Is the Cloud the Ultimate Silo?

There she stands.  Alone and unafraid.  The Breaker of Silos.

One of the core challenges for any CIO and his/her team is to create a seamless flow of information throughout their organization, and that begins with the breaking down of silos.  Connecting the dots, and creating those all important system-to-system touch points is almost always a custom development effort including integration at the data layer, forms and some portion of workflow.

BPA to Connect Silos
Every CIO’s Silo Nightmare

As the cloud has become a logical extension of the enterprise network, it brings with it additional challenges when it comes to integration.  Below are some of the key challenges:

  1. Security – Cloud security has always been a core concern of CIOs, with a focus on confidential information exposure.  When it comes to breaking silos, there is a whole new dimension around authentication and authorization.  How do I allow users access, but restrict what they see and use?  How do I link my on-prem security structure with my cloud additions?
  2. Data – Cloud data is readily available to enterprise applications through a host of APIs and services.  But what happens when I want cloud apps to have access to my enterprise line of business (LOB) systems?  We now create a plethora (one $20 word per post 😉 ) of issues that usually involves an endless array of meetings with the IT Security Team.
  3. The Flow of Work (Or workflow for the so inclined) – creating an end-user experience that is not totally painful is quite difficult as teams struggle on how to flow “digital work” in and out of the cloud.  Do I start my process in the cloud app, or as an on-prem experience?  Can I surface data from both cloud and on-prem systems in a form?
  4. Mobile – Mobile adds an entirely new dimension to the game, with most cloud-based apps providing a singular and “pre-silo-ed” experience.  This is great if users only use a single system, but how many mobile apps do I really need to get my job done?  Creating a single mobile user interface for work is the cloud “unicorn”.
  5. Duplication of Information – as a workaround, organizations typically have some degree of data duplication in their cloud applications.  The above mentioned challenges usually lead to many violations of a core tenet of every IT department: Minimize duplication of data.  Pulling down cloud information for cross-platform reporting can be a painful and labor intensive exercise.

So how can we solve these key challenges?  Business Process Application platforms hold the key to solving the cloud-silo dilemma.   Platforms like K2 blackpearl and Appit address all of the above concerns and then some without the need for costly custom development, and are built with the Hybrid Enterprise in mind.  More info: BPA for the Hybrid Enterprise

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