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Integrating in the cloud

The fast moving SaaS supermarket gives your IT department – but more worryingly your end users – the ability to buy services quickly, often circumventing established procurement routes. You might see this leading to rapid fragmentation of IT services, without due consideration for resulting integration complexity.

We’ve seen this come to life recently in mobile device management (MDM)  – a headache that recently turned into a migraine with the explosion of BYOD. Traditional device management centres around on-premise AV, endpoint control and domain membership – services which have long since moved into the cloud, with relatively mature, yet self contained ‘cloud versions’ (Azure AD and Symantec Cloud for example)

But, whilst some SaaS roadmaps lead to achieving feature parity with their on-premise counterparts, we’ve found that frustratingly, the focus shifts away from developing open integration services. Indeed, why should SaaS vendors focus on opening up their product when they have the opportunity to develop their ecosphere, often using tightly coupled integration with other proprietary SaaS offerings to sweeten the deal?

The answer could be because rich integration services would actually drive faster adoption of SaaS in enterprises.

Unfortunately, we think this is something SaaS vendors appear to have missed – causing IT departments a headache when it comes to integrating cloud services from disparate vendors, whilst simultaneously chasing opex savings. To use the MDM example – imagine if you could create a complete endpoint protection solution in the cloud (AV monitoring, auditing, encryption management and policy control), for every user device in your estate, regardless of platform. Something which feels so near, yet so far – right?

Before considering SaaS for a core business application or IT service, we think it’s important to first invest some time in understanding exactly how deep your existing on-premise solution is integrated with dependent systems and services. It may be that you’ll struggle to achieve the same rich integration you are used to with enterprise services – ERP, directory, authentication and authorisation platforms to name a few. Something, which if you don’t fully understand could place your business case for cloud services on thin ice.

Recent discussions with dmw clients prompted this article – please get in touch if you’d like to discover more about how to integrate successfully in the cloud.