We are currently experiencing a technology revolution that is impacting the workplace. The battle for organizations to survive is being awarded to those who are able to respond to changing market conditions with speed, agility, and better innovation.
In today’s demanding competitive landscape, this cannot be accomplished with traditional software application development. Cloud first applications deployment to public and private clouds are now the preferred technology platform, which was made evident in a report published last year by Intel Technology called Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security. The findings their survey was that IT organizations expect 16 months before 80% of their budgets are committed to cloud apps and solutions.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) affords organizations to embrace new technologies to implement data, application, API, and process improvement solutions with little to no up-front capital investment. These organizations are able to integrate systems, scale capacity, and scope beyond what was previously possible. Companies that continue to invest in large capital expenditures such as infrastructure and software licenses continue to be faced with systems that cannot respond to the demands of the business. In this post, I will explore Perficient’s partner platforms MuleSoft and Appian, as examples of modern cloud based Software as a service (SaaS) digital platforms that can be leveraged to transform business.
The Appian platform is a single integrated product that is used to build custom enterprise applications with speed and power. The process of traditional software development which I define as, taking code from a developer’s workstation to the end user, has many steps and is challenging to provide feedback to business stakeholders and developers. In addition, I have seen estimates that 45%-60% of functionality built using traditional application development is not what the business really wanted. The result is Information Technology (IT) departments spending significant amounts of time on tasks that provide little to no value to their bottom line and are struggling to meet the demands of the business.
The Appian platform takes on the software engineering, and allows organizations to use drag and drop functionality to build powerful applications that are backward compatible and future proof. This allows IS to be more productive and work closely with business stakeholders to deliver functionality at a regular cadence to the business 10 times faster than traditional software development.
As Appian’s preferred API-integration partner, the MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform is also a single product that is used as the integration layer to expose assets such as back-end Enterprise data or services as APIs that can be consumed by client applications. API management provides organizations with the capability to rapidly design and build APIs in order to maximize the business value of data from legacy systems, and cloud or on-premises services. MuleSoft is used to extract and transform data, perform business logic, and provide standards method for data to be accessed across the enterprise. This is accomplished from a list of over 200 connectors to Legacy Systems, ERPs, Package Applications, and Third-Party APIs from providers such as Google, Facebook, Paypal, and others.
MuleSoft also provides API Management capabilities to publish APIs that can be used to securely expose data from internal systems to either internal or third-party systems. The added benefits of using API Management is the ability to API Service Registry, Security, Rate Limiting, Governance, and Alerts. In addition, API Management tools can provide organizations with the opportunities to create new revenue streams by monetizing services and data to customers, partners, and end-users.
What are the advantages?
Cloud based, Low-code, and API event driven integration applications that can be built on Appian and MuleSoft provide several advantages including the following:
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1. Reduce investment costs by simplifying and organizing information: using the two platforms reduces investment costs due to the fact that they are offered in the cloud. MuleSoft provides the opportunity to easily share data across applications using API Integration. Appian, as the client application, has the ability to simply connect to MuleSoft using standards-based connectivity and displaying information with it’s user friendly interfaces. The end user applications built on Appian can provide a unified view of all data within the enterprise for a better customer experience, and increase in productively for employees or partners. This increases the pace in which data is shared and user applications are built significantly faster, enabling the business to provide faster feedback on application features.
2. Align IT delivery with business strategy: once an organization is successful in simplifying information and building applications at a regular cadence, it can facilitate the breaking down system and organizational silos. Organizations are better able to re-organize their staff into cross functional teams using agile development frameworks that are focused on delivering value based business objects instead of being aligned by skills or specialization. This increases employee productively as these cross functional teams take ownership of delivering value to the business. IT organizations also benefit with a focus on delivering invocation that impacts the bottom line which includes leveraging modern technology tools such as mobile, cloud, cognitive computing or artificial intelligence, and IoT. Furthermore, solutions implemented on both Appian and MuleSoft are reusable, which increases the software flexibility for a faster pace in which IT departments can create and deploy secure integration services in order to respond to business objects, end-user expectations, and market demands.
3. Achieve early Return on Investment (ROI): with both Appian and MuleSoft being low-code platforms. This makes it possible to map out the entire business process as well as interactively design user interface forms with stakeholders within Appian. In MuleSoft, API’s can also be interactively designed to support the process orchestration. This is accomplished due the fact that developers build solutions using drag and drop capabilities, instead of writing code as-in traditional programming languages, making it easy to build reusable application end user interfaces or services. As future custom applications are built, developers take advantage of existing end user interfaces or API’s that were previously composed, which enables them to release functionality within weeks instead of months, or in certain cases, years.
4. Respond to device and channel operations: devices and channels in which customers, partners, and employees expect to use is always increasing. As organizations build applications, they need to consider browser compatibility, smartphones, tablets, and even connected devices in the Internet of Things. APIs provide the necessary dynamic decisions based on message content, headers, or other factors required for intelligent routing, based on devices or connection channels.
Appian features a build once deploy anywhere architecture, which means that the platform takes the responsibility to make sure that any interface built will work on any device. The security is also managed by the platform which allows developers to strictly focus on innovation and not software engineering.
5. Obtain Visibility and Control of Integration: MuleSoft provides visualization tools and dashboards that provide insights into the API lifecycle management in order for business stakeholders to make better decisions. This includes tools to Monitor, Troubleshooting, and configure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on information from message payloads. The details include security, traffic, geography, and device breakdown identification. This information can be used to gain an overall view of the API including locations of API traffic, performance trends over time, API response times, and who is using the APIs.
6. Build Intelligent Applications: with the demand from organizations to leverage the power of enterprise, social media, third party data, and the explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, it has never been easier for developers to extend their applications to include real-time data analysis functions such as statistical methods, computational intelligence, and mathematical formulas which encompass Artificial Intelligence (AI) provided on platform such as Google Cloud Prediction API, Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and TensorFlow.
Leveraging AI services such analytics, or proactive decision projections in the context of application provides numerous advantages such as reducing risk of errors and failures, providing the best customer recommendation (think Amazon product recommendations), or being able to proactively resolve issues and failures before they occur.
7. Security and Governance: is critical challenge in deploying APIs and cloud solutions. Some of the best known brands that have suffered data breaches face significant reputation damage and loss of revenue. Once such example is Equifax credit agency which is estimated to have spent $87.5 million after hackers were able to acquire sensitive data that affected over 143 million consumers. MuleSoft API manager enables users to secure, monitor, and analyze traffic between clients and the APIs. It provides access management, and alerts based on policies or SLA violations. It also enables developers to promote and define policies for every connection made to services or data source within the runtime.
The Appian cloud has an extensive collection of security accreditation, making it one of the most highly trusted platforms for rapid application development. Appian has comprehensive security and regulatory compliance accredited for SOC 1/ISAE 3402, SOC 2, SOC 3, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FEDRAMP, DISA Level 2, FISMA, GxP, FDA, and Cloud Security Alliance’s (CSA) Security.
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Perficient assists customers to perform software evaluations by providing free trial licenses of both the Appian and Mulesoft software. Additionally, we bring together industry and technology expertise to your business in order to provide a complete scope for a technology solution. We can safely and securely store and protect your data either in the cloud or on premise, designing the application, integration; data management workshops, and integration to support your business objectives or simply help you identify the best candidate for your first project.
Contact us to get an expert opinion and direction on how the low-code or API management technologies can support your business objectives.
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