Cloud Integration Matters

Cloud Integration Matters Leonardo Hodgson looks at the challenge of cloud integration and explains how Cerillion Skyline can help your company to avoid a common pitfall when deploying enterprise SaaS applications.

Adoption of enterprise cloud applications is growing rapidly as businesses of all types and sizes are attracted by the promise of reduced costs and improved time-to-market. However, to achieve sustained benefit from cloud apps requires careful planning in order to avoid propagating the age old problem of data silos that has plagued IT departments for many years.

It sounds contradictory to suggest that employing ubiquitous cloud-based services could also result in data isolation, but it does happen to businesses that are not fully prepared. This is usually caused by one or more factors such as technical limitations of the chosen solutions, lack of implementation framework or simply as a result of company culture. For example, separate departments or teams within a large corporation may choose and implement different SaaS applications according to their needs – creating the so-called shadow IT. This inevitably results in remote repositories of data – cloud silos – leading to fragmentation of business processes and inefficient business operations.

Furthermore, companies with hybrid IT infrastructure (mixing public/private cloud and on-premise applications) face an even greater integration challenge to reconcile and integrate information flows across various different technologies.  

Integration is not a new challenge; however cloud technology brings a new set of integration options which must be carefully considered when building out your front and back office systems. Here we look at the key tools offered by Cerillion Skyline that enable efficient integration with other business systems and processes without the risk of generating those dreaded data silos.

Secure REST API

REST is probably the most popular and straightforward way to organise interactions between cloud systems. This web services interface, supported by most of the major applications like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and also business apps such as Salesforce and Amazon Web Services, is available for developers to build, test and prove the capabilities and connectivity between their solutions and Cerillion Skyline.
 
Skyline’s intuitive REST APIs receive and respond to JSON HTTPS requests, providing secure and full programmatic access to the key billing and subscription management objects: Product Catalogue, Customers, Accounts, Subscriptions, Financial Transactions, Bills and Usage.
 
Webhooks

Skyline offers a flexible set of event-triggered system notifications that can be used to automatically update other systems or provision services in real-time. When a specified event occurs, Skyline can send an HTTP POST request with all the relevant data to the configured endpoint URL, allowing your business to automate and orchestrate complex service scenarios based on a wide variety of business events from the billing system.
 
For example, Skyline’s webhooks can be used to update an entitlements platform when an online subscription is sold, cancelled or expired; to notify an accounting package when a payment is received or failed; or to update a CRM system when account details are changed.
 
Usage
 
Skyline supports three different options to receive usage records from other systems in order to rate and bill for pay-per-use pricing models:
•    API: Offered as part of Skyline’s REST API package, this interface can be used to automate the usage feed by sending consumption records instantly for rating.
•    CSV File: Administrators can upload usage files via the user interface at any time.
•    Full Mediation: Cerillion also offers a flexible mediation system that can automatically receive, validate and transform records into Skyline’s native usage format.
 
Data Management
 
To provide more options when managing and integrating data with offline or legacy systems, Skyline supports bulk data management functions using both CSV and XML file formats. This functionality offers a fast and powerful means to import and export application data including: Product Catalogue, Customers (customers, accounts and subscriptions), Bills and all Financial Transactions (payments, adjustments and charges).
 
Online Commerce
 
For end-to-end ecommerce support, Skyline also comes with a set of connectors to a wide range of Payment Processors enabling online card payments as well as PayPal and Direct Debit, with seamless integration options to collect sensitive payment information via online sales channels.
 
Integration is one of the crucial elements to consider with any enterprise cloud application in order to ensure streamlined business processes and to avoid recreating the modern version of data silos. At Cerillion, we’ve been delivering enterprise software solutions for more than 15 years and have combined this rich heritage with the latest cloud technology to ensure Cerillion Skyline will integrate seamlessly into your business.
 
Find out more about Cerillion Skyline.