B2B and Cloud Service Integration

Enterprises wishing to maintain competitive advantages must find effective means of gathering and sharing information via cloud services in business-to-business (B2B) transactions. Cloud service integration always involves a daunting amount of data integration, so much that most businesses turn to cloud services brokerages (CSBs) to manage it efficiently. The selection of an appropriate CSB will vary according to the individual business’ needs as well as technical and business concerns.

Cloud-based data integration typically involves one of three models: cloud-to-cloud, cloud-to-on-premise, and application-to-application. Cloud-to-cloud involves integrating services from hosted systems or applications beyond the local firewall to other systems and applications outside the firewall. Cloud-to-on-premise integrates services from on-premise, back end systems or applications to hosted systems and applications beyond the firewall. Finally, application-to-application integrates services from on-premise, back end systems and applications through a cloud platform provider. This cloud can be public, private, or a hybrid of both.

Businesses will not always find it feasible to perform all B2B data integration functions in the cloud, and some rely on CSBs to incrementally move functions for them at a relatively low cost. A CSB can help an enterprise choose which business functions to move and ensure they function as well as they do on-premise.

CSBs provide five key advantages in cloud-services integration: data translation, scalability, performance, connectivity, and security.

For data translation, many businesses opt for a hybrid approach in which existing data translation stays on-site and new or modified processes occur in the cloud.

As for scalability, CSBs can aid with continued interoperability if and when a company chooses to expand cloud-based operations.

In the realm of performance, cloud computing can be nearly as fast as a LAN server group, provided the CSB and business secure enough bandwidth for their data integration solution.

Most businesses will find that cloud services integration with a CSB improves connectivity, as CSBs dedicate their IT infrastructure to high availability and disaster recovery.

Finally, while individual security methods will vary from CSB to CSB, , they always work to protect sensitive data and manage identities in the cloud.

Businesses are often eager to move B2B transactions into the cloud, but the technical details of it will lead many to commission a CSB. Furthermore, the cost and potential risk of cloud services integration can make a partial or gradual commitment to cloud computing, and a credible CSB can work together with a business to select which processes to move as well as streamline the entire process.

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