Leading provider of unified platforms Dell Boomi announced last month that Charles Sturt University (CSU) has chosen the Boomi integration platform to enhance student and staff experience as part of a five-year IT transformation.
The cloud native Boomi integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) is removing complexity from CSU’s IT environment; connecting its customer relationship management (CRM), human resources (HR), finance, research, student management system (SMS), data warehouse and identity management platforms. It will also link with any bespoke applications that are incorporated in the future.
As discussed by Fifth Quadrant, Boomi has already had successes with education institutions and CSU’s decision to deploy Boomi came following a market evaluation and discussions with fellow Australian universities.
This month, Fifth Quadrant chatted with Dell Boomi’s Managing Director Asia-Pacific and Japan Michael Evans to find out more about Boomi, iPaas and how they can improve Customer Experience (CX) and Employee Experience (EX).
Fifth Quadrant: What differentiates Boomi in the iPaaS market?
Michael Evans: If we talk purely about the iPaaS market, it is a very rapidly changing and evolving market. What really differentiates us is not only do we have the greatest number of customers but we have a platform that is multi-tenant. Our platform has a really unique architecture that allows it to cater for the broadest range of channels an organisation has in a cost-effective manner.
Boomi has evolved over the last couple of years to the point where we are not just an iPaaS or integration platform as a service, we also do API management as well as, data management and workflow.
When you look at it in a broader context, every industry in the world is going through some form of digital transformation and is looking to provide better CX through enriched data services. This involves combining data from a range of disparate systems, orchestrating that data, cleansing, securing and presenting it in new ways that will provide a better service or user experience. That’s where our platform does differentiate itself again, because right across that landscape we are probably the only platform that caters to all those sorts of requirements for modern enterprises.
Fifth Quadrant: How fast is the market growing?
Michael Evans: At a compound rate, the iPaaS market alone is growing at around 35 to 40 points year on year and Boomi as a business is growing around 80 or 85 per cent. The low code platform and API management space is growing very rapidly as well and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.
If they want to stay relevant with customers in the modern world, businesses need to become digitally proficient in what they do. You only have to look at digital native platforms such as Uber and Airbnb that are really disrupting their markets to understand that traditional bricks and mortar businesses have got to evolve very rapidly to remain relevant and competitive.
Fifth Quadrant: How will Boomi improve CX at Charles Sturt?
Michael Evans: There is a whole range of ways that a modern student wants to interact, it isn’t just about going to classes in a lecture hall anymore. Students today want to interact with the university through a whole variety of channels and communicate with staff and lecturers in real time. They also want to be able to do that on a variety of platforms that we hadn’t envisioned just over a decade ago – iPhones and tablets for instance.
To entice and remain competitive, attract the top talent and the top students, universities need to provide that seamless digital experience for students. That’s where Boomi comes in as it is able to combine and present enriched data services to those students. To achieve this, Boomi pulls a whole range of different pieces of information from all different silos across the university's different faculties such as library management systems and student management systems. It is all about presenting the right data at the right time to the right people.
Fifth Quadrant: And EX?
Michael Evans: It is the mirror image: staff need to be able to interact with students. Staff also want to be able to access content in real time and they need to interact with a whole range of new platforms to be able to provide digital classrooms and experiences for students.
Fifth Quadrant: Is Boomi limited to education or does it serve other verticals too?
Michael Evans: The challenges that businesses are facing – the need to connect platforms transcends every single industry. Retailers wanting to connect their sales and loyalty systems have the same problem as insurers wanting to connect their claims platform with their CRM.
Boomi is a multi-purpose platform that is solving those similar problems across the whole industry landscape. We are a horizontal platform – we do have some specific capabilities in certain verticals - but we are seeing wide uptake with over 8,000 customers globally now. Our customers ran the gamut with everything from superannuation, banks, insurance, and other financial services to retail, transport, logistics, energy and education.
Fifth Quadrant: And in Australia specifically?
Michael Evans: We have been very successful in education but it would be on par with some of the things we have done in energy, transport, logistics and retail. I think part of the success in education is linked to Australia as the market here is extremely competitive. Being a leader of digital experiences and providing a really enhanced student experience makes universities competitive not only for international students but also for local government funding. I think that has accelerated the adoption and change in this country.
Fifth Quadrant: Would you say Australian universities are leaders or laggards in technology integration?
Michael Evans: In this region, Asia Pacific, I think they are very advanced and that is part of the drawcard for students from across Asia Pacific coming to Australia. I think that they are pushing the boundaries and that is down to some of those unique competitive aspects of funding and revenue streams from international students.
Fifth Quadrant: How about Australia's broader cloud integration?
Michael Evans: I think that cloud is just another deployment environment now. There isn’t a company in Australia that has not invested in some way in cloud infrastructure or cloud applications. The common concerns around security, privacy, operations and resilience are won and done, it has been proven in the market.
For a long time, I think businesses will have hybrid IT that involves some applications on premise and others as a SaaS offering. Part of that challenge and why Boomi resonates with customers is that our unique architecture enables them to cater to all of those scenarios in a single unified platform.
Fifth Quadrant: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in CX right now. Are you using it?
Michael Evans: We use AI to enhance CX by helping customers build things faster and deploy, and then supporting them in a proactive manner.
We have the metadata associated with all kinds of interactions that our customers do over a long period at our fingertips. We have a whole variety of tools that are helping at the front end, helping organisations that want to do standard based integration faster. We can look at patterns about how to integrate and provide answers to them as part of a user experience and building of integrations.
We use AI in areas of our support and customer success. With a certain sense of accuracy, we can predict when a customer might have a problem with a service before they do and then proactively help them to solve it.
Fifth Quadrant: Time is a major factor for organisations undergoing a digital transformation. How fast can Boomi be deployed?
Michael Evans: The concept of weeks and months used to be a reality but for a modern iPaaS platform, you are talking hours or days. It is not one-size fits all but we have done some studies which show that typically we can do things in about an eighth or a tenth of the time that transition middleware would take to get to the same outcome.
Our platform is configuration orientated rather than coding orientated. So it is a very intuitive drag, drop, click and configure interface that obfuscates a lot of the complexities. What that means is we can make a traditional integration faster at delivering the same services. We can empower a whole range of people to use our platform because you don’t have to be a specialist developer to run it, it is a lot more intuitive and user-friendly.
We also talk about economies of skill so if you have a digital transformation program and you are looking to build enriched services that may historically have meant that you needed six or seven different pieces of technology for that outcome. With Boomi, you can do all those things through a single platform.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity