Cloud Integration - 5 Options For Businesses

Introduction to Cloud Integration

In today's digital world, businesses are leveraging their technology with the cloud. According to the 2018 State of the Cloud Report, 81% of enterprises utilize a multi-cloud strategy. It was also revealed that, on average, organizations employ about 5 different types of clouds for their operations. With more than one system, businesses are collecting data from multiple sources. To ensure that these metrics are accessible and unified, cloud integration platforms must be put in place.

What is Cloud Integration?

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Cloud integration is the process of connecting multiple cloud applications and systems to consolidate real time data. An integration solution will help businesses with multi-cloud platforms break down data silos. It will also improve the visibility of data and enhance the flow of business operations. A cloud integration system can be customized and developed by organization leaders. However, many businesses prefer to rely on third-party servers, also known as an integration platform as a service (iPaaS).

An iPaaS tool often has features that help simplify the integration process for local files, data, and systems. It can also help synchronize public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds, and onsite devices together. Many iPaaS solutions will also automate data integrations via a connector or built-in adaptor. Therefore, management teams and leaders can spend more of their time on other key data management tasks, like analytics.

Benefits and Challenges of Cloud Integration

When performing cloud integrations, businesses can experience various benefits and challenges.


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The following are crucial advantages to integrating information between cloud platforms and on-premise systems.

  • Unify Data - The integration process helps consolidate and unify different data types and structures. This ensures that business teams and employees have access to consistent data and real time information.
  • Automated Operations - Processes, such as data entry and data restructuring will be automated with integration tools. With automation, data management will be standardized. In turn, there will be fewer human errors and inaccuracies in analyses.
  • Improved Data Quality - When working with multiple IT systems, businesses may accumulate copies of the same information. The integration process will help to eliminate duplicated and null data from the database. This allows companies to guarantee they have a single version of the truth and can also help reduce storage costs.
  • Enhanced Scalability and Flexibility - Cloud integration streamlines data processes, allowing management teams to focus on their growth.


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The following are drawbacks to the cloud integration process.

  • Time-Consuming - The process of migrating data from one cloud to another or from an on-premise system to the cloud can be time-consuming. Additionally, if businesses are working with large volumes of data, they may have to employ integrations often. And if teams are not diligent, errors can occur during data movement.
  • Frequent Updates - Organizations will need to regularly update their data connectors and adaptors. Since each cloud platform will have different data formats and structures, it is important that these tools meet the needs of their systems.
  • Complex Data Cleaning - Although some cloud systems can streamline data transformations, businesses may still need to clean and prepare their metrics into a standard format. Especially for traditional integrations, organizations will often have to perform an Extract Transform Load (ETL). This is a complex process of cleaning and translating data into a target structure.

5 Approaches to Cloud Integration

Cloud integration strategies will vary for each organization. The following are 5 common solutions that businesses often use.

1. Data Integration Software

Generally, businesses that have many cloud systems or a large volume of data will rely on software for their integration process. These software solutions can streamline complex data integrations. It also automates specific procedures for transformation and restructuring.

2. Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) Solutions

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A typical iPaaS solution has features that emulate integration software systems. However, it operates through the use of a cloud service. This is a great approach for businesses that want to outsource the integration process to a middleware system. It is important to note that iPaaS tools do have limited capabilities when integrating on-premises data into the cloud.

3. Software as a Service (SaaS) Tools

Software as a service tool is software that is delivered through the Internet via subscriptions. Many vendors will have SaaS integration solutions that users can purchase to connect their cloud systems. These tools come in the form of plug-ins and software extensions. Businesses that have nontechnical teams prefer SaaS because it is user-friendly and cost-efficient.

4. Custom Programming

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Organizations with in-house data developers can create their own programs for integration. These codes will generally be customized based on a specific integration or system's needs. This approach can be costly, compared to other practices, because companies will need to recruit and pay a team of data specialists. This may be inconvenient for small businesses or brands that have limited budgets.

5. Function Platform as a Service (fPaaS) Solutions

A function platform as a service solution is a cloud computing platform that lets users run applications without having to manage a server. This enables business teams to process multiple integrations at once.

Key Takeaways - Cloud Integration

  • Many modern businesses are leveraging cloud technology by using multiple systems and software to manage operations.
  • With a multi-system structure, organizations need to consolidate their data using cloud integration.
  • Cloud integration is the process of unifying data by connecting disjointed cloud systems.
  • Some benefits of cloud integration include unified data sources and automated workflows.
  • The 5 approaches to cloud integration include software, integration platform as a service, software as a service, custom programming, and function platform as a service.