Your company is moving more of its workloads to the cloud. Your IT providers are making the transition to as-a-Service models. Your applications – whether commercial or developed in house – are increasingly cloud native.
But unless you’re a startup, your company has a history. That past includes all the software – and the associated data and processes – you’ve already invested in. And that means your shiny, cloud-based future still has to work with the existing IT resources at the core of your business.
You’ve never needed systems integration more. And companies that manage their systems integration most effectively will be the ones that leverage as-a-Service functionality to compete and win in the marketplace.
Business benefits-as-a-Service (BBaaS)
It should be no surprise that companies across industries have embraced an as-a-Service approach to meeting their IT needs. As-a-Service delivers many clear advantages over installing, productionizing, and operating a software product:
Lower upfront cost – There’s no need for capex investments in infrastructure, software licenses, and major implementation projects. Nor are there costs for ongoing maintenance. Rather, everything is pay as you go.
Lower risk – Companies can experiment with new functionality and processes. If they don’t achieve the results they want, they haven’t blown their entire budgets and tied themselves to their mistake.
Greater speed – Traditional software implementations can be time- and resource-intensive. As-a-Service solutions can be up in running quickly.
Greater flexibility – As-a-Service empowers companies to fail faster. There’s no stigma against experimenting with functionality that doesn’t prove successful. And the pay-as-you-go scalability of the cloud grows with the business.
Faster business outcomes – As-a-Service moves you from strategic planning to business execution quickly and reliably. That’s good for shareholders, customers, and your business alike.
Most important, perhaps, as-a-Service dispels the cognitive dissonance that can result from traditional software investments. Rather than say, “We’ve invested large amounts of money in installing, productionizing and operating our software, so changing course represents failure,” companies are free to respond to new market realities.
Not as easy as it looks
But SaaS does introduce its own challenges. One is vendor lock-in. If you build your business around a core as-a-Service application or tie a lot of your business capabilities to a single cloud provider, it can be disruptive to make a change. That fact gives your as-a-Service provider an advantage – for example, making it easier to hike pricing without worrying about losing you as a customer.
Another problem is shadow IT: the ability of lines of business to use a credit card to buy as-a-Service offerings on the fly – even when they’re not the best choice or they don’t fit into your overall IT strategy and environment.
A third issue is complexity. We were recently asked by a client to determine costs for adding a layer of cloud-provider-specific security around our Capgemini Enterprise iPaaS. Although there were no technical issues, there were significant cost implications, because the cloud-provider security services involved complex and variable consumption models. The costs of such a solution created from as-as-Service components are inherently difficult to model and estimate. The only way to understand the costs was to build a test system and run load through it to produce heuristic data. Many companies would be hard-pressed to achieve this on their own.
Systems integration – for today and tomorrow
The good news is that an effective systems integrator can help. A systems integrator can act as your trusted SaaS– and cloud-agnostic partner. It can develop your strategy for selecting SaaS and cloud offerings, balance your investments across providers as appropriate, and make sure you stay in control.
Good systems integrators increasingly offer pre-built solutions and managed services. An experienced integrator can develop proven solutions based on best practices, industry expertise, and lessons learned. It can test the solution from a technical, operational, and commercial perspective.
Most important, a systems integrator can help you develop an integration strategy that connects your legacy and as-a-Service capabilities today while ensuring ongoing integration and flexibility going forward.
Such integration will be increasingly necessary. While a homogeneous SaaS and cloud model might sound attractive, the reality is that we live in a heterogeneous world. You’ll always need to manage multiple applications and platforms. The key is to integrate them effectively, swap them out when you need to, and access the functionality you need, when you need it.
Thanks for reading! This blog is part 2 of a two-part series written by Capgemini Cloud experts, Amanda Clay and Ben Scowen. Read part one here.