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Boomi World 2024 - why organizations need to tackle data fragmentation more than ever if the benefits of AI are to be captured

Sarah Aryanpur Profile picture for user saryanpur May 10, 2024
Summary:
A slew of API and AI announcements coming out of Denver this week as Boomi World 2024 gets underway.

Boomi

Centralizing data has proved to be a dead end for companies.

A stark declaration from Steve Lucas, CEO of integration and automation specialist Boomi, as the company kick off its first post-pandemic in -person conference in Denver. The vibe at Boomi World 2024 was all about connectivity, reducing complexity and of course, AI.

Lucas believes the rapid development of AI represents a pivotal moment:

I believe that what we are experiencing right now is going to have a profound impact on all enterprise applications, everything. Boomi and 1000s of other companies are moving very quickly to invent a stack of new technologies that can take what we work on today, applications, databases, API's, and embrace those things in new ways.

But he cautioned that organizations still have the significant challenges of digital fragmentation, applications sprawl and the converging apps landscape, and need easy connectivity and simplicity more than ever:

There is profound complexity in the enterprise. Does anyone honestly feel like it's just gotten simpler? Not really, right? Things get more complex and we need ways to wrangle that complexity, tackle that complexity, and ultimately defeat that complexity.

The chief culprit is digital fragmentation, a byproduct of digital shifts that, paradoxically, lead to digital silos and disjointed technical architectures that leave the average enterprise now juggling over 364 applications and numerous API gateways.

He added: 

AI has highlighted digital fragmentation. AI thrives on reliable, secure, and current data, yet too often, this data is fragmented, difficult to govern, and not securely managed. What companies urgently need is a unified, enterprise-scale platform that not only bridges APIs, applications, data, and AI models, but also accelerates digital transformation.

APIs everywhere

Having set the somewhat unnerving scene for the keynote audience, Boomi unleashed its vision for the enterprise platform -  next generation API Management for the AI economy; an AI Agent Framework that has out-of-the box AI agents, third party AI agent pluggability and the ability to automate AI orchestration workflows; and enhanced data management to support data quality, data lineage and metadata management.

Matt McLarty, Boomi CTO, explained:

API gateways are everywhere, and there’s no effective global view or management dashboard for discovering, governing, and securing them, let alone rationalizing API investments and promoting best-in-class APIs for adoption. The AI economy requires next-generation API Management (APIM) that accounts for a fragmented APIM landscape and can handle the demands of enterprise-grade scalability and security that AI workloads place on APIM solutions.

To speed up its response to these critical API management issues Boomi has acquired APIIDA’s federated API management business, and API management assets from Cloud Software Group, and believes this will allow enterprises to deliver business value through API products in one end-to-end enterprise platform.

Lucas noted:

APIs are the backbone of modern software and application development, but cloud adoption and the explosive growth of APIs have disrupted traditional IT infrastructures. With these acquisitions, we’re offering a robust, enterprise-grade and federated API management solution, giving customers the ability to quickly provision, discover, secure, and infinitely scale in one end-to-end enterprise platform.

The Agent Framework is a set of integration and no code development tools that allow businesses and IT users to run AI agents either built by Boomi or its partners, and to run their own AI agents. Four new agents are built into the platform including, Boomi Answers, that provides prescriptive help, Boomi DataDetective, that classifies data fields, protects sensitive data, and data tracking, and Boomi DesignGen for building integrations. The fourth new agent in the Framework got a big cheer from the conference audience - Boomi Scribe, as it automatically produces documents for existing and built-by AI integrations. Boomi said the Agent Framework is already open to third parties and supports pluggable AI agents.

Next up was an OEM agreement with Vianai Systems, which provides AI solutions for Finance. Boomi FinTalk lets users seamlessly connect to financial data in ERP systems, and other data sources and allows them to question the data through a natural language interface in real time. In a video message during the keynote Dr. Vishal Sikka, Founder and CEO, Vianai Systems said:

With Boomi FinTalk powered by Vianai, we are using Boomi’s vast integration capabilities and Vianai’s conversational AI application for CFOs and finance users, enabling real-time, accurate, and actionable insights to drive business transformation.

Not ready yet, but promised by the end of the year Boomi unveiled Boomi DataHub, which will provide master data management, integration pipelines, and a framework that will expand over time to provide other data management capabilities, including enterprise scale movement and standardization of data for AI and analytics initiatives.

All of which brings us back to Lucas' comment about centralizing data being a dead end as he concluded:

A better approach is to build connectivity, governance, and automation into the IT resources companies already have. AI can make this work faster and easier than ever before. With the Boomi Enterprise Platform, we’re giving customers the foundation they need for connecting and managing all their data, and for accelerating AI and API development.  Customers can say goodbye to the digital fragmentation that’s been undermining their digital transformation efforts, and finally get the comprehensive visibility, control, and automation they need.

My take

There was a lot of going on at Boomi World 2024, and the partners and customers that I spoke to were all very excited about the product announcements. AI was obviously high on the agenda as were, unsurprisingly, connectivity and automation - the official theme for the event was ‘Connect’. It felt like everyone there is currently trying to get their companies ready to take advantage of AI. More to come.

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