Boomi Offers Automated App Integration

The startup supplies automated, online version of application integration, and seeks additional adapters and connectors from app writers.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

January 16, 2010

3 Min Read

Startup Boomi, which supplies application integration as an online service, has teamed up with Coupa Software, a supplier of online purchasing software that can serve as a restraint on costs.

The partnership will allow Coupa users, through Boomi, to link their e-Procurement applications with their ERP or accounts payable systems. Boomi supplies connectors and adapters to and other software-as-a-service applications and to on-premises ERP and accounting applications. The connections occur in what Boomi calls its AtomSphere, powered by the Atom runtime engine, which allows the connections to work in a variety of environments, said CTO Rick Nucci in an interview.

Application integration remains a persistent, knotty problem in most IT shops. It is frequently solved with large connector and adapter sets purchased from IBM, Sybase, Oracle, Tibco or specialist vendors, such as 15-year-old Vitria Technology of Sunnyvale, Calif. They supply connectors and adapters that are set up by IT staff between applications.

A bit of history: In the past there were many such vendors, including Neon or New Era of Networks, Prism Software, CrossWorlds in Burlingame, Calif., and Oberon Software in Cambridge, Mass.

The enterprise application integration market amounted to $1 billion market in 2001, as consolidation swept through its ranks, according to Forrester Research. Prism Software was acquired by Ardent in 1998. OnDisplay Inc. bought Oberon Software in 2000. In 2001, Sybase acquired New Era of Networks, formerly known as Neon. SAP acquired TopTier Software. IBM acquired CrossWorlds Software in Burlingame, Calif., in 2001.

The Boomi online "self-service" integration platform opened for business in November 2008. Boomi is bringing a more automated and Web services approach to the problem with integration operations taking place in its own data center.

An automated process, in the Boomi online Build environment, prompts users to diagram a path desired between applications, designating what data is to be synchronized between the two, then performs the integration as an automated process. The path is created through a point-and-click process as the user connects software assets. Integrations may be tested in the Build environment before being put into production. If a data transformation must take place between applications for one application to use another's data, the Boomi system can handle that as well, Nucci said.

The Coupa partnership will allow a more automated method of managing the sales lead to cash process. For example, a CRM user could extract data from the CRM application and integrate it with an accounts payable accounting system, Nucci said. The integration works with online Intacct, NetSuite, Peachtree and QuickBooks financial applications as well.

At the same time it's come up with a way to offer a portable copy of its integration based on its Atom runtime environment for customers to run on premises as well The Atom engine can be decoupled from the Boomi integration platform and installed in the customer's own environment, where it performs integrations in the same manner as would occur on the platform.

Boomi has made the Atom integration engine available to all application suppliers in hopes of gaining many more connectors and adapters, provided by the application companies. While Boomi employs developers to produce its own connectors and adapters, it's frequently understood that the best connector supplier is the writer of the application itself.

"You can't be the only vendor to build all these connectors. We've opened up the platform to any application provider," Nucci said. Boomi currently offers 60 connectors and adapters on its site. They will connect to SAP and Oracle financials applications, as well as Microsoft's Great Plains accounting apps, now known as Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Boomi charges $500 per month for use of 1-2 connectors/adapters. A 4-5 connector system would generate a $2,000 per month charge, Nucci said.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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