MuleSoft Digital Connect part 2: The value of integration

  • Written By WHISHWORKS
  • 23/09/2020

In the first part of our MuleSoft Digital Connect series the focus was on how MuleSoft helps companies become more agile, enabling everyone in the organisation to become more digitally independent and innovate. In this blog we share some of the most impactful customer stories presented during the event.

Enabling Supply Chain adaptability using APIs

Manufacturers are always looking for ways to turn their Supply Chain into a competitive advantage and like in other areas of the organisation, flexibility is key. Covid-19 has accentuated the need for flexibility – supply chains need to scale up and down rapidly, and need to be dynamic as different parts of the world are moving at different speeds.

Being more agile for manufacturers means connecting to partners faster, having immediate access and insight into different areas of the supply and production chain, and need to manage distributed employees on a distributed schedule with increased safety and protection measures.

An API-first strategy helps to build this agility, meaning Manufacturers can deal with the impact of Covid-19 and can become more robust.

ABB is an example of this – They are a Swiss/Swedish Manufacturer operating mainly in robotics, power, heavy electrical equipment, and automation technology, with operations around the globe. They used MuleSoft to build a more flexible supply chain and were able to realise the following benefits:

  • 260% speed increase in development cycles
  • 80% quicker developer onboarding process
  • 46 re-useable Mule applications developed in 12 months.

From an IT Architecture standpoint, the problem in Supply Chains comes from siloed data and applications. Each part of the Supply Chain process (Sourcing, Product Development, Supply Planning, Supply Execution, Logistics) all use the same systems and same data objects (Customer Data, Supplier Data, Orders, Raw Materials etc) but often are accessed individually for each stage. With the use of MuleSoft, each of these objects can be created as an individual product and re-used across the entire Supply Chain process, creating a more simple and more flexible architecture that can respond effectively to change.

The premise of ‘here comes everybody’ is that organisations become software driven and all employees become digitally independent, have access to data and can self-serve to go further, faster on their own. For this to work it requires a mindset shift, from thinking about delivering projects, to enabling other people deliver projects across the organisation, whether its Marketing, Sales or Customer Service. This means IT needs to provide access to digital assets, enable self-service capabilities across the organisation, provide comprehensive training, and develop the guiding principles on how processes and operations need to change to accommodate the new normal which is that more things will need to be done remotely. According to Ross, the opportunity amidst the crisis is that companies will become more proactive and IT will become an enabler of innovation across the whole organisation, with everybody enabled to move much faster and with more confidence.

How SL Transport transformed the experience of 900,000 passengers

SL Transport is Stockholm’s public transport organisation and is responsible for buses, underground trains, commuter trains, trams and certain ferry lines in Greater Stockholm. As a public organisation, it is their duty to serve the citizens of Stockholm as efficiently as possible. Stockholm is a very spread out city so operations are complex, and customer expectation is high.

SL Transport were facing several business challenges:

  • The pressure to deliver quicker and more connected citizen experiences
  • Continuously provide and support new transport requirements
  • Understanding real time information from vehicles and assets in order to understand how to increase transport efficiency.

These business challenges were creating in turn, pressure on IT:

  • Multiple back-end systems with no central orchestration
  • Previous project-based approach with multiple partners had created an ‘explosion’ of point-to-point integrations, with no control or accountability.
  • Challenges integrating internal systems with customer facing digital channels and partners.

They implemented MuleSoft to begin systematically breaking down this point to point architecture and replacing it with productised API’s, that reduced complexity, ensured all IT and SI partners were working on one ‘source of truth’, and provided and quick and easy way to begin enhancing customer facing functionality.

Their key lessons from this implementation were to collaborate tightly with business lines – creating an API-led operating model means new ways of IT working with the business. IT in SL Transport has now become a strategic business partner rather than simply a technology enabler. They also learnt the importance of building a focussed approach to scalability using the API domain model (categorising System, Process and Experience API’s). This 3-layer approach meant they got the most out of MuleSoft in the shortest space of time.

Their next steps with Mule are to build publicly available APIs for consumption of traffic data and station information all on a mobile application. They also plan to capture more information on vehicles and use this to provide a more connected experience for their passengers (seating availability, notifications on delays, offers etc).

The impact of Covid-19 and the power of integration

In their sessions, Simon Moorhead, CIO at Rail Delivery Group, and Olivier Vansteelandt, CIO at AXA Luxembourg, discussed how Covid-19 impacted their organisations and how API-led integration helped them overcome certain obstacles.

  • What was the impact of Covid?

RDG – Discussed that rail traffic is down 95% which has resulted in a 95% reduction in revenue. A focus area of RDG over the past few months has been around getting accurate timetable information to key workers and customers that were still making use of the rail network.

AXA – Business was well prepared for the home working situation, but it has created a need to accelerate a number of ‘digital’ initiatives. Insurance is still a very paper-based industry, so there has been refreshed impetus to execute the digital initiatives at pace.

  • How does MuleSoft help?

AXA – MuleSoft plays an important role in their digital journey, and they started their API-led connectivity programme a few years ago. Enablement of electronic signature is one area it’s helping, better managing contract workflow. MuleSoft also allows them to interact with customers via digital portals, improving the customer experience. This is moving to a much more self-service type of customer experience.

RDG – The rail industry has no shortage of data (rolling stock, tickets, service availability, reservations etc) so MuleSoft is helping to bring that data together and make them consumable in the form of APIs. One example of this is the work RDG are doing around disruptions. They are combining disruption data with timetable and station data, and getting this information to their passengers. They are also exploring B2B APIs and how they can expose their data to other organisations, not just the public.

Articulating the Value of Integration

84% of IT leaders say integration challenges are holding their businesses back. It is important for IT leaders to be able to communicate the importance of this challenge, and hence to articulate the value of integration.

Articulating the value means aligning executives on the need for change, justifying investments, motivating technology teams and increasing adoption.

A systematic approach to this is the MuleSoft Value Framework. This consists of two main components:

  1. Platform Benefits – Direct integration value
  2. Business Outcomes – Business Value driven in part by integration of data/applications

Platform Benefits: There are 9 main Platform benefits across 3 categories: Build, Run and Manage Risk. An example in ‘run’ would be ‘less time updating architecture’ and an example within ‘manage risk’ would be ‘increase governance’. Each of these platform benefits can be quantified and objectively calculated. For example, there is a formula specifically designed for API reuse, that can show the cost reduction of re-using rather than re-building for each project based on the FTE cost of developers.

Business Outcomes: The purpose of this is to relate integration benefits into wider business objectives. In order to demonstrate the value, the following flow must be articulated: Integration use case -> Technology Initiative -> Business Objectives -> Business Value

There are 25 common technology initiatives. Examples are Move to the Cloud, Customer 360, develop mobile applications. There are 6 broad buckets of business objectives. Examples are: improved customer experience, operational efficiency gains, enhanced partner experience. Finally, there are three areas of Business Value that this must all be linked back to: Reduced Costs, Increased Revenue, Reduced Risk. Following this flow will enable IT leaders to clearly show how integration has a tangible impact on the organisation.

If you would like to find out more about how you can leverage API-led integration and Anypoint Platform to drive digital enablement and innovation, we can help. Give us a call or email us at marketing@whishworks.com.

Other useful links:

MuleSoft integration services

Recent webinars on Anypoint Platform

API Recipes with MuleSoft Anypoint Platform

Latest Insights

API self-service
Blogs

APIs powering self-service

The demystifying and democratisation of innovation by IT leaders will help bolster the self-service of the broader organisation.

Salesforce CRM for the public sector
Blogs

CRM for Citizen Relationship Management

While the times have been changing for a while, current events have accelerated the need for public agencies to adapt to a changing world.

Open banking APIs
Blogs

Open Banking – How APIs are fast-tracking growth

When it comes to reaching market faster and scaling with both speed and stability, APIs have been a crucial component of many Fintechs.