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Hybrid Cloud Solutions Bring Together Systems of Record and Engagement

Photo Illustration by David Arky

In this era of digital transformation, enabled and driven by emerging new technologies, businesses are racing to innovate. They’re under pressure to quickly deliver new applications and services or risk getting left behind.

  These new applications  often must leverage real-time insights into business operations and customer behavior. Whether systems of engagement (SoEs) have superseded systems of record (SoRs) is debated, but the reality is neither can function without the other. SoRs and SoEs must work together, and that’s done via hybrid cloud solutions.

“Born-on-the-cloud developers may be shaking things up in the tech world and innovating in ways we’ve never seen before by creating new and exciting SoEs, but they still must leverage core business data stored on traditional SoRs and IBM Power Systems* to deliver truly engaging and timely customer experiences,” says Alise Spence, Power Systems cloud offerings manager, IBM Systems.

A Balanced Combination

Thousands of companies have SoRs—traditional IT infrastructures that host critical business data on highly secure, reliable and scalable servers on-premises, according to Spence (ibm.co/291SjVI). These hold the keys to core back-end data that can power front-end, dynamic SoEs, such as those offered to customers on mobile devices off-premises. SoRs store troves of core business intelligence, such as financial data, user buying patterns and contact information. This repository of data can be exposed to SoEs securely and seamlessly with APIs and connector services to enable developers to innovate and rapidly build and deliver real-time services of value.

“A year ago, there was a lot of discussion among pundits and technology leaders that organizations should make a wholesale move of all on-premises infrastructure to the cloud,” Spence says. “At first glance, the cloud appeared like a panacea of ubiquitous, low-cost compute and storage, requiring no outlay of capital expense. By contrast, on-site infrastructure was seen as costly to both own and manage.

“Hybrid cloud solutions are helping established businesses, organizations and institutions keep up with the demands of the modern consumer and the digital world while enabling them to control their data and allowing them to utilize it in new ways.”
—Alise Spence, Power Systems cloud offerings manager, IBM Systems

“But a more moderate approach is now being adopted by most established organizations: a balanced combination of on-premises infrastructure in their data center and some services and workloads located off-premises in the cloud.” For example, in the banking industry, new mobile applications are written in a cloud-native manner but are powered by information storedin the SoR’s data center on-premises.

Safe Travels

Customers can integrate data between systems through Bluemix*, an IBM platform-as-a-service offering. Bluemix is a rapid application environment that allows developers to simply and quickly build composite applications from a variety of services to access data and services on back-end SoRs. These API Connector tools enable developers to connect to a range of endpoints and expose and manage them as APIs for use within applications. The secure gateway service supports APIs with an encrypted tunnel for moving data safely between environments. This enables faster access to critical business data, allowing developers to focus on creating new applications and services.

“Developers can quickly deliver and iterate on new functions using API integration and microservices while keeping sensitive business data securely managed in their own data center,” Spence explains. “Businesses can get the best of both worlds: the speed and agility of modern application development tools and services, and the continued safety, security and performance of data stored in the data center and managed by their IT teams.”

Juliet Stott is a freelance journalist based in York, England.

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