The Role of Cloud Integration in Fostering IT Agility Share December 22 2016 Network Backbone When someone mentions cloud integration, it conjures up different images in the minds of different people. Some might instantly think of massive environment retooling and the nightmares that come with it. Others may have a more optimistic outlook as they dream of turnkey virtual environments with near-limitless scalability. The truth lies somewhere in between. Cloud integration will make your IT infrastructure flexible and future-proof. The Best of Both Worlds Establishing a comprehensive cloud integration strategy is more important than some would think. The reason for this is quite simple: The cloud is the future, and in many ways, the present — at least in terms of IT. You probably don't need to be evangelized to believe in the benefits of a cloud infrastructure. In fact, even the most cloud-averse likely dabble in some form of cloud technology without even knowing it. Due to the scalability, low hardware investment, and robust nature of cloud infrastructure, companies are searching for ways to assimilate cloud technologies in greater numbers than ever before. A recent MarketWatch integration report helps paint a picture of just how important this integration is to modern business. According to the detailed report — 129 pages if you're looking for your next novel — system integration is expected to balloon into a $387 billion market by 2021, up from the $270 billion market it is today. Digging a little deeper, the study discovered that integration with the cloud specifically would have the highest compound annual growth rate over that same period. Coincidence? Not likely. Instead, this impressive growth is fueled by the need for modern business to find a truly flexible infrastructure that can accommodate the deluge of modern technological innovation. Riding the Wave of Cloud Integration This predicted surge in cloud integration over the coming years begs the question: How exactly does one marry cloud services with traditional infrastructure? The key is to take things one step at a time. The following are some tips for taking full advantage of your integration without getting in over your head: Stay in Scope: As you begin to shift focus from a traditional communications system (the present) to cloud-based systems (the future), be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. The end goal is an infrastructure that will more easily adapt to the ebb and flow of IT technology, not to overhaul existing systems that already work. Start Small: It's a good idea to shoot for some manageable, low-hanging fruit for your first integration. Things such as office communication and collaboration are often good test beds for cloud integration. As you continue to add each of these building blocks of cloud services, be sure to keep the goal of agility and flexibility in mind. If a block doesn't directly contribute to your goal, it should raise a red flag. Practice Smart Spending: Another equally important gem of wisdom to keep in mind is the concept of manageability. With so many aspects of cloud infrastructure available today, you'll need to resist the urge to splurge, so to speak. Settle on a single vendor or platform as you begin to marry traditional infrastructure with cloud services. This will prevent the need to manage an unnecessary amount of disparate services while also protecting you from wasted resources in service overlap. Ultimately, people don't (and shouldn't) look to cloud services as the be-all and end-all of an IT strategy. Instead, cloud technology is simply a means to an end, with that end being an effectively flexible and robust environment capable of assimilating to the future of IT while maintaining the past. If you envision your ideal IT strategy as flexible and robust, contact a Vonage Business representative to get started.