Insights

Cloud Control – When More than One could be a Crowd!

WHAT WE THINK...


Too many cloud applications can quickly lead us to the same level of complexity as managing multiple On-Premise applications. Adding more cloud apps to your enterprise IT ecosystem may be too much of a good thing.

The CRM cloud application (It could be Salesforce, Oracle Sales Cloud, or MS Dynamics, etc) is normally at the centre of your solution. Typical challenges we see in maintaining these alongside multiple ‘edge’ cloud apps:

  • Integrations and Data Migrations: Many ‘edge’ cloud apps use a custom object for the same CRM entity (for example, a custom object to hold Account or Customer Information, Product Data, etc.. which are also present in the base CRM application.)

There is a common need to “integrate” between the CRM object definition and the cloud app’s customer object definitions. This approach increases integration and data migration costs and results in unnecessary replication of data.

  • Upgrades: Many cloud app vendors tout their frequent release cycles as a testament to their pace of innovation. As a result, there is the rising cost of incessant cycles of testing, releases, and user training.
  • The value of your data
  • Environment cloning and migrations: Each cloud app comes with its unique installation and migration procedures. A strong system admin team is required to clone environments for Development, QA, UAT and Production. Each application could have a different set of code and processes to be installed.
  • Technology Stack to build the Cloud App: Is it native force.com, java, .Net, or another custom language? Does the Cloud app include components (such as configurator or pricing engines) that are built using different languages or residing in a separate cloud?
  • Process-related Data Migration: ‘Lead-to-Contract’ is one of the processes where data mapping needs to occur between many objects such as Lead to Opportunity, Opportunity to Quote, Quote to Order, Order to Contract, Asset to Quote, etc. Custom workflows to enable the mappings and flows result in high implementation and maintenance costs.

Many of the cloud vendors have ignored these challenges, whilst a few are addressing these issues (and rightly so!). So when you’re looking for a cloud solution ask the vendor if they have done the following:

  • Pre-built end-to-end, industry-specific CRM apps reducing the need to manage and maintain multiple cloud apps.
  • Focused at the outset on the integrations and data migrations, building adapters for most common on-premise applications.
  • Offer a ‘CRM’ object-first guarantee. As a result, they would not replicate any objects released by the CRM vendor, either pre-existing or in the future. In addition, their apps guarantee compatibility with the CRM native objects.
  • Provide tools to facilitate Process-centric data migration through declarative mapping between any objects in the CRM instance.

Takeaways:

  • The marginal benefit of installing a new cloud app vis-à-vis the existing on-premise app requires careful consideration. Keeping the on-premise application may not be a bad decision after all!.
  • Just because the edge app is built natively on the same platform as the CRM application doesn't mean there is no integration and data migration effort.
  • Detailed understanding of the integrations involved. The existence of some APIs is just table stakes; use of those APIs to integrate and load data is where heavy lifting is necessary. Check for existence of tools and solutions to address these.
  • Check on the excessive use of custom objects to store data that is already stored in the CRM native object.

If you’d like to know more about which cloud vendors we think are taking the right approach then please get in touch.

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