Integrating the cloud into your business [ IBM ]

In the world of enterprise applications, cloud computing is indisputably – forgive the pun – on the rise. In fact, IDC reports that cloud applications are the fastest growing sector of software with a forecasted compound growth rate of 27 percent from 2009 through 2014.1

In spite of the warranted hype, however, the majority of enterprise applications are still on premise – or “on the ground.” So while cloud may be heir apparent, Gartner has reported that in 2009, Software-as-a- Service – which is cloud-based by definition, still only represented 3.4 percent of total enterprise application spending.2 The reality, therefore, for most organizations is not simply jumping on the cloud bandwagon but instead finding agile, flexible solutions that can integrate existing, on-premise applications with new cloud-based ones. In other words, it’s a hybrid world for the foreseeable future.

To be sure, there are certainly a ton of cloud/on-premise integration challenges in application interoperability, development productivity, management efficiency, flexibility and scalability. But by automating the sharing of data between applications, integration can help streamline business processes for improved efficiency and performance. Integration can also provide business agility, giving companies the flexibility to easily adapt to changing needs. And it reduces IT costs by freeing IT resources from time-consuming, low-level integration tasks for higher value projects. [Read more…]

The Right Idea for Your Cloud-Computing Needs [Microsoft]

With increasingly rich applications and a growing capability to store, manage and organize data, the power of the PC and mobile devices has grown exponentially. But these enhancements pose three critical challenges to IT departments: protecting the reliability of the IT infrastructure, developing solutions that add value to the business, and providing the end-user the flexibility and accessibility that is expected in the world we live in today.

Especially with today’s economy, the biggest challenge IT departments face is budget. Roughly 70% of IT budgets go to maintaining existing systems, leaving only 30% for development of new solutions.

Enter Software-plus-Services.

To tackle these challenges, cloud computing – or internet-based hosted services – is fast becoming a favored solution.

When it comes to cloud computing software applications, the Software-as-a-Service’ or SaaS model is when a provider licenses a hosted software application to customers for a service on demand. But there are limitations to the SaaS model, including limited feature functionality of the application, required internet connectivity, backup and synchronization of data and speed and accessibility of the application. So it is important to first make several key considerations when looking at cloud-based solutions, such as: [Read more…]