No, that was not a typo…
Implementation services team members are truly the workhorses and warhorses of enterprise software companies. From the business analysts to the field engineers, their efforts contribute critically to whether or not customers can successfully go live into production. Therefore, it is important the “horses” are well trained for a company to be successful. As for Mule, with the strong momentum coming out of 2013 and all the planned new releases coming up for this year, it can definitely be said that 2014 is going to be the Year of the Mule!
This year, we were invited by our greater China region partner Frensworkz to conduct Mule Essentials and Mule Operations training classes in China. The classes were run in Frensworkz’s Beijing headquarters and their trained consultants will be the warhorses spearheading Mule implementations in the greater China region moving forward. We’d like to share some of the lessons and insights we gained from the experience.
Prevalence of “Home Grown” Systems
It is very common in China for companies to run operations on enterprise systems developed in-house. Historically, this made economic sense because the cost of employee wages were lower than licenses and services for imported software. Although this no longer is the case and China has become a significant and fast growing market for western software vendors, integration projects still often include interfacing with custom, one-off systems written by the company in-house, as many of these systems don’t have APIs. Companies can greatly benefit in productivity, scalability, sustainability and market opportunities by implementing a robust, modern API development and management solution.
Language Still a Barrier
Human languages, not the computer ones. In fact, you can find plenty of experienced and competent Java developers in China. The Frensworkz staff generally possess good English skills but they are the exceptions, not the rule in China. Given that Chinese is the language of 1.4 billion people, it also seems fair that customers in China demand communication in Chinese, not English – and this applies to both verbal communication as well as written documentations. However, it does pose a particular challenge for the technology sector as new terms are being created and widely adopted at a faster pace than ever before. These new terms are often harder to translate, especially if they are abbreviations or acronyms. For example, how would one translate RAML into Chinese?
Salesforce.com on the Rise
Compared to western companies, China enterprises started significant computerization in more recent years, allowing them to skip through older platforms and embrace SaaS and cloud computing at a faster pace. During training, students often asked questions from the perspective of having Salesforce.com as one of the endpoints in the integration since this reflected what they actually encountered in the field. It is truly a testament to the quality of the Salesforce.com offerings as they only entered the China market in 2007.
Finally, we like to express our sincere gratitude to our partner Frensworkz for their patience, dedication, and hospitality. Days of intensive back-to-back training, with extra evening homework assignments as well, would have tested anyone’s endurance, yet the students never lost focus nor wavered in their enthusiasm for learning about Mule. We wish them well and may the year of the horse be fortuitous one for us all!