A cloud-based IT environment provides many transformational advantages, including everything from reducing risks, to increased efficiency, scalability and flexibility. Not only that, cloud computing helps IT break down silos across their business to start new partnerships, apply new technologies, and expand opportunities. That’s probably why cloud usage among enterprises continues to increase so dramatically. Recent surveys reveal the average enterprise uses 1,427 distinct cloud services today, and the average employee is actively using 36 cloud services at work. (Source: McAfee).
However, converting the cloud’s benefits into real-world opportunities requires companies to have an understanding of their cloud ecosystem and how various digital platforms tie together. A cloud ecosystem is a set of interconnected components that, together, enable cloud services. The ecosystem can consist of hardware, software, APIs, and cloud integrators. Cloud services include everything from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Service providers can also define a company’s cloud ecosystem. That may include a public cloud provider like AWS or a SaaS vendor that delivers services through the cloud. Or, it may be a hybrid approach to cloud computing, where companies are leveraging some on-prem and cloud-hosted applications.
Your cloud ecosystem and integrations in action
In this IT environment, one of the biggest barriers to success is effectively combining various data sources, applications, and processes to act as one data-driven unit. Cloud integrations, often in the form of APIs, bridge this gap making it possible to configure multiple application programs to ‘talk to each other’ or share data in the cloud. Cloud application integrations can solve for any number of tasks within an organization – whether streamlining business processes, using advanced analytics, or connecting and enhancing tasks with AI across SaaS applications. Here’s a couple of examples of cloud integrations in action.
- Streamlining operations – Cloud integrations with Salesforce and APIs can eliminate manual processes and help an organization integrate data from a variety of cloud and on-prem systems very quickly. As an example, these capabilities may enable a bank to accept batch customer data in many different formats, without outside intervention. This type of integration might help the bank process more loans, accelerate loan closings, or improve customer service.
- Enabling predictive analytics – In a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environment, integrations with a company’s order management system and Salesforce can standardize reporting and reduce manual workflows to improve business analytics. Using combined data sources and analytics to predict trends can then help sales and marketing teams make smarter decisions. Cloud integrations let teams leverage predictive analytics, without depending on custom coding or customized SQL commands.
- Incorporating AI-powered features into other applications – API-based machine learning services from public cloud providers like AWS and Google are making it easier for developers to add AI capabilities into existing workflows. AI APIs might be used to convert text to speech, allow teams to search through images, or infuse chatbots into websites or other applications.
The future is interconnected
Mapping out a company’s digital ecosystem is the first step to understanding opportunities for optimization and integration in a cloud or hybrid IT environment. From here, teams can integrate cloud APIs into existing apps to streamline workflows, enhance business processes, and drive innovation across the business. If you want help taking an inventory of your cloud environment or identifying opportunities for integrating cloud APIs, talk to Telapprise!