Cloud-based Data is Unified, Not Integrated - Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: Coveo

Diane Berry (Profile)
Monday, January 28th 2013

For a business leader, the cloud has emerged as a revolutionary delivery platform for its scalability, flexibility and freedom to place a company’s most powerful IT assets in the hands of any user, easily and cost-effectively. Some of these benefits have translated to the IT department as well: the cloud’s subscription model, no long-term commitments, easy deployment, low cost of ownership, no capital to invest, etc. However, one of the cloud’s caveats is its contribution to a fragmented and chaotic data environment. It’s a challenge which we predict will become increasingly remedied this year – but it won’t be done in a fashion that many in IT might think.

The reality is that cloud environments pose one of the biggest knowledge gaps facing companies today, as data within cloud-based systems adds additional chaos among systems that can house critical information. With the amount of data doubling every 18 months, cloud-based systems create additional repositories where knowledge may be lost.

IT has traditionally handled this problem through integration – that’s been a very complicated, time-consuming and expensive task. In a fragmented and heterogeneous environment, enterprises should resist the temptation to migrate data to a central cloud-based system. The more data moves around, the more complicated it becomes to find again. And we’ve all learned from experience that systems of record never really contain the “only” record, as employees who have trouble finding information in it will copy data and save it to their own desktops for easy access. Unfortunately, they miss updates and often then use the wrong information. Plus, data simply proliferates outside the system of record, for many good reasons. Different processes, point solutions, employee-activated cloud solutions, the list grows.

This year, enterprises will begin taking new approaches to consolidate their cloud-based information. They will find that the multitude of solutions and cloud-based repositories will not need to be integrated – instead, they will start talking to each other through unified indexing.

In this model, fragments of information are assembled on demand and served up to operational users. Google and Yahoo have transformed the consumer world in aggregating, consolidating and unifying information from the world’s websites into one index. Now enterprises are taking the same approach to bring cloud-based systems into their overall knowledge ecosystem. Starting next year, every document an executive needs on any platform can be instantly organized, indexed and searchable just as consumers search the Web. This type of environment is where the cloud’s hidden knowledge can be extracted.

The proliferation of data found in cloud-based environments is not going to stop. In fact, it’s going to expand exponentially. This year, if enterprises begin to adopt new methods of extracting and correlating data from these systems, then their ability to access important customer, prospect or research knowledge will only become greater.