has become an emerging trend in many regions across the world, including the Middle East.
But while cloud computing may add a new dimension to innovation, especially as information travels beyond the firewall, reconciling this technology with existing on-premises software has posed new challenges for organisations, said Kannan Srinivasan, Pre-Sales Manager at Sage CRM (Sage Middle East).
“A hybrid environment, where cloud and on-premises applications co-exist, offers a compelling value proposition for organisations seeking to operate seamlessly across various platforms. Integrating data from disparate sources, however, remains a major concern facing CIOs [chief information officers] today,” he said.
Srinivasan also mentioned that another challenge for most IT departments may not only be integration, but the rules governing business process management, such as enterprise policies on linking into the cloud stack.
By 2018, more than 22 per cent of IT infrastructure spend in the region will be related to cloud environments comprising on-premises private clouds, hosted private clouds and hosted public clouds, the market intelligence firm noted.
“Cloud, undoubtedly can open up new opportunities, but without a proper integration strategy, organisations may have to manually reconcile various platforms. This is not only time-consuming, but also error-prone,” Srinivasan said.
He added that there are several ways cloud applications can be unified with existing on-premises applications. These are:
- Through a middleware repository approach, wherein information can be integrated from both data sources and updated in real time to become a federated repository;
- Through a third-party integration tool kits approach, where data can be manipulated and updated; and
- By utilizing both the above-mentioned frameworks.
“Most importantly, CIOs have to recognise the fact that integration is not a one-off task or a single application approach. It is an ongoing engagement that involves a company-wide strategy to incorporate reconciliation rules across different data sources. This covers existing and future applications within the organisation’s application portfolio,” he explained.
As a result, a traditional way of delivering integration would not be effective and enterprises may need to consider third-party integration tools that do not just conduct extract, transform and load (ETL) systems, but are also cloud-application ready.
“Now, more than ever, it has become increasingly difficult for CIOs to focus on just one platform and overlook another. Integrating the two technology-based applications (cloud and on-premises) is the way to go for companies looking for a long-term approach to their IT needs,” Srinivasan concluded.