Every day, businesses generate and use an ocean of cloud data. However, you must manage and integrate the data properly for better functionality. Cloud data integration lets you do that seamlessly.

If you think storing data on the cloud is enough for effortless business operations, you are wrong. You have to ensure all the data can be accessed easily and is a part of a streamlined, automated workflow. 

This is where cloud data integration comes into play. This process allows companies to connect disparate systems while offering flexibility and scalability for all kinds of businesses.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information about cloud data integration, such as its benefits, challenges, and use cases, along with some platform that offers this service.

Introduction

What Is Cloud Data Integration?

As the name suggests, cloud data integration means unifying all your data stored in public, private, or hybrid clouds into an integrated whole. 

In more specific and technical terms, this process combines tools and technologies that can connect various systems, apps, databases, repositories, and IT environments for real-time data exchange.

This technology aims to generate a unified, secure, and accessible storage for all the data. As it integrates all the cloud applications and data and streamlines the data flow, company employees can access them from multiple devices simultaneously through the internet or via a network.

However, companies have to use a cloud integration platform to configure multiple applications or databases for data sharing in the cloud. One can either create their platform or opt for third-party tools. 

No matter which option you choose, IT admins can manage and secure different cloud components more efficiently if the tool is reliable and robust. 

Benefits

Cloud integration is becoming a common practice with the growing popularity of SaaS apps. Almost all enterprises use multiple cloud platforms or services, so integrating data from these apps in one place comes with ample benefits:

#1. Data Modernization

If you use legacy systems with a hefty amount of accumulated data, transforming it to modern cloud systems is indeed difficult. But, using cloud service integration solutions, you can effortlessly transform and load this data to the desired cloud platform.

Thus, you can keep these legacy systems running without compromising security or performance. This process allows companies to overcome integration challenges with a hybrid cloud environment.

#2. Scalability

Scalability

Using a powerful and flexible cloud data integration tool means being able to integrate any technology and applications that may come in the future as your business thrives and scales up. 

Such cloud platforms support scalability and all modern applications. Hence, there is no need for a major migration, even in the long run. 

#3. Operational Efficiency

Through cloud integration, you can sync data quickly and consistently. It also eliminates the chance of accessing redundant data and improves operational efficiency. 

With this process, a company gets all the required data and systems in one place. Thus, the automatic implementation of repetitive tasks becomes easy. 

#4. Optimized Business Processes

Business models of the present time require real-time sharing of information across applications. Cloud data integration makes it possible by providing seamless access to data from different networks and applications. Therefore, one can also optimize business processes if needed.

#5. Competitive Edge

Integration of cloud data allows your team to access, edit, and share data anytime. As a result, they can perform better and achieve their target. With this, even smaller businesses can access enterprise-class technology that helps them act faster than many established businesses.

#6. Better Connectivity and Visibility

Implementing cloud data integration for your organization helps you achieve improved connectivity and visibility. When the business world faces a lot of uncertainty and disruptions in the present era, access to integrated data ensures you can maintain high performance.

Besides connectivity, this solution also offers better visibility into where the business stands with all the latest data in hand.

#7. Reduced Operational Costs

When a company chooses to integrate its data from various cloud platforms, it helps them cut operational costs. As you need fewer users to run the applications and have software that can administer the integration process, the total cost of ownership decreases.

Also, opting for cloud integration tools means no upfront investment in on-premise solutions and reduced maintenance costs.

#8. Smooth Security and Data Governance

Smooth-Security-and-Data-Governance

While working with cloud data, one has to be careful about data security. When you integrate the cloud data using robust tools, you can create workflows that match the standards for data management. 

Consequently, complying with constantly evolving data governance standards and data privacy regulations becomes easier.

#9. Unification of Information Components

Through this data integration process, you can consolidate all your information components. It not only normalizes the data but also offers seamless access to modern data insights. 

For example, the business development team can view the sales data inside the BI tools. It improves the productivity of the team and saves time.

Challenges

#1. Data Migration

Without a doubt, moving data between multiple cloud-based apps, databases, and systems is a complex task. This process is also error-prone and might take a considerable time if you want to migrate a large volume of data. 

Depending on the high volume and required data transfer frequency, migration can become impossible in certain cases. Companies need to have a solid and data-driven strategy to make it work properly.

#2. Lack of Standardization

Unfortunately, you will not find any standard protocol for data integration between cloud platforms. The situation is worse in the case of integration between cloud and on-premise systems. 

For this reason, and for the variety of data formats and schemas of different cloud platforms and services, you need to regularly update data connectors or adaptors. The update should take place in case of an app update and new software or platform release. 

#3. Security and Data Privacy

Everything connected to the internet is prone to cyber threats, and this process is no different. If you are a company dealing with cloud data companies, you are vulnerable to online threats such as data theft, ransomware, and data destruction. 

Since data integration involves data belonging to multiple platforms, this process involves more risks. However, the integration service provider tools keep evolving their security measures. 

#4. Compliance

With countless regulations (GDPR, HIPAA) employed in various countries, maintaining compliance has to be a basic consideration. 

When choosing software for data integration, you must ensure that it complies with all the regulations in your business and industry.

#5. Architectural Issues

Though cloud systems have an architecture that can cater to scalability or high performance, these may not be capable of handling data integration. 

That is why a cloud infrastructure might find it challenging to sync with various external systems when there is a need to integrate data stored on numerous cloud platforms.

#6. ETL

ETL-workflow

Conventional data integration projects utilize ETL (extract-transform-load) workflows for data cleaning and transformation. Implementing ETL without making it more complex and slowing down the integration process for cloud data integration remains a big challenge. 

#7. Choosing the Right Software

One of the major challenges companies face regarding cloud integration is finding a dependable platform that can perform the task without error. 

Companies should choose a tool that meets every requirement of the necessary use case. Ensuring that the platform supports automation and workflow is also crucial. 

Use Cases

IT

Undoubtedly, the integration of cloud data has the most crucial impact on IT. It connects data and apps across every team and department of an organization at scale. Businesses can also build integration pipelines with the IT department having full control over the process. 

Cloud data integration also allows companies to migrate cloud and on-premise data at a rapid speed to cloud warehouses and lakes.

Finance

Using cloud data integration tools, finance teams can create seamless and automated processes for themselves. These facilitate easy access to financial planning, procurement, billing, ERP, and analytics apps and data while reducing error and enhancing time-to-value.

Important tasks of the accounting team, such as invoice processing, expense management, budget creation, and month-end closing reports, can also be automated with this integration.

Sales

Even the sales team can make the most of cloud integration as it lets them offer a better customer experience. It allows them access to data and apps from their CRM, customer service, marketing, and sales tools. It thus improves customer acquisition, loyalty and retention, and revenue rate to a great extent. 

Whether it is customer onboarding or offboarding, order fulfillment, delivery process, or payment collection, the benefit of cloud integration can be seen everywhere.

Marketing

Marketing

With this process, businesses can streamline marketing workflows. It enables the marketing team to gain 360° visibility of the customers and perform hyper-personalized campaigns that can deliver a wholesome experience to the prospects.

This process can automate lead capturing from every touchpoint and sync them across all the tools and channels of your organization. Also, lead routing and management, marketing campaign optimization, real-time reporting, and analytics are other tasks where cloud data integration plays a big role.

Human Resources

Cloud data integration is not only helpful for customers. Companies can also utilize it to offer their current and new employees a modern, seamless experience. 

This process puts data from IT, HR, finance, payroll, and talent management systems in one place. Thus, employees can get a streamlined experience, regardless of working in a remote, office, or hybrid environment. 

Moreover, it also helps with tasks like employee data management, people analytics, recruitment automation, employee performance tracking, and time & leave management.

Tools 

Despite some challenges, there is a growing demand among businesses to implement cloud data integration. Different platforms help companies connect, manage, and integrate data from different cloud storage. Here are some top cloud data integration tools you should try.

Hevo Data

Hevo Data is an end-to-end cloud data integrator using which companies can pull data from the sources and move it to 15+ destinations, including SaaS apps, warehouses, databases, and other places. 

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This zero-maintenance platform supports more than 150 connectors so that companies get more flexibility in terms of data integration. You can make your cloud data analytics-ready using its no-code UI in a few minutes. 

This platform has a fault-tolerant architecture that offers minimum latency, end-to-end encryption, and 24×7 support. Businesses, analysts, and scientists — everyone can benefit from this data pipeline platform for using data effortlessly.

Dell Boomi

If you are looking for an intelligent integration platform to connect your apps and automate business workflows, Dell Boomi is the tool you must try. This low-code platform has a drag-and-drop visual UI that automatically increases the team’s efficiency.

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Boomi offers you features such as intelligent integration mapping, error testing and solution, configuration, data discovery, and friction elimination. It connects you quickly with the data and thus enables you to create the right experience. 

By minimizing disruptions and risks, this tool helps you accelerate new business models while saving time and money at the same time.

SnapLogic 

SnapLogic allows any business to automate its ecosystem, which includes applications, data warehouses, devices, databases, APIs, etc. Using it, you can create a quick and flawless flow of data across your organization. 

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Users can also utilize this tool for application integration, API management and development, and data automation. This platform makes code-free integrations possible with its pre-built connections named Snaps. 

It supports more than 600 Snaps, so you can easily create workflows involving cross-functional work groups. The category of Snaps includes Analytics, Big Data, API, database, enterprise, IoT, SaaS, on-premise, and ERP.

Wrapping Up

As the world is gradually shifting into the cloud environment, integrating the data will play a bigger role in big data analysis, BI, advanced analytics, and data governance in the future. 

We expect the cloud data integration platforms will update themselves by overcoming the performance challenges. Companies can use the tools mentioned above to make the most of this technology and its attractive features.

To know more about cloud technology, check out cloud computing and cloud service models.