In IT as in science generally, Einstein’s maxim holds true: “Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Needless complexity creates delays and opportunity for error. If an IT organization wants to move quickly, it needs to streamline its infrastructure and operations.
Complexity was the challenge Cornell University’s IT organization faced a few years ago as it tried to adopt a cloud-first strategy. Back then, the Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) group was working with on-premise integration middleware that was complex, time-consuming, and costly. To build even a single integration with the team’s Oracle Fusion middleware system would take months.
At that near-glacial pace, the CIT would never be able to adopt and integrate newer, cloud-native applications to service its 23,000 students and 10,000 employees across 15 colleges and schools in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
Better, Faster, Simpler Application Integration
The CIT began looking for a better, faster and simpler way to integrate applications. In 2013, after investigating MuleSoft and other integration vendors, it selected Dell Boomi. Using Boomi’s low-code integration platform as a service (iPaaS), the CIT was able to build an integration with Workday, a leading cloud HR application, in a fraction of the time required for building integrations with Oracle Fusion.
“We fell in love with Boomi,” says John Parker, a lead software engineer and integrations architect with CIT. “We develop integrations with Boomi in a quarter of the time it took us before, and those integrations run three or four times faster than they did on our previous platform.”
Simplicity was a key factor in selecting Boomi. "Even with no training, we were soon rolling out integrations in days with Boomi that took months and months of development time using our previous platform," Parker says.
Numbers tell the story. Prepaid expenditure calculations required 1,200 lines of code in Oracle. CIT re-created those calculations using just nine processes in Boomi, with each process graphically represented in the Boomi drag-and-drop interface.
The transition to Boomi took just three months — four times faster than it had taken the CIT to transition from webMethods to Oracle Fusion several years earlier.
"Even with no training, we were soon rolling out integrations in days with Boomi that took months and months of development time using our previous platform." — John Parker, lead software engineer and integrations architect, Cornell University Information Technologies Group
Building a Connected Campus
Cornell’s IT Integration Competency Center (ICC) team now uses Boomi, along with other tools, to provide connectivity and data management for applications serving the Cornell community at large. These applications include:
- Salesforce for student CRM
- iModules for alumni bio-demo information
- Oracle PeopleSoft for student data of record (DoR) details
- Workday for human resources
- Blackboard for faculty and student collaboration and calendaring
- Longview for budget planning and management
- SAP Concur for expense management
- Kuali Financial System for accounting
Integrations to these critical applications run significantly faster than the ICC’s earlier integrations. For example, a payroll integration that required 2.5 hours to run in Oracle runs in just 20 minutes with Boomi — a more than 7x improvement.
And the CIT is now spending less time on support. The complex code of previous integrations was difficult to understand and maintain. Boomi processes are straightforward and much easier to understand, even for non-technical users.
“Boomi is powerful, easier to use, and a lot more flexible,” says Dennis Frederick, an integration developer at Cornell.
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Taking Boomi from the Data Center to the Classroom
In the fall of 2018, Cornell IT staff began offering a data modeling class that uses Boomi. Students have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with Boomi by integrating and augmenting data in the Tableau data visualization tool and the WhereScape data warehouse automation system.
Demand for the class is high enough that the CIT had to cap the number of students at 80. “If history is any predictor, a fair of number of students will fall in love with the concept of integrations, and, using Boomi’s curriculum, they will be Boomi-certified upon graduation,” Parker says.
The Connected Campus: Simple, Agile and Fast
The Boomi Atom architecture, along with all the capabilities in the Boomi platform, has helped Cornell adopt best-of-breed, cloud-based applications much more quickly than anyone within the organization had thought possible.
Comparing Cornell's old middleware system to Boomi, Parker notes that Boomi provides a “much more streamlined and simple upgrade path.”
This has led to Boomi being considered a foundational element for future strategic growth within the university. “Boomi is now a cornerstone for our ongoing transformation into a more connected digital campus,” says Parker.
Contact a Boomi integration expert today to learn how Boomi can help power your digital transformation efforts.
About the AuthorMore Content by Andrew Hawthorn