At Dreamforce, we caught up with Jitterbit’s VP of Marketing, Andrew Leigh, who filled us in on the buzz about digital transformation, which involves changing business processes to connect to other services. Uber and Airbnb are prime examples, where innovative integrations have led to market success.
According to Leigh, in the era of digital connectivity the cost of maintaining hardwired integrations is spiraling out of control. Jitterbit is an integration cloud company that aims to streamline these interconnections, helping companies create a sustainable and manageable set of integrations. Leigh distinguishes between custom integrations, pre-built connectors, and connectivity, such as the real-time API integration available through Jitterbit’s Harmony Live offering.
Give us an introduction into Jitterbit—who are you and what you do?
Jitterbit is an integration cloud company, which means that we’re really focused in on digital connectivity. We can get just about anything in the cloud to talk to each other; we can get anything in the cloud to talk to those on-premise legacy applications that are locked behind the firewall. We can also get the traditional applications that live back behind that firewall to talk to one another, and we do that all with a single multi-tenant cloud platform.
Who are your customers?
Over half of our customers could be here at Dreamforce, since they are Salesforce.com customers. They might be on the sales app, the service app, the marketing app, or the custom mobile app. We connect these new engagement applications that live on a cloud platform to other cloud platforms, or back to systems of record. For example, we’re connecting Salesforce.com to all of the most common ERP applications—SAP, Oracle, or Microsoft.
Over 90% of a company’s data sits back behind their firewall in their systems of record. If we can connect that data that lives within the company to a cloud platform like Salesforce.com, which is being used by your employees or your partners or your customers, we can amplify the value of those CRM apps. So that’s our classic customer.
We range all the way up from SMB customers to some of the largest names out there. In terms of smaller customers, Berkley School of Music is probably one of my favorites—it’s an IT department of three. We connected somewhere around 15 applications for them; they’re actually using some of Salesforce’s most advanced application capabilities. We’ve hooked up their Salesforce apps to about six different legacy systems. But it’s a small little school of music! Moving up all the way up, we work with some of the biggest enterprise companies around the world, including Jim Beam, Sunkist, or Mophie.
Are there any industries where this kind of connectivity is most relevant?
Connectivity is a problem for every company today, across every major industry. We have well over 700 enterprise customers, and they span all 15 major industries. We are beginning to verticalize the solution a little more; we’re very strong in manufacturing, technology, and retail with Omnichannel. We’ve also done some really significant work in health care and financial services. Funny enough, oil and gas has been taking off as well. So Jitterbit has been primarily a horizontal solution, but we are starting to verticalize.
What’s driving your position in the industry?
Everybody today is talking about digitally transforming their company—“digital transformation” is the big buzz word. If you peel back to what “digital transformation” means, it really means a whole new era of connectivity. Digital transformation means redefining your business processes by connecting to new services.
For example, here at Dreamforce they talk about digital disruption from companies like Uber and Airbnb, and how Uber is fundamentally transforming the taxi cab industry. They definitely are, but it’s not just that they built a mobile application. That’s not what makes Uber special. Uber’s success is really a connectivity story. For the first time, they connected your mobile device to a map to the car, because the car is also connected to the application. On top of that, they then connected it to your credit card through payment services. That’s maps, payment services, CRM system, car, and mobile device all connected in an entirely new way. Connectivity transformed that industry. Jitterbit is optimized to orchestrate those processes.
Can you give us an example of how your customers are using Jitterbit for digital transformation?
We have a customer who will speak tomorrow called Club Auto. Club Auto is basically the Canadian AAA; they’re the second biggest roadside assistance behind OnStar. They’re really cool. They came to us and said, “We want to be the Uber of tow trucks.” So the driver is using a mobile device to track you in your car. Instead of writing in to say you had an issue, the car itself is connected to the Salesforce call center, which is connected with that tow truck driver, who has a field service mobile application. When the tow truck is deployed, the passenger can see the tow truck on a map, which has never been done before. When the tow truck guy comes, he can actually interface directly with the car and try to fix the car on the spot. Then the car will tell the call center whether it works. All that’s been orchestrated through Jitterbit.
Can you tell us a little bit about Harmony Live and your approach to API?
We’ve been focused on real-time API integration, and that’s called Harmony Live. We built that right into the core platform so we’ve got a full API management stack now.
We’ve always been able to connect anything that had an API—if it used the SOAP or REST API, we could connect it. Now, if something doesn’t have an API, we can give it an API. We can expose that API either inside the firewall or outside the firewall. The big benefit with this is that if I expose an API outside the firewall, it becomes a gateway for a whole new level of B2B business. It also becomes a gateway for all of the mobile applications.
For example, this powers the Club Auto system. The driver of the car has an iWatch application and a mobile application where they can push a button and that will contact an API that we deploy outside the firewall, which will grab the information, pull it inside Club Auto, put it into the call center, and then send the tow truck out.
Who is the potential user of Harmony Live?
Traditional integrations with middleware, those big on-premise stacks, are fundamentally being disrupted by our cloud technology. In the era of digital connectivity, you’re not going to build a few dozen integrations in the future—you’re going to need to build hundreds, maybe thousands of integrations. So the idea that a developer has to be brought in for every single integration is simply not realistic moving forward.
Within the next 3-5 years, every company will have hundreds of integrations to manage. We work with the Salesforce administrator, the NetSuite administrator, and the business analyst, who understands the data but also understands the business process that actually transacts that business data. They are the only users who will be in a position to build these connections going forward.
Many software vendors like to talk about prebuilt connectors. Is that a situation where something like Jitterbit or Harmony Live is not necessary?
There are connectors, and then there’s connectivity. We have prebuilt connectors and connectivity to all the major business applications out there. With that said, there are still thousands of other applications out there. There’s a long tail of vendors from both North America and Europe who have built applications over the last 20 years that need to be connected. On top of that, well over half of them are homegrown applications that people built with Java or with .NET. We need to be able to connect to those applications as well.
The bottom line is that it’s not enough to build prebuilt connectors. You need a more dynamic solution: a full digital connectivity platform that’s designed to connect to anything. And as I said before, if it has an API we can connect to it. Now, even if it doesn’t have an API, we can give it an API and we can begin to communicate to it in real-time.
Who do you see as your main competitors?
I think the main alternatives to Jitterbit are traditional integration middleware vendors and people who decide that they can code it themselves. But the industry has really changed in the last 15 months. Fourteen months ago, the biggest enterprise service bus, the on-premise vendor TIBCO, was acquired by a mutual fund.
Four months ago, the biggest on-premise data integration company, Informatica, was also acquired in a huge leverage buy-out. So our entire industry and competitive landscape has changed. We see the traditional old school middleware vendors as our main competition. We just think that there’s a new way to do it.
What are your goals for the near future?
Going forward, our focus is to make things drop-dead simple. We want to make reusable processes based on the way people go out and connect; we do not want to bring in an army of developers. Integration should be done in a matter of minutes, or maybe a matter of hours—not months. We’re beginning to advise people that even for a fairly complex integration project, if the developer proposes more than three people on the project and says it will take more than 90 days, turn and walk the other way because that’s the old way of doing integration. Eighty-five percent of our customers are now going live in less than thirty days and about forty percent of our customers are self-implemented.
Are there any other trends that are really driving development or changing business for you?
Real-time integration is the biggest change out there. The ability to connect not just what’s within your company but what’s outside of your company—customers and partners—is also huge. Companies can now connect directly out to their customers’ mobile devices and directly out to IoT (Internet of Things) devices like their cars. That’s the future of integration from a consumer perspective.
In terms of connecting to partners, Odyssey Logistics is a good example in the shipping industry. Basically, if you want to ship a thousand pianos, you reach out to Odyssey Logistics. They’re tied in with hundreds of shippers, and they’ll match your project to a shipping company within a certain radius who can complete the project by boat, by train, or by truck. Odyssey Logistics uses Jitterbit to build out that community, which is then available to all of those shippers; it’s a B2B world. The shippers get a real-time feed from Jitterbit, in a portal. A little bell rings and they can decide whether to schedule or bid on the job. That’s all orchestrated by Jitterbit.
The cool thing is that they’re also using the local agents to connect directly out to their customers’ ERP system. So when the customer wants to ship something, instead of picking up the phone or going to Google to find shippers, they execute a shipping order in their ERP system. The shipping order triggers the community message out to all the shipping and then in real-time they can bid on it. This is all closed automatically back to the ERP system.
This level of connectivity was not possible five years ago; all of that would have been paper-based or done through email. Now that entire process is digitalized. They built all of that in three weeks with a team of two people.
Do you see your customers doing a lot of new and unexpected things with this?
Harmony Live! opened up a whole new level of use cases that frankly, we had never even anticipated. For example, the L.A. Metro, which serves around 5 million passengers, had massive amounts of ticketing and financial data that they needed to connect to Salesforce.com. But they didn’t want to move all of that data over, so they used our API management platform to roll out their entire new metro ticket. We had no idea, and they built it all up in six weeks. We found out about the fourth week because they had a little technical challenge they were trying to figure out. We said, “Wait, you’re automating Jitterbit across the whole L.A. Metro?” They said, “Yeah, we’ll be live in three weeks.” That was about two months ago. Honestly, there have been a lot of unexpected new use cases.
Can you clarify some of the language around your product offerings? What’s the difference between Harmony Live! and Jitterbit?
Jitterbit is the integration platform. And then Live! is the real-time capability of it. There are basically three design patterns in integration:
- Data integration that syncs back and forth across multiple systems. This is very popular for Analytics. We have analytics for Salesforce called Wave Analytics. We grab all the external data and put it into their Analytics Engine so they can slice and dice the data.
- Process integration, for something like quote-to-cash. For example, we work with a CPQ vendor called Apttus, because they can’t quote and configure and price a product for a salesperson without touching the pricing engine in the accounting system. If you execute an order, the order has to be put into the general ledger so that the invoice can be created and you can put out an accounts receivable in the back office. So we’re that connectivity layer for Apttus as well.
- Then there’s real-time API integrations, which are primarily in the B2B communities and with mobile applications. All of that runs on Harmony.
For the most part are your customers are using one type of integration or multiple types of integration?
What’s cool is that often these patterns are deployed together. We put it out as one product. For example, Club Auto uses all three types, and Berkley School of Music uses all three types. So it’s not that you use one type per problem.
That’s where a lot of the other integration vendors are struggling. They have a separate solution for each problem. So they have their own API management product, but it’s not tied into the data integration product, and the data integration product isn’t tied into the business orchestration tools. So companies can’t use those products to create an orchestrated API. They can manage an API and put out an API gateway, but they can’t actually connect it to the core business processes like order management by company. That’s why Mashery just got sold back to TIBCO because of B2B integration. Apogee has a really exciting API gateway, but doesn’t provide the fundamental integration back to the core systems of the company. Too many of these integration companies are providing an unintegrated suite.