"Our perspective is that it's irrational to think that someone will go to work on Friday and all their work will be on-prem, and then they come into work on Monday and everything will be in the cloud," said Mike Ehrenberg, Microsoft Technical Fellow with Microsoft Business Solutions. "People are going to live with assets in both places for a long time."
Unless organizations have a plan in place, tying these disparate services and the on-premise component together can turn into an integration and orchestration nightmare, said White and Briggs.
"Integration, master data management and enterprise architecture have historically served as the linchpins in modern IT shops--a role that has only recently become more important with the adoption of multiple cloud solutions," they said. "As more functional business leaders independently subscribe to cloud offerings outside of the trappings of traditional IT, underlying business processes can become riddled with multiple cloud players that the organization itself must integrate and orchestrate. As a result, much of the "IT-free" value proposition can dissipate at the enterprise level."
Some organizations are turning to cloud services brokerages (CSBs) to deal with this problem. Gartner described just such an example in Case Study: Mohawk Fine Papers Uses a CSB to Ease Adoption of Cloud Computing, released in July 2011. Mohawk, the largest premium paper manufacturer in North America, has an IT staff of six, but needed to create an SOA-based backplane to support interoperability among all its internal and external applications, services and data.
"Mohawk considered a number of alternatives focused on cloud services integration because of its adoption of cloud computing, including providers of integration appliances and integration platform as a service," said Gartner Analyst Benoit Lheureux. "Citing concerns with the capital expense of integration products and its reluctance to hire more IT staff to do integration work, Mohawk decided to outsource all its integration work."
Mohawk chose to work with Liaison, an aggregator and orchestrator of cloud services that was able to manage the relationships and interdependencies required, leaving the back-end complexity transparent to Mohawk. Liaison provides Mohawk with on-premises integration, supply chain integration for its 300 customers and 100 suppliers and other external e-commerce partners and with intermediation of all its third-party cloud services providers.