Opinion: Want to Get Value from Your Integration Investment? Choose Neutrality

Last month, Salesforce announced it would acquire MuleSoft in a multi-billion-dollar deal aimed at enabling customers to “connect all of the information throughout their enterprise across all public and private clouds and data sources,” according to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Essentially, what Benioff is paying an enormous premium to build for Salesforce is what we already do for our customers.

It’s natural to wonder what this merger means for TIBCO Software Inc (TIBCO). The acquisition does two key things for the broader software market:

  1. The numbers involved confirm the mission-critical importance of integration to the future of enterprise applications and digital business. We know integration is at the heart of digital transformation, but it’s not just about API management and connectivity. Businesses need to do more than transfer customer data between a couple of systems.
  2. Neutrality matters. TIBCO just became the only viable — that is, neutral and independent — enterprise integration option for a whole lot of potential new customers.

Why integration is essential

We’ve seen how organizations increasingly need to operate in real time and gain more insight from their data with rapidly developing technologies like machine learning and predictive analytics. The goal is to transform data into action — streamline operation, drive contextual decisions, differentiate. MuleSoft only does part of this.

While Salesforce may be a big name, they’ve just shown they’re playing catch up to TIBCO’s flexible integration and augmented intelligence capabilities and hoping to assemble something akin to the TIBCO Connected Intelligence Cloud. But we already know connectivity is not enough to run customer experiences or operations. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI), the technologies that define digital transformation rely on data science prowess to deliver business value — TIBCO has it in spades. And, we’re still innovating.

Why neutrality is priceless

The biggest issue for MuleSoft is that they have been acquired by an application vendor. They are losing any semblance of neutrality, which should obviously impact customer trust in their ability to provide equal connectivity to applications other than Salesforce, as well as to other cloud ecosystems. After the acquisition, who does MuleSoft serve?

As noted on MarketWatch, “A common question from analysts in a conference call the companies held Tuesday afternoon — possibly second behind ‘Why isn’t Marc Benioff on this call?’ — focused on customers typically wanting an independent vendor for the type of service MuleSoft provides since it has to interact with so many different programs from different companies.”

MuleSoft customers are right to wonder whether they’ll be forced into the Salesforce system. Further, Salesforce Lightning (which will host the Salesforce Integration Cloud) is a low-code, scripted configuration type of environment, while MuleSoft is pure Java. These appeal to different audiences, and it’s far from clear which will survive in the end (though I think I know). Product plans and commitments that have been promised to MuleSoft customers and prospects may no longer be reliable.

Connecting and collecting data to fuel innovation is the way of the future and we’ve known that for a long time. Salesforce knows it, too — and so do a lot of other enterprises who want to pursue digital transformation on their own terms. TIBCO is already the complete data integration, analysis, prediction, and visualization platform that Salesforce wants to be.

The TIBCO Connected Intelligence Cloud embodies a single, neutral, interconnected offering of products and services unrivaled by anyone else in the integration or augmented intelligence space.

This article is contributed by Thomas Been from TIBCO Software Inc.  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.