Integration - Key for Breaking Down Data Silos

By CIOReview | Monday, December 19, 2016

The advent of Big Data, cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the way data is stored and business is run in today’s changing environment. The ubiquitous data and proliferation of mobile applications has completely transformed the business landscape. But the fact remains that the barriers across data silos has proved to be a major hindrance in sharing of information and the lack of visibility across silos has become a major roadblock in the smooth running of any organization.

Silos are simple instances in IT, where data resides separately in a universe of its own without interacting with other systems. There is a consensus that IT likes the idea of silos. If there’s a need of an application, place it in a server in the data center and repeat the process. This is how the process works and has led to a continuous proliferation of data centers over a period of time. This is where cloud computing comes into the picture. Migration to the cloud was thought to be the solution to this mushrooming of data silos, but any gains there could be rapidly lost if we're just using cloud computing to build more silos. However, things are changing rapidly for data management as more organizations are migrating to the cloud to achieve scalable and agile business applications.

The concept of data silos is nothing new to IT administrators. Earlier it was confined to the on-premise data centers, but now with SaaS and other cloud based offerings, it has again hogged the limelight and has slowly become an impeding force to the overall efficiency of any enterprise. Cloud silos are more likely to proliferate and increase because of the service-based nature of the cloud. This proliferating nature of cloud silos is posing a different kind of challenge for the enterprises, which is finding hard to integrate discreet silos into one.

Integration seems to be the answer to all this proliferation of data silos. Many businesses are now going for the new cloud-based integration strategies. This gives them the opportunity to interact with each other and share information and data that is so critical for the smooth running of any organization. In the past, IT developers were more focused on data silos and it required a team of experts to work on each aspect in an attempt to integrate it with other applications of the enterprise. It was a tedious and long drawn out process. If organizations are planning to shift to the cloud, they should make sure that there is a valid and authentic process in place to integrate new applications with the slightly older ones. Too many vendors providing various kinds of applications further complicates the matter, as it becomes really hard to integrate them because of various issues such as security and data sharing.

Integration holds the key in breaking down silos barrier and proper attention should be paid to integrate cloud-based applications. Cloud architecture is now being upgraded regularly to meet the demands of integration. This requires an in-depth understanding and analysis of the capabilities and other requirements of every application. It is also going to put a lot of burden in terms of money and companies should look into every aspect before opting for the cloud. But if they get it right, then this could mark the beginning of a new chapter in bringing business processes and operations together.

Recent research point out to the fact that cloud integration continues to be a big issue for enterprises. But like all challenges, cloud integration can be seen as an opportunity to break down data silos. The opportunity is making enterprises to rethink integration and create a new integration strategy. Integration is more cost-effective today than ever and that makes it easier to make the ROI case for it.