6 Takeaways from MuleSoft CONNECT Digital 2020

MuleSoft held its 2020 CONNECT tradeshow as a digital livestream event on May 20. As a Premier Sponsor, Thru met with many integration professionals to discuss how Thru and MuleSoft are innovating B2B file exchange for enterprises with the Thru Managed File Transfer (MFT) Connector for MuleSoft.

The event focused on the power of API-led connectivity and how companies are unleashing digital transformation with speed and scale. The synthesis of product demonstrations, discussions, thought leadership presentations and customer testimonials provided insight into real digital transformations at real companies, rather than theories and postulations. Attendees left the event inspired and excited about the impact integration can have on their companies.

Here are some of the key points covered at the event:

1. IT Leaders Accelerate Delivery of Project Requests

One of the most common trends mentioned at CONNECT is that many IT leaders are making dramatic changes in their project delivery strategies to deliver digital initiatives faster, especially during the huge spike in remote workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As demand on IT continues to increase with new project requests across lines of business (requiring various integrations between cloud and on-premises systems), IT departments are feeling overloaded and need a way to provide more self-service to accelerate the speed of digital project requirements.

Sampath Kumar

Sampath Kumar
Manager of Enterprise Application Integration
Land O’Lakes

Sampath Kumar, Manager of Enterprise Application Integration at leading agricultural company, Land O’Lakes – known globally for its iconic butter brand – presented a great example of this trend in action: Land O’Lakes’ large landscape of growing technologies presents new integration challenges for implementing digital and ecommerce initiatives because it needed to efficiently share data among multiple systems consisting of multi-cloud platforms, custom applications and SaaS applications. Unfortunately, its previous legacy integration technology was not an effective tool for integrating SaaS applications.

The company chose MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform™ because it was a strategic and technological fit for its digital and ecommerce initiatives. MuleSoft provided the company with increased agility and process efficiency resulting in faster time to market for new digital projects, less time managing infrastructure and self-service consumption for users across the enterprise.

2. IT Leaders Must Effectively Measure the Value of Integration

Brandon Cohan

Brandon Cohan
Head of Mobilize Consulting
MuleSoft

Brandon Cohan, Head of Mobilize Consulting at MuleSoft, presented an informative session on how IT leaders can effectively identify, articulate and measure the value of integrations. He shared how MuleSoft helps its customers realize the value of integrations with a framework based on three pillars: measuring business outcomes, technology delivery and organization enablement.

This framework helps IT leaders:

  • Identify business outcomes
  • Assess current pain points, challenges and opportunities for improvement
  • Provide recommendations to achieve an optimal future state
  • Quantify the value of opportunities
  • Deliver a success plan to ensure effective execution and value realization
The session concluded with a case study of a billion-dollar manufacturing company that successfully implemented MuleSoft’s integration value framework. The CIO wanted to expand his company’s use of MuleSoft to scale integrations but needed to obtain approval from the board of directors to further invest. To articulate exactly how the company’s integration investments were producing value, the CIO collaborated with MuleSoft and assembled a comprehensive analysis to identify value that had been realized from their integration program to date and future value if the company continued to invest. Leveraging MuleSoft’s value framework, the manufacturing company identified $1 million in value achieved to date and estimated they could achieve $16 million in additional value over the next five years.

3. Companies Extend Managed File Transfer (MFT) to MuleSoft B2B Data Exchanges

Thru, Inc logo
In Thru’s digital booth, our team demonstrated how companies are using Thru and MuleSoft together to transform and consolidate B2B file-based data exchange processes, which includes two main types of file-based data exchange: MFT and electronic data exchange (EDI).

There are three primary use cases for the hybrid solution of Thru integrated with MuleSoft:

  1. External SaaS – Companies that need to schedule the exchange of large files between third party SaaS applications. For example: Insurance agencies sending daily batches of claims to the back office for data quality validation, processing and analysis.
  2. External Retail Branches – Large enterprises that need to exchange files with external systems over multiple protocols. For example: A large, global manufacturer exchanges hundreds of files with its retail storefronts every morning to notify them of stock levels and promotions.
  3. Internal to Internal – Companies that need to orchestrate file exchanges taking place between internal systems behind the firewall. For example: A national bank transfers and processes large CSV files between its HR and ERP software (Workday) and other applications on an hourly basis.

4. Government Agencies Use APIs to Drive Innovation in the Public Sector

There were several sessions on how US government agencies are driving innovation in the public sector by using APIs. One of the most notable of these government-focused presentations was by Casey Cook, Enterprise Architect at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Casy Cook

Casey Cook
Enterprise Architect
USDA

Cook presented how MuleSoft is helping the USDA implement a large system modernization project that began in 2017. The USDA was using 80% of its IT budget maintaining legacy systems due to the heavy maintenance requirements of the legacy infrastructure and integrations. To modernize its integrations, the agency selected MuleSoft as a single integration hub to consolidate fragmented legacy integration systems used to extract data from 29 different agencies. The primary reason MuleSoft was selected is its ability to enable reusable integrations via APIs within a single system.

An interesting use case is how the USDA uses MuleSoft within its billing and inventory system to pull metrics from roughly 100,000+ laptops and phones, thousands of servers and various SaaS applications to surface the data to user-facing applications on the Salesforce platform. The new integration solution enabled the USDA to defer $2.1M through infrastructure consolidation and security and operations cost reduction.

5. Financial Services Orgs Connect Mission-Critical Processes with Anypoint Platform

Another industry of focus at CONNECT was financial services. Greg Beltzer, VP Advisor Platform and Technology at RBC Wealth Management (part of the largest bank in Canada, Royal Bank of Canada) hosted a session on how online services (mobile applications, web portals) are now crucial for financial services companies in the current pandemic environment.

Greg Beltzer

Greg Beltzer
VP Advisor Platform and Technology
RBC Wealth Management

Beltzer explained how customer-facing processes at RBC Wealth Management were very paper-intensive (mailing and faxing documents). Documents often contained 200-300 pages and required time-consuming steps to prepare and mail, causing negative experiences for RBC’s customers, financial advisors and operations team.

The company successfully implemented its digital transformation using MuleSoft as the foundation for integration. Its modern integration architecture provides immense value and the ability to easily extract data from backend systems via APIs which can also be used for future projects. Since transforming its largely in-person, manual processes to digital, the company has been able to adapt to drastic changes brought on by the current pandemic crisis and provide a better customer experience.

6. CIOs Share Experiences During COVID-19 Crisis

A very relevant session at CONNECT highlighted the technology challenges CIOs and their colleagues are facing in the midst of COVID-19 as they seek to pivot digital solutions to support the upsurge of remote workers and the need to serve customers online. Michael Mathews, SVP and CIO at Deluxe, and Kevin Jones, CIO at Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), presented their challenges and solutions during this session.

Michael Mathews

Michael Mathews
SVP and CIO
Deluxe

Known worldwide as the creator of the checkbook, Deluxe was already in the midst of a major digital transformation with 50-60 acquisitions in the last six years. According to Mathews, this required making major technology investments since the company inherited hundreds of technologies with each acquisition. MuleSoft and other cloud-based technologies are now being used to build a global digital platform to increase the efficiency of integrations. The company has found its choice of cloud-based solutions to be a huge enabler of productivity during the crisis where working from home is required for most of its workforce.

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones
CIO
Indiana DCS

Jones said one challenge COVID-19 presented was tracking employee capacity at each of its 92 different offices to meet CDC guidelines. Using MuleSoft, Indiana DCS was able to create a capacity tracking system within a few hours that quickly notifies employees when capacity in a building has been reached and they should work from home.

MuleSoft and Thru: An Integrated B2B Data Exchange Platform

MuleSoft CONNECT Digital was a fantastic event and provided valuable insights into digital solutions for companies adapting to the uncertainties and challenges brought on by COVID-19. We look forward to continuing to work with MuleSoft to help organizations that are experiencing challenges with their B2B file-based data exchanges. To learn more about a cost-effective strategy to future-proof your file-based data communications, read our latest white paper, Maintaining Hybrid Integration Platform Agility:

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