Dell Boomi: Building Agile Integrated Data Ecosystems

Named Leader by Gartner Inc. for the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service, Dell Boomi’s intelligent, flexible, scalable platform accelerates business results by linking data, systems, applications, processes and people.

Making sense of the expanding technical landscape that all businesses now inhabit means understanding how data and applications work together. To gain an insight into how Dell Boomi’s services are changing the relationship companies have with data, Silicon spoke with Derek Thompson, VP EMEA at Boomi.

Derek has more than two decades’ worth of experience leading companies’ growth in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before joining Dell Boomi, Derek was at Informatica where he spent four years building, scaling and improving the Master Data Management (MDM) business in EMEA and leading the EMEA North region. Before this, he served as Managing Director, EMEA at Kalido, and Founder and CEO at Technica UK, the UK’s largest independent data management consultancy.

When you speak to CTOs and CIOs about their business development, what are the challenges they are facing at the moment?

“The constant theme is the pace of change within society and business. We are all being asked to go faster – nobody is being asked to slow down. As our CPO Steve Wood says: ‘no one is asking for less data, slower.’

“We are wrestling with that need to satisfy rising consumer demand. They need the agility to respond to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, grow their businesses and, they don’t have a blank chequebook to meet these demands. Wrestling with increased demand while budgets don’t always move into line to reflect this is commonplace.

“If you think about large established enterprises, complexity within them limits business strategy options. At the heart of all that is data: it fuels our businesses. With great data and insights, we can innovate, we can thrive and grow. If you do not have great data, the opposites of all of this are true.

“Brittle architecture in your IT landscape results in high maintenance cost, greater risk of failure, limited future use and ultimately, technical debt. You are creating environments that may satisfy the needs of business today but, by all extents and purposes, will not take you into the future.

“Everyone is wrestling with this burden in the age of hybrid multi-cloud. If you are spending all your money on keeping the lights on, you can’t innovate – it is that simple. The point about technical debt comes up a lot in my conversations. How do I unlock the funds I am spending on maintaining that complex operation and divert those funds to innovation so I really can continue to lead the market and be the disruptor and not the disrupted?

Is data management still a significant concern for businesses?

“Data management is and will continue to be at the heart of overcoming that pace of change challenge. With great data and insights, we innovate, without it, we don’t. Does it matter what infrastructure you are using, what platform you are using, what applications you are using? No. It is about how useful is the data you have, how good is the information and, what insights you gain from it. And, is it actionable? Data and data management, therefore, is still at the heart of all this.

“The start-up community has a significant advantage here because they are not burdened with the cost of maintaining legacy systems. They can innovate and deploy the latest as-a-service cloud technologies, analytics technologies with very few restraints.

“One constraint they do have is that they will have budgets that are aligned to a start-up. That is, where established enterprises have a distinct advantage: They can unlock and repurpose their funds and apply these to innovation and, therefore, maintain their leadership position in the market. Data is absolutely at the heart of all of this. It is the reason that Boomi exists and I think that will continue for many years to come.”

Why is the hybrid cloud approach to service management, continuing to expand across the business environment?

“This comes down to the demands of the business. What do your customers require, and what do companies need to meet those demands? Enterprises want to acquire new customers. They want to enhance the existing portfolio of products and services. They want to drive innovation in new and current products for their customers today and, for customers in the future. They want to streamline their supply chain and expand this, driving improved efficiency within this.

“Businesses are often entering new markets, either organically or via M&A. There are lots of things driving this and the speed at which this is being delivered means you just need the right technology. Whether it is on-premise, private cloud or public cloud, it does not matter. It always comes back to technology.

“The answer is that it is usually a combination of them all. This is what is driving the hybrid cloud approach. Certainly, for larger enterprises, one of these things will only part of the answer. You end up with what can be a relatively complex hybrid cloud environment. However, if you deploy the right technologies to integrate all of these elements, it doesn’t have to be complex.”

What is your view is the next quantum leap in service or performance, businesses can expect from the hybrid cloud?

“This is all about the integration of data, applications, systems and processes. How do we simplify and ultimately automate as many of these as possible? This then enables companies to focus on innovation rather than operation.

“In our particular area, if we think about the evolution of integrating data as an example, Boomi has led the market in moving businesses away from very complex, developer-heavy, high-cost on-premise solutions. We have taken them on a journey to low code, agile, easily extensible and low maintenance SaaS platforms.

“This is just the first step of the journey. In the last few years, we have led the way in embedding intelligence in our platform, so we are moving closer to full automation. Where is that going? Embedded intelligence and Machine Learning are happening today. The next evolution for us is within the integration space is insights.

“What insights can you derive from your integration platform? Actually, quite a lot, if you have the right SaaS integration platform. You know where all of your data is going. The insights you can gain from that can be compelling. This is how Boomi is leading the way.”

How are companies innovating with their use of hybrid cloud technologies but also meeting their regulatory responsibilities?

“Regulation always has and, always will come down to data. Regulators don’t care what infrastructures you have or what applications you are using, they care about where the data is and, whether it is secure and can be trusted. Ultimately, is it being governed in line with the regulatory needs? You need the right technologies to answer all those questions. For me, whatever journey you are on, whether you are looking to merge IT environments or looking at what is possible for your future business or whether you are going through a modernization program.

“Whatever the digital transformation you are going through, just make sure you are selecting the right technologies that can answer those questions. Where is the data? Is it secure? Can I trust it? It will always come back to these questions. You need always to have an eye on these questions when you are selecting new hybrid technologies. Are the technologies going to satisfy the needs of regulation not just for today but where it will go tomorrow? Your business technologies need not be fostering technical debt today, but instead, should become extensible to move with the business future that is being created.”

How does Dell Boomi differ from the other technologies on the market?

“The answer is twofold: Firstly, there is the platform. Our maniacal focus on customer success is critical. It is about the company, not just the technology platform as well. Firstly, we are proud of creating the iPaaS space, we continue to be at the leading edge of innovation, driving that market and in recent years we are the first iPaaS provider to embed intelligence into the platform.

“In addition to that core integration platform, we have complemented that to help our customers, whether that is connecting the global partner community with EPIs. We have recently created a low-code app development and workflow automation technology to our platform called Boomi Flow which is adding all sorts of exciting possibilities for our customers.

“Think about a retailer who wants to refresh their point of sales system in hundreds if not thousands of stores because the assistant experience in-store is not good enough. Well, what if you could use Boomi Flow to actually put a nice system-friendly view on top instead of a very costly replacement to the point of sale process? The possibilities are endless.

“Secondly, when it comes to customers, Boomi leads the way in our market. We have a 95% satisfaction and maintain a 97% renewal rate, and this is something we are very proud of, continuing to invest heavily to maintain our number one position for customers. There is an equal focus on innovation alongside maintaining consistently strong customer success.”

What does the future of the hybrid cloud look like?

“It depends on where you are coming from. I would summarise with four words: agile, seamless, automated and secure. If the IT industry continues to strive in delivering those, then no matter what part of the hybrid-cloud space you are looking at, our customers will continue to be able to innovate and thrive.

“I think I would go back to the point around technological debt. It doesn’t necessarily equal old or legacy technology. For larger more established enterprises, they can take a step back and think that they no longer have to decide between delivering tactical, medium-term business objectives or building a strategic, agile business platform which will provide in the future.

“Also, it is no longer either-or. You can have both, and you can unlock the technical debt in your organization and divert those funds to innovation and therefore maintain competitive advantage and be the market leader you strive to be. There is a huge asset here for enterprises to unlock funds and deploy them for innovation.”

David Howell

Dave Howell is a freelance journalist and writer. His work has appeared across the national press and in industry-leading magazines and websites. He specialises in technology and business.

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