Salesforce’s acquisition of Mulesoft at an astounding 16x forward multiple is a strong indicator of the significant and growing role of Integrations in digital transformation. The rationale behind the deal—unlocking data across legacy and cloud apps to enable connected customer experiences at every touch point—makes perfect sense. Congratulations to the Mulesoft and Salesforce teams!
We’ve received many questions about what this means for the integration space and for vendors like us, so I wanted to write a brief note here to speak to that. While this space has a history going back 30 years, with generations of companies like TIBCO, BEA, Informatica, and Mulesoft, it never has been a more exciting time for the category. The exponential increase in applications and devices has resulted in an outbreak in the complexity and diversity of use cases. The modern digital integration platform must support:
- More dynamic integrations across thousands of apps, services, devices, and legacy systems.
- More diverse use cases including data and app integration, workflow automation, intelligent technologies (AI/ML), IoT, and chatbots (in the context of apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams).
- More ‘do-ers’ in the business to tackle the incredible IT workload. Digital transformation is, after all, a team sport.
What does this deal mean?
Given all of this, where do products like Mulesoft and Workato fit, and what does this acquisition mean for Workato?
While Mulesoft and Workato play in the same broader integration space, we have distinct centers of gravity.
Mulesoft started in the early 2000s with a strong focus on unlocking legacy apps, connecting them with the emerging cloud apps, and enabling the legacy capabilities as microservices. Their focus has been on enabling developers and IT to publish APIs and create composite apps and business processes on top of them. They have done a terrific job of creating a thriving developer community.
At Workato, we believe these problems have been well addressed by the likes of Mulesoft, Tibco, and Apigee. We created Workato to address the huge and growing gap we saw in enabling pervasive integrations and diverse use cases for non-technical business users—not just developers. Our focus has been on the consumption of APIs and services by business users and IT.
While customers sometimes use Workato for legacy systems integration (and Mulesoft for pervasive integrations), more often we are both used within the same company.
Finally, from a customer perspective, integration platforms are, at their core, a neutral technology that connects and orchestrates between disparate apps across large app ecosystems like Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. Thus, another factor to consider when crafting your integration strategy is the diversity of your app ecosystems.
These are certainly exciting times for the digital business movement and the evolution of the tools required to support that.