Each year Dell Boomi holds its Boomi World conference to inform its customers about the latest developments on its platform.
Following his keynote at the event, TechRadar Pro spoke with CEO Chris McNabb about the company's success and the future of the connected business.
Can you tell me a bit more about this year’s theme “Your Journey. Our platform. Unlimited possibilities” and what it means to you?
Our theme came from a problem that companies have transforming their business. You know they find themselves in this ecosystem where they’ve got all this legacy on-premise stuff and now they’re buying all this cloud stuff and immediately they are thrust into this hybrid IT ecosystem that’s problematic for them. It slows them down, it adds complexity, it adds cost and so on. All of which don’t allow your business to be nimble and transformative, to engage your customers in new ways and the Boomi platform is here to help people address that.
How can we speed our customers up? How is it that we can shorten their to do list so they can do more things to push the business forward instead of doing a bunch of things to keep the lights on. So that’s what we focus on and that’s what we mean when we talk about how we created the integration as a service market back in late 2007 beginning of 2008.
And now as we look into the next era, call it iPaaS 2.0, it’s about adding intelligence to the platform so that you don’t need expensive talented engineers to do every little thing around integration. You can create services that allow people to do things for themselves and those are going to transform people’s businesses and allow you to create transformational experiences.
Earlier this year, your company announced that eight out of ten enterprise technology IPOs in the first half of 2018 were customers of yours. How was your platform a part of their success and have there been any recent additions to the list?
Our platform provides a very modern way for people to very simply reconnect their business. Think about it simply you have a legacy ERP like SAP and if you buy a product like Taleo and you rip out the recruiting from there and move it to here, your disconnecting it. If you update data here it does not update over there automatically. Oracle did not build it to work directly with SAP.
So reconnecting one’s business is a pervasive significant problem and those businesses that you look to are thinking hey how can I not only reconnect it but transform it so that I can engage in new ways. So all of those customers do that.
We have over 7,500 customers worldwide and we will add to our business an excess of 2,200 customers this year. We’re adding customers at the rate of about five to six per day. Many people are jumping on this technology to solve that pervasive problem for them.
People are looking to the Boomi platform to help with that problem and to transform their business.
Gartner has recognised Boomi as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service for five years in a row. What does this say about your business and its position in the iPaaS market?
It’s great to have the support of the analyst community, that is a big deal for anybody. There are four major research articles about integration platform as a service, two by Forrester, one by Gartner and one by Ovum, we are the only vendor that is a leader in all four. We are very proud of that but most importantly it is an endorsement by the analysts to say you know what these guys are here, they’re validated, they’re for real and they’re changing customers lives.
We at Boomi live for our customers being successful. Not only getting value out of their Boomi purchase but making sure that their business is much better off and reconnected as a result of that engagement.
I love that the analyst community thinks of us as leaders, we do too but it’s our customers and the rate that new customers come on board that is really the fuel for our passion to help serve them.
Who are your biggest competitors in the iPaaS market and where do they stand in relation to your company?
Nobody has been around as long as we have. Nobody really has the unified platform that we have. We provide workflow orchestration and low-code capabilities so that you can create mobile apps and new employee onboarding processes with approvals and with human interaction. We have data governance capabilities so if you change something in the system over here before we move it integrate it and copy it, we make sure that data is consistent, correct, of high quality and approved by the organisation.
API management and other governance capabilities as well as all of the basic integration capabilities. Application data, EDI capabilities, IoT capabilities etc. Nobody has the breadth of capabilities that we have.
Your platform allows businesses to integrate any combination of cloud to cloud, cloud to on-premise or on-premise to on-premise applications. Which is the most popular integration with your customers? What is the ratio of customers that utilise your platform in the cloud versus on-premise?
Some form of on-premise integration is still the pervasive leader today. It may be connecting a cloud CRM to an on-premise finance system and so on and so forth. Some form of on-premise is certainly the majority of what we do today.
While the cloud to cloud integrations are growing, it’s certainly not the majority of what we do. For some significant period of time legacy on-premise systems will be here. People will have an on-premise ERP system for some significant period of time. That was the system of record for their enterprise. It was the hub through which everything flowed. It will continue to be that way for some time.
I don’t expect the percentages to change dramatically in the near term because it’s still at the heart of what that enterprise does.
Has the EU’s General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) affected your business and if so how? Do you think the US will end up adopting a similar data protection policy for its citizens and businesses?
I think data privacy is the number one concern for almost all of our prospects worldwide. Whether they exist in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, etc. Data privacy and new regulations are evolving rapidly.
If you just look at Europe alone they started out with Safe Harbor as little as about three years ago. We used to engage contractually and we were Safe Harbor compliant and then they moved to model clauses. In May of this year they moved to GDPR which makes three changes in roughly three years rewriting their data privacy regulation.
Boomi will continue to take data as a top priority, we will protect people’s data. We will do everything we can to do it. It is very difficult to do, hackers always tend to be a step ahead of vendors but we are doing our due diligence and we’re working very hard with our customers and with the regulatory agencies to take care of that.
Whatever comes after GDPR, there will be something, whatever comes after all of the US standards and the rest of the regional standards, it will continue to evolve, we expect it to evolve and we expect to be at the center of supporting that for our customers.
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This is the fourth year and second time in a row that Boomi was named the Best Place to Work by the Philadelphia Business Journal. What does your company do differently to achieve such high employee satisfaction?
I give all of the credit to our team. We’ve built a team of very passionate, caring, energized professionals that put our customers first and they work tirelessly to make sure that our customers are getting what they need. As we’ve done that, we’ve actually exceeded plan quite a bit. We’ve exceeded our retention rates meaning customers are renewing their investments with Boomi at even higher rates every year.
We work hard to please our customers and we have fun. There are things that we do around the office that are engaging and bring groups of people together. It’s those kinds of things but the culture that we’ve created that we work together as a team because we can deliver more as a team than individuals can. We put our customers first. We do the right thing and we love to innovate.
What does the future hold for the connected business?
The sky's the limit for the connected business. For the next twenty years people are going to be reconnecting their business in new ways. I talked about how it is getting disconnected and what we need to do to reconnect it so that we can engage in new ways.
Boy we are just at the tip of the iceberg. It is such an exciting time to be in IT. With integration six years ago, it took ten weeks on average to connect to Salesforce and six years ago we went to Dreamforce and put out a video that showed us doing that in thirty minutes. We thought wow isn’t that a whole new way to connect and today those things take three minutes.
Today it’s not just connecting it’s how can we allow anyone in the business to make the connections they need. How do people in finance connect to other people in the enterprise to customers that they’re billing etc. How can we extend the capability to connect to others in the enterprise beyond the integration developer?
And like I said we’re at the tip of the iceberg. It’s the combination of workflow and low-code with integration that connects and talks to systems that provide us with those new capabilities and we’re just getting started.
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