It is common for businesses of all sectors and sizes to now have multiple applications both across the cloud and offline to manage their applications. Companies tend to use the cloud in a number of areas and these processes have become irreplaceable in daily business tasks. From storing customer data to managing employee databases and inventory, cloud computing provides businesses with scalability and flexibility and often provides businesses with the most cost and time efficient strategy.
Both public and private cloud usage has increased in recent years and it is predicted to continue to grow. The total public cloud market is forecast to rise by over $30 billion in 2018 and will continue to grow at a rate of 18 per cent. However, the use of multiple cloud applications combined with non-cloud based systems together in businesses often has a number of disadvantages and they can often be faced with decreased efficiency and productivity.
It is therefore important that businesses focus on streamlining their solutions in order to remain competitive and seek integration methods in order to overcome the issues that are associated with using multiple cloud applications.
What's the scale of the current problem?
There is no doubt that this was an issue prior to the mass adoption of cloud systems but the sheer number of applications rapidly developed for the cloud has now exasperated the situation of multiple data silos. Making it more important than ever for businesses to address. To further complicate matters even cloud visionaries with a clear cloud strategy are unlikely to move all of their systems in one go thus on-premise systems will need to be integrated in the interim.
Businesses in all sectors are increasingly reliant on cloud applications. One key adopter is retail, the increase in the sales channels that are available means that even leading retailers are no longer reliant solely on their own ecommerce store, and use third parties such as Amazon and eBay to distribute their services. The data from these systems must also be integrated with their own internal business systems. These insights are hugely valuable and must be integrated in order to fuel departments such as sales and marketing which rely greatly on customer analysis in order to remain agile. In not doing so, the data will be left unutilised and rendered useless.
Making a change now
You wouldn’t be wrong to point out that there are a number of successful businesses which are still managing to work effectively with disparate systems. However, this is unsustainable for a number of reasons. The main problem associated with managing numerous applications is the increased workload that this creates. Time and budget-tight IT departments are dealt the burden of manually syncing data. This results in the data being duplicated, which in turn takes up valuable storage space and requires hours of time which could be refocused elsewhere. This also increases the risk of human error, which could be eradicated with streamlined systems.
Cloud applications also tend to have commonality of data when they are required to work together, which can cause the duplication of data from a number of systems and creates a backlog of unnecessary data.
To avoid this issue, businesses could opt for a single-cloud strategy to keep storage to a minimum. However, in doing so businesses would miss out on the range of benefits that multiple cloud applications have to offer. Each application brings its own set of competitive advantages and the specialised service that one provider brings isn’t always available with a separate provider. Organisations should therefore seek a solution in which they can benefit from the features of multiple cloud applications, yet do not have this issues that are associated with this, such as commonality of data taking up vital storage space.
Integrating cloud and non-cloud based systems together
Businesses can make the complicated process of managing the integration of both cloud and on-premise systems together easier by utilising specific systems which are designed to do this. Platforms such as NetSuite, Sage, Xero, QuickBooks, Amazon, Magento, eBay, Salesforce and Freshdesk can all be integrated in minutes. This enables the easy transfer of information such as sales orders, payments, customers and stock levels between platforms including e-commerce sites, CRM and ERP systems.
Such solutions allow multiple systems to communicate together and oversee a faster transfer of data between systems. This keeps data in sync in a secure and efficient manner and eradicates the need for human input, improving efficiency and avoiding error. They also allow for the sharing of thousands of records instantly, or at customisable intervals.
The systems can run fully within global cloud platforms which are very popular within businesses due to their robust, secure and highly scalable nature. Being cloud based the systems can then be accessed from any web browser on desktop, tablet or mobile. Businesses will merely have to select their system output, system input and they are then fully integrated and ready to manage their systems in one place. Precise integrations and real-time performance reports ensure your data is always current providing you with the basis for making accurate informed decisions.
It is also highly important that solutions installed are checked for their security credentials. It is all well and good for a business to have all of its data accessible and integration in disparate systems, but if it is unsecure, the risks of a data breach are now magnified. Therefore it is important to check for military-grade encryption to ensure data security in order to reduce the risk of a breach in the future.
It is more important than ever for businesses to ensure that they remove barriers with integration. Helping to keep ahead of their competitors and optimising their productivity and efficiency. By taking away the need for human input, system integration ensures that businesses improve efficiency and avoid error and can cut staff costs and free up time for employees to focus on other areas of the business. Data is the key to success and businesses need to harness their data, so they can grow and innovate.
David Lindores is Technical Director at Eureka Solutions
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