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Overcoming the cloud integration challenge

Byron Connolly | April 13, 2015
Configuring multiple apps to share data in the cloud is key.

As organisations create data that is fundamentally separated from on-premise applications -- but accessible by many different services --they are reducing their reliance on core systems and starting to look at other vendor partnerships, Carlton says.

"I have been exposing my relationships with core vendors that I had built my business upon and they are no longer necessarily the people I want to work with going forward. And I am going to be looking at alternate vendors for the innovative applications," he says.

Carlton believes many organisations will start 'trading out' from an existing ERP back-end as they move into cloud service arrangements.

"For example, there are many cloud-based HR and employment solutions in the market today chipping away at vendors that offer recruitment software that runs on-premise," he says. "I would find it difficult to find a company that has its own recruitment software running on-premise. Everybody is using something like PageUp."

This means organisations no longer need that HR functionality -- along with CRM and order maintenance for example -- in their core ERP systems. Feature-rich apps and data are also being moved to the cloud but interfaced with corporate data and legacy apps at the back-end, Carlton says. In addition, the types of data and the devices and mechanisms being used to store information is changing.

"Now I need to capture video, audio and image and have these accessible through my core applications. That job ticketing system was previously just a transactional system which said 'go to Pickle St in Port Melbourne and find that piece of broken hardware'," he explains.

"Now, I am going to send them [the technician], a geospatial database and pictures of its condition the last time it was worked on. This information is not going to be held in my SQL database -- it's in the cloud and accessible on a tablet."

Seamless transition
Ajay Bhatia, CIO at, says integration between cloud apps needs to be seamless. Carsales has achieved this with a fraud checking system that sits with a cloud provider and interacts with the vehicle seller's main website.

"The user doesn't know we are doing fraud checks on them and sending it to the cloud provider to do that check," Bhatia says. "The consumer cannot know that there are five providers involved in making that page load or making that application work."

Carsales also uses Webtrends to track and improve on its website. For example, the system tracks who's clicking and ignoring certain buttons on the site, and if people will click on a button that has changed colour.

"All that information is tracked by Webtrends. That's a SaaS model -- consumers don't know that it's seamless," he says.


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