It’s not a secret that for years Salesforce leadership did not see integration important to its success. Many have suggested that they reconsider and none succeeded. Until now. What has changed?
Traditional integration end-points are applications that need translation to connect; digital business integration end-points are apps, services and event handlers that are building blocks of solutions that need assembly. Quietly and unnoticed by most, the meaning of “Integration” changed and digital transformation has everything to do with it.
Digital business moves integration from semantic reconciliation of unlike applications (i.e. Salesforce to SAP) to assembly of functional components, like and unlike, near and far.
With that change, integration moves from an afterthought and a peripheral technical issue to the center of action. Integration now must include not just the classic translation, but also mediation of API layers, event brokering and formation of ecosystems. Integration emerges as the nervous system of a digital business (see figure).
There cannot be a successful digital business without integration in its bigger meaning. Every organization will build a hybrid integration platform. That’s what has changed in the industry. That’s the context in which Salesforce reversed its position on integration and paid $6.5 Billion for Mulesoft: to have a strong seat at the digital business table.
Acquisitions are always risks and this one is no exception. Success is not guaranteed and consistency of vision over time is not guaranteed either. Will the “yes software” responsibilities slow down Salesforces progress? Will the people work well together? That’s still to be seen. But at this moment in time, Salesforce seems to be taking their customers exactly in the direction where they need to go.
Fig. 1. Integration At The Center of Digital Business Architecture
Gartner research by Massimo Pezzini, Keith Guttridge, Elizabeth Golluscio, Eric Thoo, Mark O’Neil, Paolo Malinverno, Anne Thomas, Roy Schulte, Gary Olliffe, Betty Zackheim, Aashish Gupta and others provides a wealth of guidance and insight on Hybrid Integration Platform and its components for digital business.