Let’s talk cloud today. Are you sick of hearing about the cloud? Do you know what it is? Where is it?
Well, you don’t really have to know. Wikipedia has a long article on cloud computing and lists all the various aspects, types of clouds and tons of other details. Today we just want to talk about a particular aspect: getting data into and out of a cloud based application. What are the complications that are encountered with cloud applications?
First, let’s look at getting information into the cloud application. You have several options:
- Plain old login and data entry
- API integrations
- Batch imports
If you think about it, plain old login and data entry hasn’t changed much since the mainframe days of 25 years ago. Oh sure, you have a much prettier interface and much faster response, but it is basically the same. Users probably didn’t know where the mainframe was back then and they sure don’t know where the cloud application is running today.
Making Login Easy
But getting into the cloud application may be more difficult today. The everyday use of computer applications in business has also led to a proliferation of opportunities for you to think up new login names and passwords! Everyone enjoys that right? Management rolls out a new cloud application for everyone to use and you get to manage another password that times out regularly and can’t be re-used. Fortunately, in most cases there are ways around that, such as domain-wide authentication and single sign on. Many cloud applications, and Journyx is one, may be configured to use the customer’s native authentication. That native authentication – what you probably use to log in to your desktop at work – can be integrated with the cloud application so you use the same login and password.
Even better, in efforts to reduce the number of different places users have to log in, many companies are deploying “single sign on” solutions. A single sign on means that you sign on once – maybe to your desktop – and after that you can access local and cloud applications without individual logins on those applications. The Journyx cloud also supports single sign on.
Getting Data into the Cloud
Ok, so we can make login easy in the cloud, how about getting my data in there? In many cases, plain old data entry is fine. But there are other options. What about having your computer do it for you? Integrating via an API – Application Programming Interface – allows remote access to a cloud application through a programmatic interface. In the case of the Journyx cloud application, your IT staff might utilize this type of thing to update user attributes, import projects or do any number of data add/remove/update operations to keep the information up to date. Batch imports from a flat file or spreadsheet containing well-structured information is another option, but it is usually a manual operation that someone has to perform on a regular basis.
Many of you will be thinking: I’m still talking 90’s technology. Today it’s all about mobile. The release of the iPhone not even 10 years ago is still changing our lives and how we do business. In many cases today cloud applications are made expressly for mobile, so mobile entry is not an issue. Journyx supports both mobile web and native access and soon will be supporting not only common entries like time and expense, but will allow approvers to approve or reject on mobile.
In part 2, I’ll talk about getting your data out of the cloud.