In a double move that shocked all of Silicon Valley in March 2018, Salesforce announced a $6.5bn (£4.75bn US billion) takeover of API provider Mulesoft. Just days later, they announced plans to develop Integration Cloud into Salesforce Services. It’s being lauded as a “game-changing” technology acquisition. The two platforms had been partners for years, separate but collaborating on many vital projects and with a large number of common customers thanks to their complementary services. But now, Mulesoft is part of the Salesforce family and will, in time, be integrating into it. The final date of completion is expected to be at the end of July 2019.
Details of the Mulesoft Takeover
In March, Salesforce and Mulesoft signed a definitive acquisition agreement. Mulesoft is one of the world’s leading web platforms for connecting enterprise data, devices, and apps through application networks. It specialises in APIs and the coming together with Salesforce will allow access to data in older legacy systems that have proven problematic to work with in conjunction with new Cloud-based technologies.
They will not be fully integrated into Salesforce for the time being as other systems have. They will continue to operate under the name Mulesoft where they are able to continue working on the existing projects but under the Salesforce flag. This is a great move for both companies and expected to drive new standards in integration with Salesforce proving once again its commitment to innovation. They have already set down a framework for integrating Mulesoft’s technology with a new Integration Cloud.
The $6.5bn agreement outstrips the $2.8bn that Salesforce paid for Demandware in 2016, after which it became the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. It’s likely too early to fully integrate Mulesoft into the Salesforce family, but this is likely to happen in the future.
What is Integration Cloud?
One of the biggest challenges for all developers everywhere is the ability to connect disparate systems and data sources. To do so means improvements in the user experience for customers. Attempting to address this issue, shortly after the acquisition of Mulesoft, Salesforce introduced the Integration Cloud which is expected to help the platform’s customers more easily surface their data regardless of its location. In turn, this is expected to help streamline the customer experience regardless of their access channels.
There are three main areas for the Salesforce Integration Cloud:
- Integration Platform: Under its existing brand name, MuleSoft will continue with its integration platform project “Anypoint” which should allow for faster decisions by its customers. It will power the new Salesforce Integration Cloud.
- Integration Builder: This is a Salesforce system, not Mulesoft. Admins are able to build a single and streamlined view of each customer in their Salesforce system and wider network using clicks rather than codes. A unified admin console will fully enable easier management
- Integration Experiences: Another Salesforce development, using information taken from other areas of the Salesforce platform, admins will be able to unite customer data and produce a new, improved customer experience across the scope of Salesforce.
And, of course, this will fully integrate Salesforce Einstein, the AI system expected to underpin most or all of Salesforce’s services going forward. Mulesoft’s platform and Salesforce resources combined are going to make for an interesting time as far as both services are concerned.
What Happens Next?
MuleSoft only floated on the stock exchange in 2017 following several years of inability to improve sales and reduce their costs. Despite the surprise, it was perhaps inevitable that Salesforce would buy out MuleSoft as the platform previously welcomed funding from Salesforce Ventures. This is the 39th acquisition in Salesforce history since its foundation in 1998. In that time, the web and tech services have undergone critical changes. It’s to the credit of Salesforce that they’ve managed to keep one step ahead of the competition and foresee such changes.
Acquiring Mulesoft has allowed Salesforce to acquire technologies and access methods that it previously lacked – particularly surrounding data, business app, and infrastructure integration. As Technology Business Research noted that transformation cannot happen on an enterprise scale for Salesforce until it had access to back office systems and related insights. Now, having full use of MuleSoft’s AnyPoint Platform helps any user both manage and create APIs in-house or via the Cloud while connecting with both systems too. It’s expected to prove pivotal as the Internet of Things develops on other devices.
The Benefits to Salesforce Customers
According to reports, they share around 60% of customers already. Just as it is beneficial for both companies to solidify their partnership in this way, there are expected to be many benefits for their customers. MuleSoft’s technology is already compatible with the Salesforce Integration Cloud. This means that customers may absorb all of their corporate data regardless of where they are storing it – legacy systems, in-house, and Cloud services elsewhere.
In fact, that’s largely what this acquisition is about – faster, more efficient data integration and a personalised experience for customers. As The Internet of Things develops and businesses all over the globe seek transportability, cloud and mobile connectivity, future-proofed data sharing and storage, this signifies an exciting time and potentially a new benchmark for SAAS.