Build in Robust Integration and Connectivity
3. Build in robust integration and connectivity
According to a recent poll, nearly 35 percent of CIOs cite integration as their number two concern. Integration is a key part of your cloud strategy in many ways. You should choose an integration platform to support transactional, real-time changes spanning both cloud-based and on-premises applications.
The platform should also be scalable and flexible in order to meet three needs: First, today's connectivity needs such as e-mail, SFTP, HTTP Secure and WSDL (Web Services Description Language). Second, legacy needs such as COBOL, flat file and reports. And third, emerging needs such as XML, XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) and electronic data interchange (EDI). Look for a platform that encompasses on-premises and cloud-based connectivity with the flexibility to continue to innovate and evolve as new demands emerge.
4. Monitor and maintain workflows for both internal and external SLAs
When applications are within the walls of an organization, it's relatively easy to monitor their status, run down the hall to make a change, and add RAM here or swap a hard drive there. While cloud computing cost savings are compelling, you lose the ability to physically touch your resources. Cloud models let you expand computing capacity at will without an army of IT professionals. Depreciation and upgrade costs also go away, but the need to monitor your workflows and internal and external SLAs does not. You don't want the frustration of waiting for a cloud-based process to work with no indication of the problem, the solution and the time to resolution.
Therefore, look for cloud and integration platforms that allow you to see the infrastructure as well as give you the ability to make a change at the application level and the integration level. Monitoring dashboards can help you maintain workflows and address issues as needed. Make sure you have monitoring options and flexibility. Make sure that response times allow your execution engines to handle peak loads and support future growth.
For instance, proactive alerts (such as potential performance bottlenecks) from the infrastructure and the integration job give you the means to take immediate action and stay on your SLA timetable. Some cloud solutions give differing types of alerts to not only the project sponsor but their users (such as Login Failed, Connection Refused, and Files Not Present).
Cloud computing is coming, fast and furious. Leveraging it in the right way requires a bit of upfront research and process planning. IT executives who keep focus on the right resources, processes and technology-and not the marketing hype-will push into the cloud with ease and success.
Bill Humphrey is a PMI-certified Project Management Professional with more than 10 years of industry programming and technical experience in various languages and platforms. Bill has in-depth understanding of multiple programming languages/interfaces and knowledge of various business cultures, practices and ethics worldwide. At Pervasive Software, Bill leads all technical client-facing teams in support of the company's integration projects. Bill is responsible for managing cloud-based and on-premises technical solution architecture as well as designing and documenting best practices for a range of integration scenarios. Prior to Pervasive, Bill worked for HP Enterprise Business (formerly EDS) where he led the technical claims processing for several NHIC Medicaid programs. Bill holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and a Master's degree in International Business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.