To be competitive in business it requires a high level of adaptability among business offerings as well as an underlying agile IT infrastructure. Quick paced business requirements challenge the capabilities of their corresponding IT departments to deliver innovative solutions quickly and cheaply.
Over the years, cloud computing has become and innovating solution for companies to use to keep pace with managing business needs and the corresponding IT requirements. One specific realm in cloud computing called Software as a Service (SaaS) is the notion where third party companies (such as SalesForce.com, Taleo, and NetSuite) provide powerful applications to meet business needs via the web (e.g. the cloud). Software as a service offers the simplicity for incorporating application software into the enterprise – new functionality can literally be rolled out as fast as a data subscription can be obtained by a credit card payment.
The popularity of cloud computing over the years has accelerated rapidly at a worldwide level. The research firm IDC predicts that companies will spend approximately $42 billion dollars by 2010 (Pattabhiram, 2010). Further, research has also forecasted that SaaS delivery of enterprise applications is trending at an annual growth of 19.4% - the fastest growing sector in the software industry (Pattabhiram, 2010). It has become clear that productivity can be enhanced, time-to-market timelines are accelerated, and cost savings can be gained by applying cloud-based techniques to address agile business challenges.
Business users require access to critical systems throughout the enterprise and may have numerous existing applications that they must use daily. As such, the proper integration of data becomes critical to support business functionality with valid data integrity.
With respect to integrating services from legacy systems into the cloud, there are three key issues to consider. The first challenge: how to accurately get information from legacy systems in the SaaS application; this is particularly important for legacy systems such as Customer Relation Management applications (CRM) where years of business data are stored on legacy systems. Legacy systems typically represent many decades of business knowledge and operation experience (Peel, 2010). In order for SaaS systems to be useful from the beginning, legacy data must be migrated to the new solution – quickly (Peel, 2010).
The second challenge involves properly synchronizing information between the SaaS application and legacy systems. Legacy systems are most likely to be the system of record for critical corporate information about customers, products, orders, and more! SaaS solutions need to synchronize information with the particular legacy subsystem so the company has a single accurate real-time view of business activities through their data. Furthermore, when dealing with differing data formats and workflows between SaaS/legacy systems...