November 9, 2017 | Written by: Tony Curcio
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IBM and Salesforce are pleased to discuss a variety of new technologies that will be instrumental in helping our customers with their business transformations. One of the most relevant advancements is in business process automation (BPA).
If you’re unfamiliar with BPA, it’s worth taking a moment to describe what we mean. The goal of BPA is the reduction of human resource cost through the automation of activities using technology to accomplish a specific business function. Since business functions happen in the realm of applications, systems and databases, one of the core components of any BPA solution is the ability to connect across the enterprise very broadly. Without this connectivity, your automation will be gated to only a subset of its potential impact. Let’s look at two ways Salesforce and IBM have increased the scope of what you can do with BPA.
Salesforce Lightening Flow is a powerful tool for building business processes within the Salesforce Cloud. One of the announcements this week from Salesforce is the addition of support in Flow for OpenAPI (previously known as Swagger). OpenAPI is the industry’s leading specification for how APIs should be defined. With this new support, your Lightening Flows can easily reach beyond the four walls of Salesforce and include any well-formed REST API. While there are many good APIs out there, they may not do what exactly you need. Furthermore, if you need to build an API, it will require a level of coding skills and specific knowledge about OpenAPI.
Here’s where IBM Cloud Integration comes in. As a founding member of the OpenAPI initiative, IBM has been a key innovator. Earlier this year, IBM extended our cloud integration platform by allowing our integration flows to publish OpenAPI specs for any application. This means all of the following:
- We can add an OpenAPI interface to any application even if it doesn’t provide it already
- We can customize any existing OpenAPI endpoint to better meet your business objectives
- We can combine any of these connections to create new, more robust APIs
The best part is that as you are connecting to applications like SAP, Marketo and so on, you do so through a ‘no-code’ approach. That means you don’t need expert development skills to be highly productive. Finally, you can also enrich these flows with AI/Cognitive services such as Tone Analysis which can be used to get the sentiment of customer comments, or Natural Language Translation.
With these two advancements from Salesforce and IBM, customers will be able to greatly extend the reach of their BPA. But, at this year’s Dreamforce, good things come in threes! Customers get an extra bonus thanks to Bluewolf, an IBM company and our premier Salesforce consulting arm. Bluewolf has just launched a set of bolts, prebuilt workflows for Lightening Flow, that address some of the most common industry use cases across telco, retail and healthcare. The bolts provide amazing time to value, and like any other workflow, can be extended to reach to hundreds of applications, systems and databases through IBM Cloud Integration.
To learn more about IBM Cloud Integration for Salesforce and how IBM can help you connect your business, try our free-to-use offering, IBM App Connect, the connected piece of our cloud integration platform. If you happen to be at Dreamforce, stop by and visit us at booth #300 or attend our session and we can provide you with a personal demo of how we can extend your business process automation.