Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 1 second

This From the Top interview is with Rick Nucci, CTO and Co-Founder of Boomi.
Image What is the current focus of your company's business?
Nucci: Boomi supports the integration needs of small and mid-sized business (SMBs). The company was founded on the premise of making powerful integration capabilities available to SMBs who have challenging integration requirements but cannot afford the time and expense associated with implementing complex integration solutions. 

We provide B2B and application integration, and recently, we introduced a software as a service (SaaS) integration offering called Boomi On Demand. We make it possible for customers to integrate applications in their enterprise and with their business partners. This is accomplished with point-and-click ease and at an affordable price.

Image How has this focus changed in the last 2 years?
Nucci: As part of our commitment to small and mid-sized companies, we track the trends impacting this target market. And for the past few years, you’d have to be blind not to see the impact of SaaS applications. They are attractive to companies because they provide tremendous functionality at a reasonable cost. For that reason, Boomi developed and recently introduced Boomi On DemandSM.

Boomi On Demand is the industry’s only fully on-demand integration service. Boomi On Demand makes it possible for companies to integrate their applications (including SaaS and on-premise applications) and trading partners directly from the Web. We’re driving down integration costs, removing complexity from the process and making integration available to any company – no matter how big or small.

Boomi On DemandSM democratizes the adoption of SaaS applications by making it affordable and easy-to-use for all companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.

Image What are your current initiatives?
Nucci: Boomi on Demand is currently in public beta and is planned for general availability in December 2007. Boomi is also rapidly bolstering its on-demand partner ecosystem by partnering with SaaS application leaders — companies such as salesforce.com, NetSuite, SmartTurn, Intacct and OpSource — to make integration among SaaS and on-premise applications seamless.

We are also beginning to build the framework for the Boomi On Demand user community. Much in the way open source users share information with each other about new and innovative ways to use open source technology, we’re looking to create a similar forum for Boomi On Demand. We want customers to feel free to create their own adapters and share them with others in the community. We also want them to share tips and ideas about how to make integration ever easier.

Image How has the market for EDI changed with the impact of the Internet?
Nucci: The internet has made a profound difference in EDI integration. Though many integration companies no longer want to talk about EDI, the reality is that the majority of companies doing business electronically with trading partners still rely on EDI. And in many ways, with the introduction of the internet, EDI is stronger than ever. 

Not only can companies conduct EDI transactions over the internet in near real time, they don’t have to be tied down to EDI. For example, if you’re a manufacturer and some of your retailers use EDI to do business with you and others use RosettaNet, you can meet these needs through a single platform. Intelligent integration systems can be set up to transmit documents in whatever format your partner accepts, and because the internet is the transport mechanism, information is sent and received quickly and securely.

And as an added bonus, with EDI over the internet, hardware and VAN charges have been eliminated. This removed the primary barrier to company’s keeping EDI active for years to come.

Image What are the greatest challenges for your customers?
Nucci: In integration, I think the biggest challenge customers face is the sheer amount of noise in the market. They know they need integration, but when it’s time to find a solution, if you perform a Google search, you’ll find everything from ETL to enterprise information integration and a thousand things in between. This is particularly true for companies without large technology staffs with prior knowledge to guide the search.

As a result, when customers install an application – whether on premise or in a SaaS model – it’s hard to figure out the best way to get information from other applications into that system and vice versa. Because it’s so difficult to figure out how to automate the system, many organizations rely on the time-intensive, error-prone process of rekeying information from system to system. This is a pain in and of itself, but as changes occur in data over time, the nightmare of replication grows astronomical.

And if they can decode all of the marketing language and finally figure out what type of integration they need, they then face significant deployment challenges. I regularly hear about customers that purchase a SaaS application for $50/month and then find out they need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to make it work effectively through integration.

Integration can be an enormously frustrating process. Boomi is changing that.

Image How are you helping your customers address these challenges?
Nucci: Boomi’s model is simplicity. Build an easy-to-use, affordable product and then market it with an easy-to-understand message. And as an added bonus, we provide transparent pricing, so customers know in advance what they’ll receive and what it will cost. This has proven to be a successful model.

This is perfectly illustrated by Boomi On Demand. Many companies advertise SaaS integration, but when you dig deeper, you’ll find they’re selling a Web service that requires coding or an appliance that requires you purchase hardware.

In contrast, when you select Boomi On Demand, you can log into a Web site, select the applications you want to connect and build the integration with drag-and-drop ease. Many of our customers have business analysts create their integrations – there are no developers involved. And they only have to pay per application connected. This model is simple, easy to digest from a financial perspective, and you can see results within hours.

Image Who should pay for testing?
Nucci: Boomi does testing internally, and also engages Beta partners to assist us in testing. In all cases Boomi absorbs these costs as an R&D expense.

Image How do you categorize 'good' testing versus 'bad' or useless testing?
Nucci: From our perspective, “good” testing is focused on figuring out real results about a product. It tests the boundaries of what the product can do, and really good testing also helps you identify your limits and weaknesses, which should ultimately translate into your roadmap for future product enhancements.

I’d define “useless” testing as testing performed solely for the purpose of creating marketing benchmarks. Yes it’s important to demonstrate scalability, security, transactional throughput, etc., but that information is worthless if tests are only performed in an ideal environment. It’s important to know what’s going to happen in a real enterprise with real users.

As much as companies may only want to hear the good news, you need to know the negatives as well. That’s how you’ll improve and be able to make sure your customers have an even better experience with each version of the product you release.
Last modified on Thursday, 03 May 2007
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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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