If we ever needed proof that APIs alone will not get the job done, that can been seen with the announcement that Salesforce has acquired MuleSoft.

Salesforce is a recognized pioneer in providing cloud-based SaaS solutions, all of which require close integration into a company’s other internal or external (software) services. Over the past years, MuleSoft has become a rising star on the API management and (ESB style) service orchestration market. Their idea of an application network attracted more than 1,000 customers, derived from an established and widely adopted open source product.

After 20 years in the industry, spending a significant share of my professional career automating and digitalizing our customers’ business processes, I always wondered how a pure-play API management system could address the needs of executing business processes in a controlled and manageable fashion.

It is extremely tempting to believe that by defining, providing and consuming APIs the challenges of integrating data flows and business functions will ‘automagically’ be solved. However, the reality is that every consumer of an API will have to also implement a part of the business logic or overall business process. Even worse: if the API to be utilized is very fine grained, the consumer may have to implement domain-specific logic of the called API (think about login, sequencing API calls, etc.).

Providing APIs at a higher abstraction level than the software system’s native API will also require orchestration and management. The more connected an enterprise gets, the more complex will be the challenges to maintain a consistent API and consistent business processes.

Offloading the tasks of integrating with systems and services, orchestrating API calls and running and operating the application network with a solution that was explicitly designed for these tasks should come naturally.

From that perspective, I believe the MuleSoft acquisition by Salesforce was a smart move. Not only for Salesforce, which can now offer a default solution to better connect all enterprise services to their SaaS offerings. MuleSoft customers will also benefit from the experience Salesforce brings to the table when integrating with tens of thousands of customers – and their services.

I’m looking forward to learn more about Salesforce’s future plans with MuleSoft technology at MuleSoft Connect on May 8-10.

About the Author: Hendrik Siegeln is co-founder and Managing Director of Integration Matters, a MuleSoft technology partner.


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