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Life sciences organizations are experiencing greater demand than ever before. To meet these demands, many life sciences organizations are investing in technology to open up new opportunities for collaboration, automate manufacturing, and distribution processes, and deliver new products and services to market faster. 

The result is an evolving value chain, from a series of actions to an ecosystem of interactions to facilitate these digital interactions — be it with research organizations, doctors, advocacy groups, or patients — organizations need to unlock on-premise, cloud, and legacy infrastructure data. 

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To meet this demand IT organizations are rethinking the way they integrate, expose, and share data. I recently spoke about Abcam’s integration strategy with Dan Garlick, Director of Digital Platforms at Abcam.

Abcam provides scientists with the precise tools and solutions they need to advance their research. In the last couple of years, Abcam changed its connectivity strategy to an API-led approach in order to manage its ecosystem of interactions with agility and speed. And this ecosystem is by no means small: every year, around 750,000 life science researchers depend on the products and technical support of Abcam, with customers working in academia, research institutes, and pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostics companies. 

Here’s a glimpse into my interview with Dan: 

Dan, what are the challenges you wanted to solve with API-led connectivity?

“The biggest obstacles that got in the way of business agility were our back-end legacy systems and homegrown solutions connected through point-to-point integrations: the well-known ‘spaghetti.’ These integrations were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and were prone to risk. We had to rethink our IT operating model in order to be able to adapt, change and innovate in a world that’s increasingly digital-first. API-led connectivity is a way to create business value rather than simply a way of two systems talking to each other, this enables us to compose rich customer journeys with speed and agility.”

You’ve adopted MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform to create an API-led ecosystem of interactions. Can you explain to our readers how you embedded the technology in your organisation?

“We took a three-step approach. The first step was the selection of a trusted implementation partner to set up the platform and to migrate existing integrations from our legacy integration system. We then started to work on the establishment of the Centre for Enablement. You can see the C4E as a governance layer over the whole process, enabling the wider business to build their own integrations with the MuleSoft platform. The C4E supports teams as required with development, testing, and deployment; it also promotes the reuse of existing capabilities. We opted for a Centre for Enablement — instead of a Centre of Excellence — as this will maximize our ability to scale and deliver new services for the business faster than before. The last step was all about evangelization, particularly about the API-led principles. We had to bring everyone in on this journey.”

You are now one year into your journey with MuleSoft. Can you share some of the successes?

“Looking at some of the use cases and early successes, one of the first projects the new C4E undertook was the development and deployment of a new payroll system. Where earlier attempts had been complex and failed to deliver, this project was delivered on time and on budget. Abcam now has over 50 APIs in production — from order processing to payroll. In the next few months, we expect to deliver a new warehouse management system and a new product data management system, all fundamental pieces of our digital transformation program. What we’ve seen is that each project unleashes new capabilities for Abcam to further enhance the experience of our customers. The MuleSoft platform truly became the go-to solution for any API requirement in our company and our team is now demonstrating the art of possible when it comes to connectivity — delivering new features and capabilities more quickly than ever before.”

Watch the Customer Spotlight Webinar with Abcam above or explore our library of customer stories.