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Agatha Christie and the challenge of cloud integration

Many classic detective novels progress in a familiar way: the hero, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple for instance, has an incomplete understanding of how the crime played out and must painstakingly collect information from witnesses - filtering out lies from truth - until the big picture falls into place.

In Agatha Christie’s best-selling novels, such as Murder on the Orient Express, this often leads to bringing all the characters together in the same room for the “reveal”. In this setting, an integrated story is told that ties everything together, the truth becomes obvious to all, and the police can take action.

Most businesses today are in the same predicament as those famous detectives. The data needed to compose a “complete view of the truth” is spread across numerous repositories and tools. Not only is data disconnected but also often contradictory. Customer data may be in a CRM solution, needing to be mapped to a Marketing Automation Platform.

As well as lead lists coming in from events, user data may also reside in Customer Support tools and forums or on social media platforms.

Trying to bring together these disconnected data silos isn’t new for IT executives, but the situation is made more challenging today by the growing use of Cloud and SaaS solutions across the enterprise. Gartner reports that SaaS is now used on mission-critical projects and in production (Survey Analysis: Buyers Reveal Cloud Application Adoption Plans Through 2017 (opens in new tab)).

Talend research shows that half of businesses regularly use 10 or more SaaS solutions. This situation, more problematic than data silos, actually creates “islands of data”, each with its own data policies, access rules and regulations.

Lower overall cost, operational agility and increased speed, this is the promise of the Hybrid Cloud model that orchestrates SaaS and On-Premises with public and private clouds. However, this “new normal” is threatened by the lack of scalable, future-proof integration solutions that seamlessly connect SaaS applications with on-premises solutions.

Executives who want to grow their business by becoming more data driven are in the same situation as our characters from the Agatha Christie novels: How do they bring together all the information needed quickly and resolve inconsistencies in order to gain a single, actionable view?

Connecting the data-driven enterprise with Cloud Integration

Leading companies are looking at iPaaS (integration Platform-as-a-Service) as a way to connect the data-driven enterprise, to connect all their data sources, cloud-to-cloud as well as cloud-to-ground.

They inevitably approach a critical phase where the number of SaaS, controlled and rogue deployments is becoming unwieldy, and need to be brought together before the organisation can fully leverage promising technologies like enterprise analytics or big data.

The benefits of an iPaaS solution to your data-driven enterprise:

  1. Drive Growth by connecting SaaS & On-premises applications and data: Use vendor-provided, community-designed or in-house connectors to bring together all the key applications inside your organisation, connecting both applications rolled out as part of your IT strategy, as well as those resulting from ad-hoc projects: CRM, marketing automation, but also file sharing sites, HR, ERP platforms, etc. Enable big picture analytics, and predictable forecasting, and fuel growth by identifying new opportunities, markets, customers, and products.
  1. Boost Security, Governance and Quality for richer data: Leverage the controlled data integration to enforce proper standards, data formats, and security protocols. Leaps in data quality can also be achieved by eliminating manual errors and identifying inconsistencies, duplications or junk data before it pollutes your repositories.
  1. Streamline Business Processes through Automation: Increase team efficiency by slashing time wasted on manual operations, boosting employee motivation while encouraging the roll-out of continuously improved best practice templates. Automate data cleansing, standardisation, and enrichment while helping data flow faster through the enterprise, making it actionable sooner.
  1. Trigger Breakthrough Innovation by empowering Citizen Integrators: Enable business users to try new ways to simplify their day job with simple, Web-based interfaces to connect data sources in a controlled manner without needing IT expertise. Encourage them think outside the box and innovate.

Hybrid Cloud Integration is the key to improving your organisation’s bottom line by realising the full benefits of Cloud & SaaS. Powerful, yet easy-to-use tools along with prebuilt components and connectors to make it easier to connect, enrich, and share data.

This approach is designed to allow less skilled staff to complete everyday integration tasks so key personal can remain focused on more strategic projects. With capabilities for batch, real-time and big data integration, you can deliver on your vision of a business-oriented and future-proof Hybrid Cloud strategy.

Of course if only Agatha Christie’s heroes had such easy and fast access to consolidated information, knowing exactly what happened and why, most of her novels would only be a few pages long, perhaps even shorter. Maybe there is a new genre ready to explode here? The 140-character #crimenovel!

Dominic Tavassoli is Director of product marketing for Cloud at Talend (opens in new tab).