by Susan Eustis
Following is a conversation we at WinterGreen Research had with Chandar Pattabhiram IBM Vice President, Cloud Product Strategy, where he talks about cloud positioning and integration in this context. As cloud computing becomes the new mantra for improving business productivity and efficiency, we look to our leaders in the channel to provide new business models. Chandar is surely one of our best.
What difference does integration make in a cloud environment?
- Integration has become the ‘productivity application’ for Cloud computing. Without integration, Cloud users don’t get access to critical backoffice information locked away in other on-premise applications. For example, a salesforce.com users needs access to critical customer information – orders, invoices, credit history, payment history, etc. – that is locked away in an ERP application like salesforce.com. Without integration, Cloud users are doing one of two things: a) ‘swivel-chairing’ to multiple apps to access the information b) manually calling people or accessing offline spreadsheets, etc. With integration, they get all the information they need in one place – in the Cloud. As a result, they are able to maximize their productivity and the company is able to maximize the economic value of their Cloud investment.
So, you suggest that integration is the very base of cloud computing, that we used to have siloes that represented different aspects of a line of business, and now we are finding that it is more efficient to use one set of information for ordering and billing and shipping rather than having separate customer lists.
Why would an IT manager want to integrate between cloud environments within the data center?
- Most companies operate in a hybrid Cloud environment. They consume some public Cloud services like salesforce.com, create some private Cloud services and house within their data center and also house traditional on premise applications. In such an environment, they may have the need to: a) integrate public cloud apps with each other (e.g. salesforce.com and netsuite), b) public cloud and private cloud apps (e.g. salesforce and a private cloud commissions applications they have developed), or c) integrate Cloud and on premise applications (e.g. salesforce, private cloud commissions application and SAP). The business value is as mentioned above – increased end-user productivity and lower IT costs.
Why would an IT manager want to integrate within cloud environments within the data center?
- A company may have a combination of Private Cloud services within a data center. For example,a private cloud service for patient tracking and another private cloud service for patient billing. In this example, they will have the need to integrate these private Cloud services with each other within the data center.
Does this make any difference to the line of business?
- As mentioned above, Integration has become the productivity application for Cloud Computing. With integration, line-of-business users get a 360* view of business information in one place – directly in that Cloud application rather than having to log into multiple places. As a result, they are able to maximize productivity and deliver a superior customer experience. As SaaS applications are being rapidly adopted by line-of-business user (salesforce.com, taleo, Success Factors, etc.), integration has become one of the most critical factors for the continued adoption and success of these applications over time in each company.