Cloud integration is an essential part of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy. More than simply connecting applications and databases, a successful cloud integration platform must accommodate both legacy systems and new architectures, a wide range of APIs and endpoints, plus new development lifecycles and deployment options.
To contend with the increasing complexity and sophistication of cloud integration, how can federal IT teams avoid the pitfalls of a complex process and deliver a successful enterprise-level cloud integration?
Here are three best practices for federal agencies pursuing cloud integration:
1. Hybrid Integration is the Way Forward
Despite the hype about moving to the cloud, federal agencies, like most complex organizations, will need some applications and systems to stay on-premise for the foreseeable future. However, many pure cloud vendors are unable to successfully integrate these environments because of the challenges of working with legacy systems. To be successful at cloud integration, agencies must invest in hybrid integration and facilitate connections between legacy applications and new cloud applications.
The promise and purpose of moving to the cloud is to break down silos, not to replicate them in the cloud. Not only do silos slow down daily workflows and mission-critical digital transformation initiatives, but they also introduce security and privacy risks.
2. Integration requires Both IT and Business Tools
Most cloud integration vendors started out addressing single instance, functional needs. In other words, they see the world through the perspective of IT and not the business-side of agency operations. Often this narrow view of the problem leads to a solution that lacks a flexible and scalable architecture and tools that can support a hybrid deployment. While the promise of the cloud was infinite scalability, if the broad vision is missed, the promise of moving applications to the cloud can’t be met.
Finding a cloud integration partner that can solve enterprise-wide problems for both IT and business operations will set your agency up for success.
3. Successful Integration Requires Complete API Management
A successful cloud integration requires complete API management capabilities. More than just consuming APIs published by cloud app providers, agencies need API management that gives them complete control over API processes.
Four API capabilities to look for include:
– API portal
– API gateway
– API lifecycle management
– API consumption management
APIs need to be able to be built on top of mainframes, legacy systems, or ERPs as these systems contain important data and business logic. The inability to weave these into an API initiative built on pure cloud platforms defeats the whole point of being cloud smart.
As the federal government moves from the Cloud First directive to the Cloud Smart strategy it’s more important than ever to have a robust cloud integration plan. It’s also clear that the future of IT for federal agencies is hybrid.
Because not every app or system can, or should, be moved to the cloud and because, by this point in their digital transformation journey agencies are already working with more than one cloud provider, it’s imperative that agency IT teams focus on a hybrid IT strategy. In understanding this broad vision – from legacy systems that need to work seamlessly with cloud-based apps to being cognizant of the different requirements of both IT and business operations – federal IT managers will lay the foundations for a successful digital transformation and support continuing mission success.
Want more information about how to be cloud smart? We have three more best practices about creating a hybrid cloud environment to share. Subscribe for more Cloud Smart Tips.