As a Muley from the old times, one question that came to my mind during the acquisition is how MuleSoft is going to deliver new value for our customers now that we are part of Salesforce. To help answer this question, I joined the Accelerators team, with the goal of building MuleSoft Accelerators for Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud and Service Cloud. Since there is a lot of interest around Accelerators, I wanted to provide a preview of what it is and what you can expect.
For many Salesforce customers, integration is a crucial part of their implementation. In some of the most complex and diverse landscapes, integration takes up to 70% of the total time spent on Salesforce implementation. Knowing this, we knew there was a lot of value we could provide customers – in terms of cost and time savings – by providing an easier and faster way to accomplish these integrations.
We believe we are uniquely positioned to provide a solution that exemplifies Salesforce integration best practices since we have unparalleled access to both MuleSoft and Salesforce’s thought leaders, SMEs, and customers. Through our interviews and discussions with these groups, we determined the top, industry-agonistic use cases to templatize. This is where “Accelerators” come in.
Let’s start by defining what an Accelerator is: An Accelerator is a set of production-ready artifacts customers can extend or use to speed up the delivery of integrations, following an API-led approach.
The full list of artifacts will include:
- API designs (system, process, experience)
- Integration templates
- Lightning Web Component
- Reference architecture
- Anypoint Exchange page
For these assets, there are three critical design principles we are following:
All artifacts are built with extensibility and customization in mind.
For example, if our Accelerator provides guidance on how to get inventory data out of SAP, but the customer is using another ERP, the Accelerator should provide guidance for how the customer can modify or extend the API and the corresponding template to apply for their ERP. To help with this, we will provide a reference architecture and documentation.
All assets are production-ready.
While we know most customers will not use all assets as is, the quality of all assets will be production- and implementation-ready.
Accelerators provide best practice POVs for MuleSoft and Salesforce.
Taking an API-led approach, following API design best practices, and adding common services are all MuleSoft best practices, which we will adhere to. In addition, we will provide a POV on how to show this data within Salesforce, following Salesforce best practices.
With the above in mind, we started to think deeply about the APIs we’d build, following an API-led approach. Here is how we thought about each layer:
Experience Layer: There are three main ways customers can show data from external systems within Salesforce: using Lightning Web Components, OData with Salesforce Connect, and custom objects. In the Accelerator, we will provide examples of all three options to give customers the ability to learn from each and adopt whichever makes the most sense.
Process Layer: Here, we will showcase different integration patterns:
- Synchronous and real-time API calls.
- Pub-sub and event-driven.
The challenge when it came to functionality was exposing a data model that would be a close fit to the needs of customers. We realized that the best option would be to be minimalistic on this aspect, as the models we observed from different clients varied greatly from each other.
System Layer: To help customers adapt the Accelerator to their own unique end-systems, we will use generic “ERP,” “PIM,” “OMS,” etc. interfaces and applied some standardization and modeling. With this, our users only need to leverage a connector and some DataWeave to take advantage of the use cases implemented on the above layers.
Common Services: While this isn’t explicitly called out in the API-led diagrams, this is a crucial layer to consider for best practice implementations. For this, we’ve standardized common, non-functional requirements such as logging, notifications, and event processing as a service.
We will host all Accelerator assets in Anypoint Exchange. This way, everyone can pick and choose the artifacts they deem most relevant as a starting point for their projects.
This is just the beginning for the Accelerators for B2C Commerce and Service Clouds. Stay tuned for future posts where we will be talking about use cases, provide some walkthroughs, and more!
We will be showcasing these Accelerators at Dreamforce, so please join us for the sessions, “Introducing MuleSoft + Commerce cloud solution: Make headless commerce a reality,” and “Innovation with MuleSoft & Service Cloud: Transform your service organization.” If you have questions or comments, please leave them at the bottom of this post.