Enterprises today have an enormous volume of data spread across numerous on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud locations. Cloud data integration is critical for consolidating all that data into a single, unified hybrid cloud environment, enabling enterprises to leverage that data to achieve impactful business outcomes.

While there are several business benefits associated with cloud data integration, there are also some challenges related to governance and security. The right cloud data integration platform gives enterprises the tools to integrate information from more than one data source smoothly and efficiently, ensuring an optimal experience at both the enterprise and customer levels.

What is cloud data integration, and why is it important?

Cloud data integration is the combination and consolidation of both on-premise and cloud-based data into single, coherent data stores. Cloud data integration enables enterprises to easily and efficiently access their data, allowing them to leverage it for maximum business benefit.

The importance of cloud data integration

This is critical for enterprises operating in the current digital economy. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the increasing digitalization of the market over the previous few years. Customer expectations are now higher than ever, meaning businesses have to further differentiate their product and service offerings to keep up with the pace of change.

Cloud integration allows enterprises the flexibility to quickly adjust to changing markets and develop new products and offerings to meet customer demand by optimizing workflows, creating efficiencies, and minimizing costs. This helps drastically reduce their time-to-market, allowing them to provide products and services specific to their customers’ real-time needs.

Business benefits of cloud data integration

Customers expect a comprehensive suite of products and services that meet their ever-changing challenges. The main benefit of cloud data integration is that it gives enterprises the ability to efficiently deliver those services and achieve meaningful business outcomes, giving them a significant competitive advantage.

Here are some of the more specific ways cloud data integration can benefit businesses:

 

Greater efficiency

Cloud integration ensures all enterprise data is easily accessible for all technical and business users. This eliminates costly redundancies and drastically reduces the time spent searching siloed locations for necessary data.

 
 

Support scalability

Without a proper system of governance in place, data collection can create data silos that hurt an enterprise’s interoperability, making scaling extremely difficult. Cloud data integration ensures that increasingly more extensive and complicated data stores remain easily accessible even as the business grows.

 
 
 
 

Better customer service

Customer service is a top priority for businesses operating in the post-pandemic digital economy. Cloud integration consolidates customer data from several disparate locations across the organization, creating a single source of truth that provides customers with a seamless, consistent experience.

 
 

More flexibility

Data integration makes enterprises more flexible in the face of rapid change. As new customer problems arise, businesses need to be able to respond quickly and effectively to stay ahead of the competition. Cloud integration enables enterprises to not just improve their operational efficiency, but also rapidly develop and introduce new products and services.

 

Better data usability

It’s critical for data integration to include a data usability strategy to ensure enterprises are able to derive actionable insights from their data and adequately monetize it to achieve tangible business outcomes.

Main challenges associated with cloud data integration

Governance

One of the biggest challenges with cloud data integration is the ability to manage data at scale. Enterprises need to have a robust infrastructure consisting of appropriate governance protocols and procedures to handle different types of data. Without a governance system, enterprises can suffer data inconsistencies, data loss, and even security breaches. These can combine to harm the customer experience and ultimately damage the long-term success of the business.

Security

Cloud integration also comes with a number of unique security challenges. Cloud facilities and technologies tend to be more secure than their on-premise counterparts. Still, the ability of users to access data stored in the cloud from any device means there are more potential attack vectors for malicious actors to exploit.

Cloud data integration requires enterprise leaders to assess their security capabilities to ensure that as they consolidate data and scale upward, they’re not creating new vulnerabilities. Enterprises should invest in the latest cloud security software to safeguard all attack vectors are immediately identified and patched before they lead to breaches.

Legacy integrations

While some organizations opt to migrate their entire data infrastructure into the cloud, most choose to retain elements of their on-premise architecture and operate a hybrid environment consisting of both cloud and on-premise components. It can be extremely challenging for those organizations to integrate hardware and software assets spanning their entire hybrid environment and ensure interoperability and optimal functionality.

Costs

Proper planning is one of the most critical initial steps to accomplishing cloud migration successfully. However, some organizations fail to account for all the possible pitfalls, considerations, and scenarios before migrating to the cloud and integrating their various components. This can cause the costs associated with cloud migration and integration to drastically increase, putting financial strain on the enterprise and limiting the intended benefits of consolidating their cloud-based and on-premise data.

What to look for in cloud data integration software

There are numerous different solutions on the market, so choosing the right cloud data integration tool can be difficult. The right platform should contain (at least) the four following capabilities:

Automation:
A cloud data integration tool should automate manual data pipeline processes and operations, saving enterprises time and money while also reducing costly mistakes. This is usually fulfilled through visual tooling for data flow mapping, out of the box connectors to commonly used SaaS and on-premise applications, and the ability to interoperate with your proprietary applications through connector developer kits.

Compliance:
There are numerous data compliance regulatory frameworks enterprises need to adhere to, including GDPR, PCI DSS, and HIPAA. The right cloud integration platform facilitates workflows that ensure all data is compliant.

Migration:
Part of the cloud data integration strategy should involve migrating enterprise data from on-premise legacy systems to private and public cloud infrastructure. A cloud data integration solution should facilitate this data transformation process.

API connections:
A robust network of application programming interfaces (APIs) facilitates cloud data integration. A great cloud integration solution makes it easy to manage the entire API ecosystem. It also enables users to quickly build, develop and deploy new APIs to optimize existing processes.

Cloud data integration is an essential part of creating an effective hybrid cloud environment that delivers meaningful and valuable products and services to customers. The process of integration brings enterprises a number of benefits, but it can also be challenging for those who don’t have the right tools and processes in place. That’s why enterprises need to partner with a trusted expert.

Torry Harris Integration Solutions is one of the world’s leading advisors to enterprise organizations, helping solve some of the most pressing challenges for large enterprises. Our team of experts has the skills and expertise needed to help enterprises undergo their own data integration and realize their wider platform goals.

Reach out to our team today to get started!

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