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Finger on the Pulse is a series where we explore the major trends shaping business technology. In each post, you’ll learn from our key partners and their perspective on an industry trend through the lens of their unique business. You can explore the last post to dive deeper into managing expanding digital ecosystems. For this interview, the focus is on future-proofing your organization. 

Future-proofing your organization

There are two critical challenges for enterprise companies looking to build sustainable, scalable, and profitable businesses that are ready for the future. The first challenge is the rapid acceleration of technological innovation. Technology isn’t just changing – it’s changing faster than we could imagine. From hybrid cloud applications and cybersecurity to data science and automation, do you feel confident that your organization is leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver innovative products and services that meet rising customer expectations?

The second critical challenge for future-proofing the modern enterprise is flexibility. This follows directly from the first challenge. Technological innovations have enabled global enterprises to expand both their offerings and their revenue. But the bigger they become, the harder it is to maintain the flexibility necessary to adapt to changes in their industry, business models, or the broader economy.

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Here’s the good news: developing that kind of operational flexibility isn’t as far off as you might think. 

As one of the world’s leading innovators in hybrid cloud applications, scalable digital infrastructure, and cohesive software ecosystems, IBM is dedicated to helping organizations around the world leverage versatile technology to build flexible, future-proof businesses. 

IBM’s relationship with MuleSoft is unique, they collaborate with us  as both a global system integrator (GSI) and Independent Software Vendor (ISV). We spoke with IBM’s Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Adam Bataran, about how they’re collaborating with MuleSoft to help organizations across industries and regions adapt to accelerated change and develop the flexibility that enables sustainable growth.

Tell us about the relationship between IBM and MuleSoft. What makes our partnership so unique and effective?

IBM is hyper-focused on its mission to drive hybrid cloud and AI innovation for the modern enterprise. Due to regulation, compliance, and security concerns, many of our clients need a hybrid approach of on-premise and cloud-based technologies and applications. So when MuleSoft became certified in Red Hat OpenShift and made that hybrid cloud solution available, the relationship among IBM, Red Hat, and MuleSoft became a dream partnership. As a result, our joint customers can run MuleSoft in any public cloud, on bare metal, and on prem with a seamless management experience.

When you get down to the basics, that’s all a technical way of saying that our partnership makes our clients’ digital ecosystems more cohesive, more integrated, and more flexible. And that allows enterprises to spend less time and money tinkering with highly customized IT solutions and more of those resources developing and delivering seamless customer experiences at scale. 

As a GSI, IBM Consulting is there to advise on business and technology strategy, build strong solutions, and implement those solutions like MuleSoft and Salesforce. At the same time, we’re also an ISV with our own innovative solutions like IBM Z Digital Integration Hub (zDIH), MuleSoft Runtime Fabric, Storage Fusion, and others. 

These technologies help clients get even more value out of the Salesforce family of products by making it easier to connect, compose, and automate business processes at scale. The additional flexibility helps you deploy APIs, integrations, and automations across both public and private clouds.  

What are some challenges your clients face as they work to future-proof their businesses, and how does MuleSoft help overcome those challenges?

One of the most important challenges we see our clients wrestling with, particularly as it relates to IT, is efficiency. It’s hard to innovate and implement new solutions or features that set you up for future success when you’re stuck spending most of your time fixing and tweaking custom code on existing solutions and data journeys. 

With MuleSoft and IBM technology, repeatability and automation make an enormous difference to IT efficiency. Only building an API once and then being able to click and drag that API for future use goes a long way in developing the efficiency and flexibility an enterprise needs to prepare for the future. Compared to custom-building tons of point to point integrations that break over time, reusable APIs are much more sustainable.

We also do a lot of work in the financial services industry. And for many of those clients, they’re not ready to move all of their core applications and software into the cloud. The compliance and security concerns I mentioned before mean they need hybrid cloud solutions, which is why our partnership with MuleSoft can provide such a compelling answer to their unique challenges. Modernizing their application stack to a common hybrid cloud approach means they can run their operations more consistently and with more portability. 

Can you give us examples of the business outcomes your clients are realizing when they work with you to modernize their digital ecosystems?

That’s a great question, because in the end, all of the technology innovation is just noise if it doesn’t have an impact on business outcomes. For our clients, there are a few different benefits that we see repeatedly. The first is cost savings: reducing the variability of technical expertise needed to keep digital operations running smoothly means that you need fewer staff with less skills compared to less optimized technology solutions. The second is about the ease of scalability, which is critical for future-proofing a growing organization. 

Another outcome we’re seeing is reduced time to value. With a more integrated and cohesive digital ecosystem powered by IBM and MuleSoft, enterprises are accelerating the speed at which they see returns on their investments. Going back to the financial services example, that could be launching a new feature on a mobile banking app or providing more insight into customers for higher-quality service. They can stand up those features or achieve those objectives faster and with less cost – both of which increase the speed and value of their ROI. 

What role do you see security playing in delivering those outcomes and setting organizations up for scalable future success?

There’s an important connection between cybersecurity and future-proofing your organization, because you’re not just trying to protect from current threats but future threats as well. The nature of cybersecurity threats is that they’re always changing and adapting so that flexibility we’ve been talking about is essential. 

Inconsistencies within your digital ecosystem create vulnerabilities for your data. With different programs haphazardly running on different platforms, it’s much harder to securely manage and deploy your data and solutions. So with MuleSoft and Red Hat and IBM technology, we take those inconsistencies out of the equation by standardizing the ways that your portfolio of applications operates together. 

When you think about financial services, data security and regulation compliance are undoubtedly hugely important and complex. And it gets even more complex when you have a multinational company managing compliance with different regulations in different countries So by standardizing, consolidating, unifying, and introducing flexibility and cohesiveness into your digital ecosystem, you’re making it much easier and more affordable to future–proof your organization in terms of security and compliance. 

For more insight into how MuleSoft has its finger on the pulse, read the other posts in this series. And if you’d like to learn more about IBM, read about their Salesforce and MuleSoft consulting services.