ERP Trend: Integrate clouds based applications with on premise applications

Clouds are here to say as they offer quite a bounty of benefits over on-premise enterprise applications. Cash is and will remain as one of the scarce resources with the organizations in coming days and that will remain as one of the major contributory factors to encourage these organizations towards clouds based applications. While moving all the existing applications from on premise model to cloud based SaaS model might not make sense for these organizations as the investment has already been made in licenses, hardware and internal team’s development, it makes perfect sense to go for the SaaS model for the new best of breed applications or business intelligence systems. This means that now the CIOs need to take care of two architecture models separately which is not a big issue but the major pain is that these systems are not on talking terms.

The need today is to have seamless integration between the on-premise applications and the cloud based SaaS applications. While there's a noticeable increase in application deployment in the cloud, much of the integration between on-premises and cloud is done in a point-to-point manner. Some of the connections that cloud based providers like NetSuite are now making are cloud solutions (e.g.,, NetSuite or OpenAir products) connecting to on-premise products. That’s a bit more challenging than the old-fashioned integration of two on-premise applications together. Those static ‘interfaces’ were gold to systems integrators. Those ‘interfaces’ consumed a lot of implementation time and, once set and tested, were hoped to last the life of the application. They rarely did as one application or another would get an upgrade that changed the interface needs. So customers and their vendors need to rethink their integration strategies and remove the artificial barriers between internal integration and B2B integration, since the hybrid deployment model will be a reality for the majority of large companies.

One of the best practices is best practice is to harmonize the Information architecture of the SaaS and on-premise applications and make sure the data formats are aligned or translated properly. One might have to deploy an MDM hub. Before that, one should verify that key processes and transactions will still work, end to end, over the distributed Cloud applications. Aggregation Cloud brokers may be used to combine multiple existing services into one, taking the burden of data and process integration from the client. A broker means both a provider and a distribution technology. The broker would also take care of revenue sharing between Cloud Providers if any. For integration between multiple Clouds and on-premise applications, a clean SOA architecture simply eliminates the internal integration fur-ball spreading in the Clouds. For a single application, outsourcing to SaaS without SOA may be still all right.

Let us look at what Open Connect is doing. It is not only connecting these very dynamic cloud based apps to on-premise apps, it is also doing cloud-to-cloud connectivity. Imagine your accounting application running on one firm’s cloud environment, interacting with another cloud’s CRM solution that’s also interacting with another services automation solution on a third cloud environment. Now, to make it more complex, imagine that all three of those cloud applications are changing, simultaneously and continuously. Each system will need the awareness of the other solution’s changes. Interfaces will become fluid and very dynamic. Finally, consider that the user may be unaware that these background changes are even occurring. Now that’s a big jump in integration. That’s a jump the on-premise vendors can’t complete.

The questions is that when many on-premise vendors cannot even create a multi-tenant version of their product line (most can only offer hosting services), how can they deliver the level of cloud-to-cloud integration that the market will demand? This means that the next ERP solution that you are evaluating, you should check for two new features:
  • The solution can do on-premise to on-premise, on-premise to cloud, and, cloud-to-cloud integration
  • The solution can, independent of end-user interaction, dynamically update interfaces and system-to-system integration
Check them out for sure!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Your thoughts are welcome