Simplifying Integration and Automation: Boomi CTO Shares Vision for Developers
Democratized and governed integration platforms, harnessing AI and automation to simplify complex tasks and drive continuous evolution.
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Integration is becoming increasingly complex in today's hybrid IT landscapes. With data and applications distributed across on-premises systems, multiple clouds, SaaS platforms, and more, connecting everything in a seamless, scalable, and secure way is a major challenge. This is especially true for developers, who face accelerating demands and limited time to meet business needs.
To gain insights into how integration platform provider Boomi aims to make life easier for developers, engineers, and architects, I spoke with Matt McLarty, CTO at Boomi. We discussed the company's approach to supporting developers, the role of AI and automation in simplifying integration, and key innovations on the roadmap.
Democratizing Integration While Retaining Control
According to McLarty, a core part of Boomi's vision is to "democratize" integration — empower more people to participate in integration projects without requiring deep technical skills.
However, complete self-service is not the goal.
"You don't want to just throw tools at non-technical people and let them run away," he said. "We have a whole model with the right guardrails in place to ensure what's built will be well-integrated and not disruptive."
This balanced approach aims to open integration to business users without sacrificing governance and oversight. With Boomi's newly launched Spaces product, developers can create restricted workspaces where less technical users can build integrations within predefined boundaries.
"It allows the centralized IT teams to address things like security and compliance across the platform instead of having fragmentation where every new rule requires changes in 15 different systems," said McLarty.
By blending democratization with appropriate controls and guidance, Boomi helps organizations scale their integration initiatives beyond the limitations of technical resources.
Taming the Complexity of Hybrid IT
No discussion of integration is complete without addressing the hybrid, multi-cloud reality facing most enterprises today. Rather than forcing customers into a single environment, Boomi delivers ubiquitous availability across platforms.
"Our platform was architected from the outset to be cloud native but deployable everywhere," said McLarty. "Everything we're doing today is universally available across all those platforms."
This flexibility allows Boomi to support clients wherever they are in their cloud journey — from early adoption to reversing course back to on-premises in some cases.
"You have to be able to live in the past to bring people into the future," noted McLarty. "We can help on the migration forward or back. It's all about making it easy to absorb and embrace change."
With volatile business needs and cost considerations constantly shifting integration priorities, he sees the ability to adjust on the fly as an imperative.
Harnessing AI To Simplify Integration
When asked about plans to expand Boomi's library of connectors, McLarty pivoted the discussion to AI. He sees AI-driven automation as a force multiplier for addressing integration challenges across endpoints.
"Rather than manually building connectors, we can use AI to help users achieve integrations by describing desired outcomes in plain business language," he said.
Boomi's early adoption of AI and machine learning stems from its founding vision as a platform company rather than a pure-play tool vendor. By aggregating anonymized integration patterns from customers over the years, Boomi has amassed data critical to training and tuning AI algorithms to the specifics of integration.
While wary of hype cycles around AI, McLarty highlighted key areas where AI can provide practical benefits for developers right now. One example is using techniques like retrieval augmented generation (RAG) to contextualize and focus general AI models like ChatGPT for specific domains or business needs.
"Rather than reinventing everything from scratch, we're showing how to combine proven technologies like Boomi, AI engines, and vector databases to solve customer problems faster," he explained. "It allows us to deliver quick time to value while abstracting away a lot of the AI complexities developers don't need to deal with."
Enabling Developers To Use AI More Effectively
I asked McLarty whether AI could make some developers feel threatened or overwhelmed. He acknowledged natural skepticism but said Boomi aims to make AI approachable and harness it to lighten developers' workloads.
"For those with advanced skills, we want to take the grunt work off their plates so they can spend time on the hard problems only they can solve," he said. "And for less technical users, we want to provide guardrails and guidance to take advantage of AI safely and responsibly."
Striking this balance between control and agility is a common theme. Boomi sees its role as facilitating innovation across the organization without introducing unnecessary business risk.
McLarty is particularly enthusiastic about using integration to help developers interact with AI more efficiently. For example, by connecting relevant data sources to external AI services, integration can eliminate tedious manual prep and post-processing.
"It's about getting the right data to the right models and back again in a repeatable way," he said.
"Integration makes AI usable."
Boomi provides recipes and reusable templates to make integration with AI systems faster and easier for organizations. Developers can focus on unique business needs rather than building routine plumbing.
When asked about the roadmap, McLarty stated that Boomi sees integration challenges continuously evolving as technology progresses. The company plans to keep pace through collaboration and participatory design.
"We interact constantly with customers, partners, and our community to understand emerging needs," he said. "Our platform and partner ecosystem must grow to match the expanding scope of integration."
While not disclosing specifics, he hinted that Boomi has some major announcements centered on accelerating automation and leveraging AI more deeply.
The message is clearly one of co-innovation - working jointly with stakeholders across the integration lifecycle to rapidly deliver solutions that maximize business impact. By transparently sharing roadmaps and engaging extensively with developers in the wild, Boomi hopes to ensure it provides the capabilities they most urgently require.
Empowering Through Community
Beyond pure technology, I was curious how Boomi builds connections between human developers. McLarty highlighted the company's thriving online community and events like their current World Tour series.
"Bringing people together to exchange ideas, best practices, and use cases is tremendously valuable," he said. "People learn as much from networking with peers as they do from us."
Looking forward, he foresees a hybrid model blending digital forums and in-person gatherings evolving as the integration community continues growing.
"Integration spans so many roles across the enterprise now," said McLarty. "Enabling all these stakeholders to support each other is key to our vision."
To illustrate Boomi's value in accelerating and simplifying complex integration projects, McLarty shared examples like Riverbed Technology. The IT solutions provider faced a tangled web of heavily customized legacy middleware that hampered agility. By implementing Boomi for both internal and external integrations, Riverbed reduced sales quote preparation time from up to 7 days down to 8 hours.
He also highlighted innovative companies like Enovis leveraging Boomi's flexibility and scalability to keep pace with rapid business growth. The medical device manufacturer seamlessly integrated new solutions into customer environments without on-premises infrastructure constraints.
For operations like agriculture with extensive manual processes, Boomi brought significant productivity gains. Nature Fresh Farms eliminated repetitive data entry and paper-based workflows using Boomi's rapid digitization capabilities. This allowed resources to focus on higher-value tasks.
An Integration Platform for the Future
In closing, McLarty reiterated that integration underpins nearly everything businesses seek to accomplish today. Boomi's charter is to drive flexibility, scalability, and automation while providing guardrails to allow innovation without anarchy.
"Technology will always keep changing, so integration has to empower organizations to change with it," he concluded.
By cultivating an ecosystem centered on human needs, Boomi aims to deliver the speed and agility customers demand while simplifying integration so developers can focus on high-value challenges worthy of their talents.
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