How to optimize costs and reduce risks when integrating your existing systems with the cloud

February 8, 2023

How to optimize costs and reduce risks when integrating your existing systems with the cloud

February 8, 2023

Cloud integration

While connecting with the cloud can transform your organization, integrating your systems with cloud applications and data can be a complex process. Explore your options to find the solution that works best to get your organization connected with the cloud.

Garret brings more than 15 years of experience providing software development leadership, application architecture expertise, and reviewing and implementing software delivery lifecycle best practices for his clients. From analysis and architecture, to implementation and delivery, to quality and support, Garret is an end-to-end specialist.

Many organizations are adopting cloud technologies to help save time, reduce costs, and relieve the administrative burden on their IT resources. It goes without saying, but the cloud is transforming the way companies in both the private and public sectors collect and share data, make informed decisions, and scale operations by moving processes off-premises and providing scalable infrastructure.

However, integrating your existing systems and data with cloud applications is a complex process. Organizations can lose a lot of time and effort in duplicate entry without the proper planning — and will not be able to fully leverage the cloud solution as a result. It is important to choose the right strategy before you begin your cloud integration journey to reduce costs, decrease risks, and take fuller advantage of your existing systems.

This article explores several approaches to making the transition to cloud-based systems and software to integrate your data with the cloud in a way that works best for your organization.

What is cloud integration?

Cloud integration creates unparalleled opportunities for connection with your applications. This system of technologies and tools combines all cloud applications and on-premises (on-prem) systems across your organization, allowing all members of your company access to real-time data from anywhere at any time.

Shared access across systems helps to eliminate data and operational silos and ensures everyone in your organization can collaborate effectively, working from the same source of truth. Cloud integration helps to synchronize your business units and increases opportunities for growth and productivity.

The more cloud technologies organizations adopt, the greater the need to explore cloud integration with both your cloud-based and on-prem systems to streamline business processes, optimize costs, and scale operations to meet the specific needs of your industry.

What are cloud connectors?

Many cloud software providers promote their own proprietary connectors to enable data integration between their system and yours. However, using these connectors to build and maintain integrations between systems can become complex and onerous, and can result in unforeseen complications.

Your system will require configuration, customization, or a custom integration layer if it does not already support communication with a proprietary cloud connector. These integrations often require:

  • Data transformation
  • Combining or restructuring data relationships
  • Data governance
  • Custom fields/configuration of systems
  • Storage of additional data context or mappings in a data store

Integrating with the cloud through these connectors also places limitations on the customization options available to your systems. This means that additional responsibility for data context, mapping and coordination is placed on the integration itself.

How cloud integrations track real-time updates

Maintaining data context in a cloud integration is important to track real-time updates in an environment where both ends of the system can be updated/modified independently, or in an environment where multiple systems feed into a central system. For example:

Connecting an eCommerce system to your enterprise resource planning (ERP)

You might have more than one sales channel that feeds your ERP, so you need to be able to track your order numbers and identify where they are coming from. Order statuses also need to be updated, and orders can be cancelled from either end. This mapping needs to be maintained, which may require system changes or could be managed by the integration.

Connecting payroll and other expense systems to your accounting system

Although this is generally one-way, validating that a transaction has been entered successfully is an important component.

Onboarding/offboarding staff or customers

Accounts often need to be updated and synchronized across a wide variety of unconnected systems, and a centralized integration can improve the consistency and reduce effort for onboarding and offboarding.

MNP Digital’s Cloud Services experts can provide the advisory expertise to support your digital transformation strategy no matter where you are in your cloud journey. We recommend several approaches to cloud integration to reduce costs, decrease risks and empower you to navigate the ever-changing cloud landscape.

How to approach cloud integration

There are many ways to approach cloud integration, including cloud-to-cloud integration, cloud to on-prem integration, or a combination of both. Cloud-based integrations provide the same value proposal as moving any system to the cloud and can provide integrated security and management tools associated with that cloud platform.

We suggest several approaches to cloud integration using Microsoft Azure Cloud Services integration tools to support your move to the cloud.

Direct integrations

Direct integrations (linking two systems) might be implemented on-prem by customizing a system directly, or by using an extract transform load (ETL) tool. In the cloud, these may be replaced by tools such as Azure Data Factory, Power Automate, or Azure Logic Apps.

Each of these cloud-based tools provide flexible options, pricing and scalability to meet the unique needs of a given integration and can leverage other cloud services as needed to meet the needs of your organization.

Complex integrations

Larger and more complex integrations systems might involve the creation of an on-prem enterprise service bus (ESB) to manage. In the cloud, complex integrations can be managed by options like Azure AD for authorization and security, API Management (APIM), and the Azure Dataverse for centralization of your cloud and data asset management.

Connect with us to get started

Our team of dedicated professionals can help you determine which options are best for you and how adopting these kinds of solutions could transform the way your organization works. For more information, and for extra support along the way, contact our team.