Last week we discussed the shift to cloud-based applications among business and the various ways those businesses are connecting to their data in the cloud. Today, I’ll give you my recommendations when you are looking at integrating data to or from cloud applications.
Five Recommendations for Integrating Cloud-Based Apps:
- Evaluate your best option. First look to see if there is built-in integration available at little to no charge, after that find a middleware tool and lastly, move to custom development. (Why did I skip the manual approach? The purpose is to automate not do more work!)
- Determine where home base is for the data. Which system owns the record? Does the integration need to only go one direction? Are there other systems that need the same information? I find it works best to keep the process as simple as possible and keep one system as the master and have other systems only receive the latest data.
- Be careful with duplicating the data in all systems. What if you have 50 million records? Do you want that duplicated in both systems? Ensure that a valid business reason exists to push the information between cloud apps and other systems. There are other options sometimes that can aggregate the data from multiple systems (reporting tools like PowerBI or Popdock.com) and that can be a better option for some applications.
- Define internal processes before picking an approach. Make sure you gather the requirements and involve members from cross functional teams to get feedback before you start the process. Also, document the process for the people that follow so they can understand the business justification for taking the approach that was recommended.
- Finally, prepare for errors. There will be times when the internet is down, setup information is missing from one system or the other, and legitimately incorrect data made it in that must be addressed. Have a process in place to fix data and resubmit.
Options are available for businesses today along the spectrum of no-code, low-code and developer built solutions. Before you decide on the best approach for your organization, make sure you have a strategy in place that covers the real possibility of people that know your process leaving your organization and taking all of that knowledge with them.
Good luck on your projects integrating cloud apps to other systems and may you all be able to go home at a decent time each day!