The success of enterprise cloud services such as Salesforce, Concur, Taleo, etc. was, and still is, driven by their ability to deliver new business value simply, quickly, and at very low initial cost. That is, compared to existing company systems of record which are complex, slow, and very expensive to upgrade or extend. But every silver cloud has a dark lining, and enterprise cloud services are no exception.
In talking to senior executives, both in IT and the line-of-business, at many enterprises about their adoption of cloud-based services, they mention two key pitfalls to avoid:
Pitfall #1: Data sprawl: Corporate data is now increasingly spread around dozens of external cloud silos, in addition to the data in existing on-premise
systems. This means it can be extremely hard to get a true 360o view of the business. For instance, understanding the profitably of a product line requires not only retrieving order book and invoicing information from the on-premise systems of record, but also analyzing upcoming opportunities in SFDC, determining maintenance and support costs in ServiceNow, calculating the team’s T&E in Concur, etc.
Pitfall #2: Development sprawl: Many vendors offer not only the ability to customize existing functionality, but also to develop new applications and mobile apps that add completely new functionality. Since many vendor’s development tools are proprietary and can only be used to develop and deploy applications in the vendor’s own cloud, enterprises are faced with using multiple development tools for multiple cloud services, not to mention the raft of proprietary development tools provided by existing, on-premise application vendors as part of their application modernization and transformation initiatives.
The key lesson here is that by allowing the growth of cloud services without an underlying strategy for data integration and application development, an enterprise will not achieve the primary business benefits offered by the cloud—flexibility, agility and time-to-market. Instead, they’ll end up with business data that cannot be easily mined to provide business intelligence, and a patchwork of standalone development tools which will not enable them to rapidly develop and deploy the new applications and apps that their stakeholders expect.
So how are these two issues being addressed? The initial approach was to investigate the use of cloud integration platforms (sometimes referred to as Integration Brokerage or B2B EDI)—third party services which can access a wide variety of enterprise cloud services and provide seamless data exchange between them. However, they only provided a solution to the data sprawl problem, but not the development sprawl problem. Ultimately, they found that the best approach was to first solve the development sprawl problem by using a modern aPaaS (application development platform-as-a-service) which offers:
The solution they chose from Progress enabled them to use a single integrated web-based and mobile app development tool which provides extensive data connectivity, and replaces all the proprietary application development tools offered by their cloud and on-premise application vendors.
Want to learn more about Progress application development solutions? Visit us at https://www.progress.com/products/rollbase
View all posts from Richard Stone on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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