How to connect cloud solutions to avoid rework
You've embraced the cloud as the most agile way to run your business but nothing is connected so your records are out of sync and you're spending time entering data all over the place.
Oh, and what's the password again?
If this sounds familiar, it's time to look at end to end processes and join up systems that meet your goals.
Characteristics of agile cloud applications
1. Sign in with .....
It's a nightmare to remember different passwords for all the applications you might need, so look for applications that allow you to sign in with another service such as Google, Facebook, Office365 or your corporate password
This means you only need one password for all your applications and you can change it in one place which will reflect everywhere.
2. All-in-One solutions
Many platforms are multi-functional and you can use a single platform to support a large proportion of your business activity. Multi-functional platforms are usually more basic than specialist platforms so make sure you have all the features you need in each area before choosing this approach. Many all-in-one solutions can be extended if you outgrow the limitations in a given area of functionality and many are modular so you only pay for the components you use.
3. Off the shelf integration
If you are going to join systems together to support a process look for pre-integrated solutions.
For example your eCommerce platform should be pre-integrated to your payment gateway, your accounting system and your CRM system so that all information is up to date everywhere without any special effort on your part.
Applications that do not have an API are costly to include in automated processes. Whilst best avoided it is still possible to integrate to these systems if they have data import/export, the ability for a database connection, a notification capability. Even in the absence of all of these things, it is often still possible to integrate but certainly more costly.
For sophisticated integration a workflow capability is often required. This is normally the case if a process may involve both computer interaction and human interaction or if the process runs over a prolonged timeframe. Workflow may be embedded in specific cloud applications or sit across the top of multiple cloud applications depending on what needs to be accomplished.
With complex cloud managed processes involving multiple applications you may find it difficult to keep track of things. A management dashboard that allows workload to be visualised can help provide manageability across a portfolio of disparate cloud applications.