I thought it quite timely, while at our Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit, that a bunch of cloud –types talked shop about how they plan to make your life easier when it comes to data integration. Here is the article: Integrating data for cloud and core apps the task is to make it suck less. My colleague, John Radcliffe, wrote on this a few months ago (The Impact of Social and Other ‘Big Data’ on Master Data Management, June 2012) from the perspective of Master Data Management. Master data will, of course, be at the center of many such data integration efforts.
The rub of the story is that there are no quick fixes. The core problem remains the same. You have a data model (or many), and the app-in-the-cloud vendor has a data model (or many), and you have to map semantically to make the integration work. And you could consider using a 3rd party data standard to map each too and so on. In other words, the choices you faced when you had total control and were doing this for apps inside your organizations are basically the same – only now you have less control. Now you have the same work to do (or someone does) and you have to be better at negotiating SLA’s to make sure you get the support you need when you get the, “well, that request was not in the contract, sir”, and “we can do that, but we need to set up a project to understand your ‘new’ requirements”. Etc.
And it gets even more complicated once you add in a second cloud app provider – it’s another moving part. I guess it will get more complex for a while, until and if the use of semantic web technologies are embedded in the semantic enterprise.