Dell Boomi and the Knowledge Base

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Also posted on: The IM Blog

Dell Boomi has just launched the latest version of its AtomSphere iPaaS (integration platform as a service) product. Initially I want to talk about something that is unique (I think) to Boomi, and which represents a major differentiator. This is the Knowledge Base.

There are other products that have things called Knowledge Bases but not (I think) in the data integration space and not working the same way. To understand Boomi’s Knowledge Base you have to understand that AtomSphere is a cloud-based, single instance multi-tenancy solution. What the Knowledge Base does is to collect all the metadata about all the integration processes that pass through it. This isn’t available to customers directly but is collected and then analysed by Boomi internally. So, for example, there have been, to-date, some 17 million error messages generated within the environment. Note that these are not typically system errors (in which case 17 million would be a lot) but the sort of errors you typically get in data integration environments. Anyway, Boomi has analysed these errors and found that the top 10 errors represent 50% of all the messages and the top 100 represent 80%.

What the company has now done is release a feature called Boomi Resolve. What this allows users to do is, whenever they have an error, they can click on the relevant error within Resolve and the software will provide them with the most likely explanation of what the problem is.

This isn’t the only use of the Knowledge Base. The company already offers Boomi Suggest, which is based on analysing 9.4m different mappings and which can suggest an appropriate mapping in the same sort of way that Boomi Resolve works. The company has also been awarded a patent for its Predictive Assistance. This is used internally by Dell staff to identify (again based on analyses of the Knowledge Base—in this case, of customer usage patterns) users that may be having problems of some sort, so that Dell can proactively go and assist them where that is appropriate. As a result Dell is claiming a 94% renewal rate for subscriptions, which in large part it attributes to Predictive Assistance.

Just to summarise these uses of the Knowledge Base: I think this is a really intelligent use of crowd sourcing and, as I said, I think this is a real differentiator.

As far as other new features are concerned, this release sees the introduction of an SOA dashboard so that you can see how well services are performing—and you can directly launch Boomi Resolve from the dashboard if you have a problem. Then there is the inclusion of a native message queuing facility, JSON support and an XML to/from JSON conversion facility. In addition, Dell has just launched a London (UK) based Cloud to support EU requirements with respect to personal data, and which should also be able to provide better performance this side of the pond.

One other interesting thing about Dell Boomi is that it is embedded into various product offerings from other vendors. One that I can name is Oracle, which embeds Dell Boomi into its Taleo product, while SuccessFactors and Ariba (an SAP company) do likewise. I can’t name any other suppliers that do this, for confidentiality reasons, but I can say that those mentioned are not the only ones—that also provide their own data integration products—in this category.

Dell Boomi is doing well—it now has over 2,000 customers (that’s very rapid growth)—and I think the main reason, apart from basic functionality obviously, is the edge that the Knowledge Base and its analysis provides. So, kudos to Dell Boomi for doing that.

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