As software as a service becomes increasingly sought-after, professional service firms are starting to look at how to integrate new cloud-based products with their existing on premise infrastructure.
Experts are predicting that it won’t be long before the majority of professional services firms move all (or most) of their data to cloud servers. And, according to the statistics, “organisations are right to feel confident that incorporating SaaS into their day-to-day functions will provide a return on investment”.
But, it’s not always possible for a firm to move everything to the cloud, often due to regulatory issues or because of a hefty investment in their current setup. In response, many businesses are now looking at the feasibility of making cloud applications work as part of a well-developed IT architecture.
However, simply bolting-on cloud computing to an existing on premise system isn’t going to cut it. In fact, if not done properly this approach can lead to greater data silos and more complicated processes – they very things that SaaS exists to eradicate! So, if you want to maximise the power of the cloud, and continue to use (and improve) your existing systems, proper integration is essential.
Of course, creating and managing an integrated solution with a logical network topology and compatibility across infrastructure can prove complicated for many in-house IT teams. Security concerns need to be addressed, and timescales for amalgamation considered (unlike a straightforward SaaS solution that can be up and running very quickly).
As a result, law firms, accountants and recruiters need to think carefully about how best to bring devices, applications, and data sources together. And, in most cases, it’s better to find a trusted partner who can manage this for you if you want to be savvy about how to leverage SaaS and achieve the best possible results.
32% cite integration between SaaS and on-premises legacy applications as a top concern when it comes to deploying cloud computing
So, what should you consider when considering an integrated cloud solution for your firm?
Understandably, security is a concern for cloud users. And, while storing data onsite can be riskier than a modern cloud-based solution, integration does add to the challenge. So, be sure to ask any potential provider about how data will be encrypted, shared and accessed without compromising on safety.
There are many integration solutions (often out of the box) that can help with basic connectivity setups, but they are often not flexible or sophisticated enough to handle more complex requirements. And, even where the technology is there, firms often don’t have the strategic knowledge necessary to know how all their infrastructure, processes, and data can and should work together. So, here again, having a partner to manage this for you could prove invaluable.
Someone needs to look after your IT infrastructure on a daily basis. For primarily cloud-based firms, this is usually done by a service provider, while on premise solutions are often managed by an in-house team. It’s worth asking your provider, not only whether they understand how to create an integrated setup, but how they would manage it once up-and-running.
The integration of existing IT structures with SaaS is not as cheap as using cloud-based software alone. And it can take time for any ROI to start appearing. However, it is possible to reduce the longer-term expenditure (and potential headache) of integration by ensuring the work is planned correctly and carried out by a highly skilled cloud consulting firm.
Find out more about the benefits of a hybrid approach to the hosted desktop.
In spite of the daunting challenges of integration, this way of working is on the rise. And, if you want to capitalise on the power of cloud while continuing to benefit from your existing infrastructure, we can design an integrated solution that works for you. To find out how we can help your firm, speak to a member of our team on 01942 263 434 today.
 Saugatuck Technology