In world history, 15 years may be the mere blink of an eye, but in the fast-moving IT world, it’s a virtual lifetime. In 2005, YouTube came online. Google Maps was launched. And Shop.org coined the phrase "Cyber Monday."
That same year, Boomi Community Champion Brian Brinley started working at timeshare provider Bluegreen Vacations. In his ensuing decade and a half with the company, Brinley learned about the evolving power of data integration, in part through his enthusiastic participation in the Boomi Community.
This past summer he underwent a change of his own, joining Salesforce consultants GearsCRM as an integration architect.
We recently spoke with Brinley about his career as an integration architect, his champion participation in the Boomiverse, and his insights from his 15 years of experience.
In your new position at GearsCRM, how are you working with Boomi?
Brian Brinley: I was hired to help build out the integration ecosystem. That’s where we advise clients on how to integrate into Salesforce and other systems from cloud to cloud. If they already have a Boomi installation, the question is how we can streamline and optimize that, and build out solutions.
We're currently helping an online automotive marketplace integrate its platforms. We’ve seen them start from not knowing Boomi to quickly becoming fluent in the tool and how the engines work. That’s been a fun experience.
How does that build on the work you did at your previous job at Bluegreen Vacations?
Brian Brinley: My course has definitely evolved. I started on the development side as a front-end guy, but quickly realized that what really makes the engine run is integration. So I got interested in the service layer. We were originally a .NET shop and eventually built 80 APIs, which we realized was not sustainable. So we started looking at some of the platforms that other companies in Florida were using.
When we discovered Boomi, we saw that the company had thrown out the old playbook and approached integration in a refreshing and much easier way. I realized that configuration rather than coding is going to be the new way of life. No matter what the solutions are, data needs to move around, and it needs to move quickly and reliably.
After that, we spent a ton of our time building out our internal infrastructure and working with the Boomi support team, engineers and architects. It was fantastic. The platform is constantly evolving, and Boomi was willing to share knowledge about the underlying engine and help our deployments. That included converting all of our legacy APIs to Boomi, which was a huge milestone for us. We launched one API that essentially tripled our overhead. The Boomi team provided insights and best practices, and when we had those major releases, they were on call and ready to help us.
Some of our projects were fairly complex. In one, we had to get real-time data from a dozen or so different systems, including credit card authorization and processing. Working on projects like that, I got to see the platform evolve, work closely with the Boomi team and understand how the engine really works. In our last architectural review, the overall outcome had relatively small changes; that was a good feeling, because it showed that everyone was on the same page.
We’ve rebranded and enhanced our Boomi community site with new features and functionality — welcome to the Boomiverse!
You’re quite active in the Boomi Community. How does that help you with your day-to-day work?
Brian Brinley: One of the greatest things about the Boomiverse is that members share unique problems that I simply couldn't think of on my own. Every time I turn around, somebody’s asking a question I never thought of. It gives me a great sort of mental puzzle to figure out how we can create a solution using the simplicity of the Boomi Platform.
Also, I’ve made really great contacts with some incredibly smart people. It’s been fantastic meeting people in the User Groups and seeing some of the local resources, the diversity of industries that are using Boomi and how they've approached integrating their cloud offerings. People are using a wide variety of different clouds, and I might not have figured out some of the solutions if I hadn’t been active in the community. Community members have also shared some really creative approaches to common patterns, such as database contention.
Also, as a user I tend to gravitate toward the knowledge articles. They’ve been helpful. People are contributing ideas, too. So on the forums, sometimes people from Boomi will say, “That’s not available now, but it’s a great idea.” From there, it can actually go to fruition.
Events are important, too. I attended this year’s Boomi World, and we had a nice community group meeting. It was fantastic to meet everybody and discuss some of our Boomi projects. While I like learning from my local user group in Miami, I’m just as interested in learning how someone is solving an interesting challenge in, say, the Netherlands.
Looking ahead to the next couple of years, what do you expect to see on the integration front?
Brian Brinley: The world is moving toward event-driven architectures. While they’ve existed for some time, more and more the world is revolving around this.
People today can’t wait for data to be replicated. They want it shipped to where they need it as quickly as possible, so they can get insights as quickly as possible. This ability to be agile is the key. You can no longer wait six months to build integrations.
So from an integration perspective, the question is: How can we respond and send data between systems when the data doesn’t conform?
The world of analytics is built on old data. Look at any of the solutions in data warehousing, and they all use stagnant data. That’s good for historical analysis, but increasingly what companies want is real-time analytics. The only way you’re going to do that is to start capturing data closer to real time. Tools like Boomi make it possible to hook into those real-time events. I think that’s going to be vital and critical, because event-driven architectures are the future.
Based on your experience, both with Boomi and the Boomiverse, do you have any tips for other community members?
Brian Brinley: Yes, the hardest part of development is making a process simple. On the one hand, it’s easy to cut out things. But we also have a tendency to overcomplicate our solutions. So when someone comes to you and says, “We need to port this application,” first ask whether it still needs to be done. Perpetuating chaos doesn’t help! So keep it simple. Reach out to the community and see what other people have done. There are lots of great examples in the process library.
Decoupling your processes is often the key. Take one process that works really well, and decouple it so that it can be run over and over again.
Remember the old 80/20 rule. Here, you should be solving 80 percent of your solutions with the main process, and only deviating on the 20 percent where it’s absolutely necessary.
Use the tools from Boomi to build the separation, the decoupling and the reusability of components.
And keep up with the community updates, because the tools are constantly evolving. New features mean the extra work you have to do now may no longer be necessary in just a couple of months.
Discover the power of community: Check out the Boomiverse today!
The Boomiverse is the go-to location for our customers. It’s where they find answers to their questions, learn how to get the most from the Boomi Platform, and engage with peers to understand the best approaches to their integration challenges.
Throughout the year, we recognize the most active and helpful individuals in this group — our Community Champions. These leaders set the standard for how Community members can contribute and cultivate a rich conversation that helps everyone become better at integration.
If you enjoyed reading about Brian Brinley's professional experience as an integration architect, see our full set of Community Champion profiles.
About the AuthorMore Content by Peter Krass