The advancement of technology has led to widespread Cloud application usage throughout businesses and corporations. So widespread that IT is largely caught unaware of the impending Integration (not to mention security, backup/recovery, compliance and governance) headaches that result from such rapid proliferation.
Even without this SaaS and Cloud "explosion", organizations already faced a huge challenge integrating all their legacy and on-premises applications and data sources in order to more optimally run, manage and make critical decisions about the business. Over the past decades, enterprises purchased a large numbers of on-premise software packages to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations - and in most cases created an un-integrated hairball information and process architecture.
Despite the evolution of various application and software platforms, integration architectures and so forth, enterprises still find themselves unable "catch up" with the rapid growth in applications and data sources - and are therefore unable to take full advantage of all their data.
Business Intelligence expert Gaute Solaas, CEO of software vendor iQumulus comments, "The typical enterprise has thousands of data sources and applications, and there is an increasing number of data-producing devices and entities on the horizon. IT isn't prepared to deal with that - businesses need tools to easily and cost-effectively harness this ever-increasing number of disparate data sets - and enable the productive and meaningful presentation of the resultant information to individuals across the organization."
SaaS and Cloud technologies bring tremendous benefits to the organization; however, everything has a downside - these days, anyone with a credit card and $25 to spend can create a new application and data island. No longer does IT need to be involved - or even aware of its creation. And increasingly IT isn't aware - and that's troubling.
In an era where the concept of "instant gratification" is increasingly being applied to applications and data storage (thanks to SaaS and Cloud), increasingly individuals, small groups, departments and line of business owners are swiping their credit cards and getting "instant" business applications - without regard for the downstream consequences - such as Integration, Business Intelligence, security, compliance and backup/recovery (just because someone else hosts your data doesn't mean it's necessarily safe, secure or even backed up. Many organizations face a major financial risk with SaaS and Cloud applications).
In the rush to take advantage of these easy to procure and deploy application, storage and computing solutions, there is a real consequence - the unknown proliferation of cloud silos across the enterprise.
Unfortunately, SaaS and Cloud vendors are largely resistant to incorporating frameworks such as Dell Boomi (and others) that make their products simple to integrate with existing systems.
Jason Haskins, Data Architect at Alchemy Systems, a rapidly growing international company that delivers innovative technologies and services for the global food industry, has to deal with thousands of different data sources as part of his Business Intelligence data architecture. He anticipates the number of disparate sources could easily double in the next 24 months. "Embracing all these different formats and creating a system with a focus on usability, flexibility and scalability is the key to success in this area. It's typically a big mistake for IT to try to force people to restructure their data or to change the way they do business. By bridging the IT and the business world with a flexible and easy to use system, everybody wins."
Don't expect this trend and the integration headaches to slow down - the burgeoning market for Mobile applications will add fuel to this fire. Chris McNabb, General Manager of Dell Boomi commented, "To take competitive advantage of the cloud, companies are desperately looking for ways to accelerate the development of integration flows between their various cloud, on-premises and mobile applications."
Meanwhile, IT continues to be held responsible for many of the implications resulting from this widespread proliferation. Security, governance and compliance are just the tip of the iceberg. Integrating all these disparate systems to automate processes or build effective Business Intelligence systems is another - and online backup and disaster recovery planning is yet another.
A recent study by Netskope validates this app and data explosion - and how IT is being caught unaware. They found that IT experts misjudged Cloud application usage within their companies by as much as 90%. In the Netskope report, IT professionals estimated that their company only used 40 to 50 applications. The actual number: nearly 400 Cloud applications. And this is in addition to the hundreds to thousands of disparate and often distributed on-premises "legacy" systems in most organizations.