Cloud computing is shaping the future of work as enterprises both big and small turn to the cloud to optimize their operations. Be it data storage, processing, or collaboration, many businesses prefer solutions such as SAP on Azure for the flexibility and convenience they provide.
A Gartner study suggests that up to 90% of companies will have transitioned to the cloud or be using some sort of cloud integration service by the end of 2022. This aligns with RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Survey, in which 94% of respondents reported using at least one public or private cloud.
Working in the cloud has opened opportunities like never before. Cost saving is one main benefit; cloud computing also removes the need for local hosting or on-premise software. This not only simplifies the IT environment but also reduces the associated infrastructure costs.
That said, there’s much more that cloud integration brings to your business. For starters, fixing scalability issues through seamless collaboration as well as providing the business intelligence needed for growth.
Here, we’ll find out how cloud services such as SAP on Azure work—and why your business needs them.
Cloud integration brings multiple platforms together so they can operate as a cohesive unit. This requires a system of tools and technologies that connect different applications and IT environments to create a real-time exchange of processes and data.
Additional names for cloud integration include cloud system integration or cloud data integration. Another is iPaaS, or Integration Platform as a Service. Regardless of the name, the goal of cloud integration remains the same—to create a unified, efficient, and easily accessible enterprise IT infrastructure.
Cloud integration aims to improve connectivity and visibility, solve regular data problems, and ensure that businesses run at optimal efficiency.
To transition to the cloud, companies need to transfer data and applications that may be sensitive or critical to their business. Running cloud integrations such as SAP on Azure helps make the transition to the cloud much smoother.
A number of companies are already using a hybrid blend of Software as a Service (SaaS) and on-premises systems. This has the advantage of providing an overall faster base for the integration of cloud data.
Let’s dive in and learn more about the types of cloud integration.
Cloud integration is achieved by integrating either data or applications—and sometimes even services and systems. Integration can take place from cloud-to-cloud, cloud-to-on-premise, or a combination of both.
Data integration refers to the synchronization between data repositories—the procedure whereby data is transferred, processed, or transformed. The objective is to create an effective flow of data between different repositories.
Application integration is more about interoperability, and it focuses on various applications that add enhanced functionality. Compared with data integration, it involves much more than simply sending requests and applying system commands. In addition, application integration gives a company complete control over their digital infrastructure.
With SaaS, businesses can choose to build their own cloud integration platform. However, this tends to be a complicated course of action that comes with added challenges and extra expenses. Moreover, this type of platform is not scalable.
Another option is for companies to use a third-party cloud integration platform—for instance, running SAP on Azure. It’s a great alternative that can maximize efficiency while minimizing integration time.
The main drawback of the former route—building an in-house cloud integration platform—is that it needs to be upgraded every time a new app arrives or a further requirement emerges. Third-party platforms such as SAP on Azure solve this problem.
By using a cloud integration platform, you can expect both data and application integration to be fast, efficient, scalable, agile, and reusable.
Next, we’ll unpack the key benefits and challenges of cloud integration.
Cloud solutions are meant to optimize business activities. They make data integration easier and improve information visibility and sharing.
Businesses rely on a hybrid mix of SaaS platforms, where cloud data integration is becoming increasingly essential. Here are some of the more important advantages.
The first and main benefit of cloud integration is that it enables IT systems and applications to operate on the same data. Synchronization helps businesses avoid data conflicts that could lead to errors and produce low-quality, unreliable information. Further, data synchronization is fundamental to ensuring that diverse operational functions remain secure and compliant.
Effective synchronization gives users access to the latest data—including real-time updates. Additionally, cloud integration maximizes business efficiency by enabling the quick and streamlined transfer of data.
Another major benefit of cloud integration is that it automates workflows. Many manual tasks have been made redundant as a result of improving technology. Today, these responsibilities are taken care of by software and tech instead of employees. In addition to eliminating boring and repetitive tasks, automation reduces the chance of human error—and work gets done faster too!
Cloud integration can fully automate tasks such as data entry. And in the case of workflow automation, data gets transferred seamlessly and doesn’t lose its integrity when shifting from one app to another.
Cloud integration enables flexibility and gives organizations the chance to scale their IT systems. By upgrading work practices, identifying new systems, and providing additional benefits to their customers, companies are able to increase their value proposition.
Redundancy is quite common in IT. This is because having to store multiple types of the same data can often be problematic. Cloud integration makes it easier to ditch that redundant data while creating better company workflows. Added advantages include reduced storage costs and time-saving for synchronization efforts.
Data visibility is vital for business intelligence, and it’s one of the pros of incorporating the cloud into your systems. Visibility allows your team to analyze and assess data in real-time. This means being able to see which applications are being used and where the data is being sent or received. In addition to giving companies superior control over their data, visibility lets you pick up errors quickly and deal with them straight away.
One of the top reasons that cloud integration is a must-have for any business? The amount of money that can be saved. By using the cloud, companies can control their spending on data handling. That’s because they can see which applications are being used the most and where to cut costs—all without having to sacrifice performance.
In other words, businesses can make adjustments and use their resources in the most efficient manner possible.
Furthermore, the upfront cost of setting up a cloud integration service—for example, running SAP on Azure—is much lower than building an in-house solution.
Even though cloud integration is a great solution for your business, it comes with a set of challenges—and some of those challenges might be quite unexpected!
Privacy and security are integral to any business. A significant challenge with cloud integration is that your data is exposed to a third party. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that the service provider will steal your data, it’s nonetheless an important factor when choosing an integration platform.
A data breach is a serious security issue with the potential to damage your reputation and business. Opt for a service provider with a good reputation and a name for delivering top-notch solutions for their clients. Moreover, remember to take additional steps to protect your data—for example, implementing measures that enable authorization and encryption.
A lack of standardized policies for compliance can be a huge issue for enterprises when migrating SAP to the cloud. Each business has its own way of maintaining data. And because there are no set rules, this may well impact security and data privacy.
At the same time, cloud integration platforms such as Azure, Jitterbit, and AWS have their own data standards. Here, the diverse formats of data can result in issues like data loss or corruption during migration.
Another challenge arises from hybrid cloud storage. In other words, maintaining two divergent data formats—one for on-site and another for the cloud. This has the potential to create further confusion.
To overcome these deficiencies in the current policy environment, you’ll need to enlist the help of an experienced service provider. That means finding someone who understands how to integrate different formats without causing data loss or corruption.
Cloud integration and running cloud-based services such as SAP on Azure require a stable and high-speed internet connection. Downtime simply isn’t an option.
An erratic internet connection could prove highly disruptive. For instance, if you use a cloud-based POS for managing a restaurant chain, everything from tracking revenue to managing staff schedules takes place on the cloud. However, without an internet connection, even straightforward tasks like running daily processes can come to a screeching halt.
In this example, traditional systems have a distinct advantage over the cloud. That’s because they run on a closed network. Information is held on a local server that is not dependent on the internet.
Cloud computing has the potential to save and cost you money. Granted, you won’t have to invest in or maintain IT infrastructures such as hardware and servers. However, there are some hidden costs that may well come to the fore if the cloud is not managed properly.
According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, 32% of cloud spending is wasted. Items in this category range from unused services, apps, and features to underutilized server bandwidth.
Businesses may also not be aware of the numerous discounts and customized packages available to make deployments more efficient.
Because cloud technology is a relatively recent phenomenon, professionals need to keep themselves updated with current developments. In addition, it’s necessary to create internal compliance if you want to extract the maximum return from cloud-based applications. That said, finding industry experts with sufficient knowledge can be an obstacle to cloud integration.
Software systems such as SAP on Azure provide significant benefits, including numbering data intelligence, cost reductions, and more. Moving to the cloud not only boosts efficiency but also gives your business an edge over the competition.
Today, more than 77% of businesses use at least one cloud-based service.
How do you choose the best cloud integration platform? Here are some important requirements to add to your checklist.
Provides a secure way to protect data. A key indicator of a good cloud integration platform is data security. It should provide a secure way to protect data—while transferring and at rest—without any chance of loss or a data breach.
Makes it easy to integrate with other applications. Businesses often require a suite of services and applications to perform daily tasks. Communication between distributed systems, microservices, and serverless applications is essential to streamline operations and enhance the customer experience.
A reliable cloud integration platform should allow seamless integration between different applications. Further, it should provide all the tools and features that enable interoperability—without the need to write custom code every time a new application is added.
Avoid any platform that makes it difficult to integrate with other applications. This is especially the case with features such as reporting or troubleshooting, where complications are likely to arise.
Moves data in real-time. Another feature of a great cloud integration platform is the ability to automate and move data in real-time. This way, you can track the progress of your data and monitor it for any suspicious activity. Make sure that your preferred platform offers real-time connections to data and applications.
Whether you’re searching for SAP to cloud migration solutions or just general cloud adoption, these are some of the best cloud integration platforms available today.
Microsoft Azure is one of the most trusted platforms for transitioning SAP to the cloud. This comes after collaboration between SAP and Microsoft, resulting in the creation of SAP on Azure solutions. This option is highly scalable and adaptive to business needs. In fact, a Forrester Total Economic Impact study estimates that hosting SAP on Azure can lead to a massive ROI of 102%.
Azure is an SAP-certified platform. Further, it’s the most high-performing tool available to scale your SAP cloud infrastructure. Azure offers 192GB to 12TB SAP HANA virtual machines in several regions.
SAP on Azure is probably the best bet for mission-critical SAP workloads. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) predictability to speed up processes and also comes in handy when developing a new product.
In addition, running SAP on Azure delivers real-time, AI-backed insights and deep analytics—tools that can help you improve business outcomes and make better decisions. With Azure, the focus shifts from constantly solving IT issues to working on real business problems. Little wonder that it’s known for fostering innovation and growth.
Moreover, integration with Microsoft 365 makes it easier for employees to collaborate and leverage the full power of the software’s capabilities. Once all its enabling features are taken into account, SAP on Azure comes out tops for cloud integration.
IBM believes that the future is more about connecting applications on the cloud than it is about writing code. Their platform is an efficient and high-speed solution that has some of the most powerful tools and features for integrating SAP into the cloud.
The IBM Cloud Integration solution incorporates AI, using repeatable formats and low-code tooling to make integration faster and easier. Operational data can be used to secure deep insights, making the transition to the cloud smoother and more efficient.
With IBM Cloud Pak, companies can enjoy the benefits of API management, event streaming, and application integration. Moreover, it facilitates fast transfers to make the integration process quicker than ever when looking to transition from SAP to the cloud.
On the whole, IBM Cloud Pak is another great way to integrate SAP into the cloud. And the innovative tools and solutions they offer makes it much easier for companies to thrive.
Jitterbit provides Electronic Data Interchange to integrate back-end applications, ERP systems, and accounting. By trimming costs and eliminating tedious and redundant manual activities, Jitterbit greatly improves the user experience.
As an added benefit, Jitterbit offers specialized solutions for a variety of industries. These include, among others, retail and distribution, manufacturing, electronics and hi-tech, and the automotive industry.
Jitterbit also helps drive the integration process between your business and other systems. Even with the most complicated workflow, Jitterbit’s tools can integrate your data with Microsoft, Sage, Oracle, Intuit, and Epicor, as well as software such as Quickbooks.
Jitterbit offers diversity through cloud-based or on-premise integration. Moreover, it has a web-based dashboard populated with all the data and tools to track progress and transactions. As a further recommendation, Jitterbit is known for its superior customer support and quick response time.
The SAP Cloud Integration tool brings together data in both business-to-business and application-to-application scenarios. Furthermore, it connects data to multiple endpoints—from both SAP and non-SAP sources—while delivering data on-premise and on the cloud.
SAP’s pre-packaged integration content heightens project efficiency. As a result, your engineers will spend less time writing code and more time connecting applications effectively. As SAP Cloud can be customized for different landscapes, the transition is clearly much simpler.
Over and above these benefits, SAP gives you the option of integrating data in synchronous as well as asynchronous scenarios. It also supports reliable asynchronous messaging with the use of queuing mechanisms.
SAP’s diverse use cases range from supply chain management and procurement to optimizing asset maintenance and sales procedures. In addition, it can modernize core functions such as HR and Finance by improving workflow methods and procedures.
The Dell Boomi platform allows you to connect applications, devices, and data to hybrid multi-cloud systems—all with relative speed and ease. Boomi’s drag-and-drop interface, which includes several connectors, is a standout feature. On top of this, Boomi is user-friendly and has an attractive time-value proposition.
Other notable features of Boomi include operational intelligence and reusable formats that help save time and maximize efficiency. As such, errors can be kept to a minimum with intelligent integration mapping and configuration. Furthermore, Boomi helps balance your team’s productivity with templates, process libraries, and custom scripting.
This means that businesses can choose from a vast array of pre-built starter procedures, deploy integrations as suited to their needs, and then centrally manage all applications with the help of a cloud-hosted dashboard.
Boomi claims to deliver a significant ROI in just a three-year period, along with reducing the integration development time substantially. If you’re looking to integrate SAP on the cloud, Boomi is another good option to try.
The cloud is more than just a data storage platform. In fact, cloud services are becoming indispensable because of their innovation and business intelligence features that drive growth.
However, selecting the right cloud integration platform can be confusing, as the industry is constantly evolving. SAP on Azure is a good choice due to the capabilities that Azure offers. It not only supplies the best benefits but is also quick, easy to transition, and efficient.
Transitioning to the cloud can present your business with substantial benefits. That’s why choosing the right platform with the right features is vital. SAP on Azure provides you with critical analytics, meaningful insights, predictive tools, and more. It’s also highly adaptive, secure, and reliable, and can increase your ROI thanks to its low operational costs. Moreover, the scalability and improved risk management that SAP on Azure brings will also give you an edge over your competitors.