On Wednesday, March 20, 2018, Salesforce announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire MuleSoft for approximately $6.5 billion. Salesforce indicates that MuleSoft will power what it is calling its new “Salesforce integration cloud.”
That is a great vision and promise. It is one that we enthusiastically support. The best news? The Integration Cloud is available today. It’s been here for more than a decade. It’s called Boomi.
In 2008 Boomi pioneered the integration cloud market. For years the Boomi Integration Cloud has been a huge part of Salesforce’s success in helping businesses make the most of its revolutionary CRM platform. In fact, our 1,500+ joint Salesforce customers alone are more than the total number of MuleSoft customers.
For Salesforce customers and the rest of the industry, Boomi is the leader in the evolution of the integration cloud, consistently ranking at the top of key industry market assessments and adding more than seven customers a day while recording one of the industry’s lowest churn rates. Clearly, the market is telling us we are on the right path.
The Core Characteristics of the Integration Cloud
Our success is based on an unwavering focus on our customers — listening to what they need and building an integration cloud that helps them meet their most important business goals. From our customers, we know that there are four characteristics essential to an integration cloud. It must be cloud-native, open, low-code and provide a unified platform of capabilities that address the full scope of integration challenges facing today’s digital businesses. This is how Boomi customers are building their connected businesses.
The vast majority of IT is moving to the cloud. The economic reasons for this are clear. The cloud eliminates massive capital costs and all the complexities of maintaining software on your own. But cloud-washed on-premise software that is plopped onto a server simply won’t do. Boomi’s true cloud-native platform is built on a multi-tenant, distributed architecture. This is how you deliver the full benefits of the cloud.
As far as applications go, Salesforce is virtually synonymous with cloud-native. So it is interesting that Salesforce invested in MuleSoft, an on-premise integration tool based on old enterprise service bus (ESB) models. We wonder how Salesforce will continue to drive its mantra of “no software” with an integration tool that is built with on-premise software.
An integration cloud is the core technology for connecting any and all applications and data. Implicit in this role is that an integration cloud is open and vendor-neutral.
No business can afford vendor lock-in for integration, but Salesforce will need to get a return on its investment in MuleSoft and use it to drive adoption of its many different cloud software offerings. How will Salesforce balance its corporate needs with the needs of its customers to have freedom of choice in selecting best-of-breed applications? How will it support applications from other competing vendors, including Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and others?
In many regards, low code is perhaps the essential capability of a modern integration cloud. There are certainly other options out there — tons of old legacy ESBs and new ESBs like MuleSoft. The difference between them and Boomi — what our customers tell us — is SPEED. This is the core requirement of today’s digital businesses. If you can’t move fast, you will fail.
Boomi and Salesforce have been such great partners for our mutual customers because we share the same low-code/high productivity approach. While the custom, “heavy” coding needed for MuleSoft provides a degree of extra control, it dramatically slows productivity, increases costs and introduces all kinds of complexities that are anathema to the Salesforce DNA. We wonder how Salesforce will reconcile this difference, given that speed is the ultimate business need.
Core integration — connecting applications to other applications — is where it all starts for the Boomi Integration Cloud. But as we know from listening to our customers, just connecting siloed cloud or on-premise data isn’t enough. You need to manage your data quality and synchronization among applications. So we developed our Master Data Hub to ensure the “golden record” of information across the enterprise.
And we’ve added API design and management along with B2B management capabilities to help our customers provide rapid access to data for employees and partners. Now we’ve created Boomi Flow for bringing people into the integration equation, completing the full end-to-end workflow.
We are curious to see where Salesforce goes with its integration cloud concept, since MuleSoft’s approach is one-dimensional, focused only on APIs. APIs are important, but they are only a part of the entire integration puzzle our customers tell us they are trying to solve.
The Integration Cloud for Today and Tomorrow
In the end, it’s all about unlocking the data in your business to improve operational efficiencies, automate workflows and drive digital transformation so your organization can survive and thrive in this digital era of cloud computing.
As an applications company, Salesforce has a history of struggling to integrate technologies that fall outside their core business and technology strategy. MuleSoft certainly is not a technology germane to Salesforce DNA, so we’ll be waiting to see when and how Salesforce can bring its version of the integration cloud together.
In the meantime, the leading Integration Cloud is available from Boomi today. Give us a call.
About the author: Steve Wood is Dell Boomi’s chief product officer.