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.
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:
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?
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.
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?
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”.
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
Leverage Office 365 and Salesforce in Cloud Business Apps
More and more companies are moving to the cloud to save money and drive productivity. But are you really getting all you can out of your cloud=based applications? Microsoft Office 365 has set a new bar for productivity platforms, and as a result, businesses far and wide are scrambling to leverage the power of its tools. If you have moved – or are moving – to Office 365, customizing your investment and integrating with your LOB apps and CRM solutions doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming.
Join K2 and Microsoft at the Microsoft Technology Center in Irvine on May 21, 2015 to learn more and see the power of integrating cloud based-apps.
4 Ways the Gears of IT Can Benefit From BPM and Business Apps
The technical landscape in organizations is getting more and more complex every day. So I ask myself over and over: Why are most IT departments not standardizing on Business Process Management/Applications to standardize, automate and track their processes? If you take a look at any technical department, it is usually “Franken-apped”, with tons of different applications used for provisioning of accounts, management of systems, cloud management, and on and on. So how can IT utilize the very systems they seek for their business counterparts for their own good? Here is a list of some compelling BPM/BPA uses within IT:
Auto-provisioning of Cloud Resources – With the cloud in the forefront of every CIO’s mind, managing resources out in the ether can be a challenge. The ability to manage starts, restarts, shutdowns, snapshots and other cloud based resource activities can be time consuming and lack audit and reporting facets. In steps a Business App with a dynamic form as an interface, and powerful workflow with business rules behind it. Below is a screen shot of just such an app we use internally:
Auto-provisioning of Accounts, Groups and Email – New employee on-boarding is now a snap with all IT tasks being initiated by the hiring manager or HR. Requests get routed through a workflow, and painful, repetitive tasks are now automated. User leaving the organization? How about automatically disabling the account and mailbox? Through the use of this function, security standards and business rules can be implemented through an automated process, to ensure compliance, and audit all account management tasks.
Security Process Management (SPM) – The latest network hardware or OS security vulnerability is released, and you need to initiate tasks to over 30 team members to quickly eliminate the “Day 0” threat, and secure your infrastructure. As a manager, you are asked where you are in the process, and what has been completed? Using a BPA to manage and control the process, your dashboard can give you a real-time view into the percentage complete, and any difficulties in completing the tasks can be quickly managed.
Management of Line of Business Applications – One of the biggest challenges in IT today is creating the ability to “span” line of business applications. BPAs can provide a powerful data connectivity layer that can be managed centrally, and without code. Want to auto-create a SharePoint site for a new user, no problem. How about a live feed of Salesforce information into a form to manage help desk tickets? (More info on my previous post: 5 CIO Challenges)
Doing more with less has become the standard for IT, and automation is key to meeting daily requirements. This is just a short list of areas in which IT can leverage BPA/BPM. What are your thoughts?