Peer pressure is insidious because most people want to be on trend. There’s no other way to explain why anyone ever wore crocs. Most of the time, the consequences to following the crowd aren’t a big deal (like buying a snazzy exercise machine that now holds laundry). But when it comes to software, things get confusing.
So, if all the cool kids use MuleSoft, should you?
In this Accelerize360 after-school special, we’ll answer all your questions about this integration platform, so you can make a smart choice instead of going with the flow.
Without an integration platform, businesses connect their tools with custom point-to-point integrations. For example, a wealth management firm might use Salesforce as a CRM and a wealth management system like Black Diamond. A point-to-point connection would allow those two systems to communicate, increasing efficiency.
Chances are this is your current strategy. Just because it’s old-school doesn’t mean it’s bad. Of course, the more systems need to be connected, the more complex and unmanageable the result. Then, if something breaks, all systems are affected and it’s hard to track down the source of the problem.
Every company is unique, so this question is tricky. We recommend business leaders assess how many systems they use today as well as planned growth to determine how many connections are necessary.
MuleSoft doesn’t come cheap – being cool never does – so buying it likely wouldn’t make sense for a company with only one or two systems. On the other hand, the more technology tools a business uses, the more significant the cost and time savings with an integration platform.
Still, there’s no hard and fast rule. A company could employ one system with 100 functions (we’re looking at you, SAP) or four systems that accomplish one small task.
Telling you what to do wouldn’t be very hip.
Companies can also consider an ETL (“extracting, transforming and loading data”) tool. Examples include Jitterbit, Informatica and Stitch. These tools are excellent at moving data between systems. If the data isn’t time-sensitive and doesn’t need to be exposed to a mobile or web application, an ETL tool can be as sensible as RSVP-ing to a hot party.
MuleSoft is attractive for businesses that prioritize speed and out-of-the-box connections. In some cases, connecting MuleSoft to a third-party is done just by entering a username and password. This integration platform can be especially useful for companies looking to give their customer experience a groovy makeover.
For instance, a banking business might be connected to Salesforce and a marketing automation tool like Marketo. To stay trendy, this company is rolling out a mobile app. Now, customers can login, view their accounts, transfer funds and submit service requests. Traditionally, such an app would need to be connected to both Salesforce and Marketo. Yet with an integration platform, the bank should only need one connection to the middleware.
MuleSoft would work well in the aforementioned example because it’s more flexible, so the data would be more up-to-date. Meanwhile, an ETL tool could struggle with speedy performance.
The reason why this tool has the most friends is that it can accomplish the same things as an ETL, plus some nifty bonuses.
The most important distinction is that ETLs can’t connect to any API available for third-party tools, while MuleSoft uses an API layer. These connections to popular systems mean that companies can leverage what others have done, without reinventing the wheel.
To illuminate why an API layer is such a big deal, let’s consider an airline business. Rebel Flights has a giant database, which prospective customers can access on the company website. But most customers prefer to search for flight details on aggregator sites like Expedia or Google. Rebel Flights would use MuleSoft to build a connector that exposes their data to these aggregator sites, thereby gaining access to a broader customer base.
It works both ways. In this scenario, Expedia could also use MuleSoft to access the Rebel Flights API. Sometimes companies need to expose their data in order to be happenin’.
There’s great potential for this functionality in the insurance industry, where brokers could aggregate policy quotes from many different carriers, effortlessly.
A cool kid like you can take it from here. We hope these details help you arrive at the best decision, regardless of what’s trending.
Depending on your company’s specific needs, technical considerations can get a lot more detailed. If you still feel lost, you can sit at our lunch table.