7 Reasons Why the Salesforce-MuleSoft Mega Deal is Rocket Fuel for All API Players

Salesforce’s big $6.5 acquisition of MuleSoft is still stirring up waves--buffeting the API sector. A month later, analysts, customers and competitors continue to digest the news. Some competitors may even feel jilted or scared. But, IDN has come up with 7 reasons why the Salesforce-MuleSoft deal will be great for all API players.

Tags: API, apps, cloud, data, DevOps, integration, Salesforce, microservices, MuleSoft,

Salesforce’s big $6.5 acquisition of MuleSoft is still stirring up waves--buffeting the API sector. A month later, analysts, customers and competitors continue to digest the news. IDN has come up with 7 fallouts for API players.


Some suggest Salesforce has now “picked the winner” in the API sweepstakes. Not exactly.


Yes, it’s true that in acquiring MuleSoft, Salesforce has said the MuleSoft API-focused Anypoint Platform will power coming generations of the Salesforce Integration Cloud. But, it’s not doom-and-gloom for all other API companies. 


In the big picture, the Salesforce-MuleSoft marriage should offer very rosy news for all players in the API space – vendors, consumers and even folks who now think they are now firmly on the sidelines. (Hint: In an API-driven world, no provider of apps, data or services, will be on the sidelines for long.)


So with that as preamble, let’s look at the 7 fallouts from the Salesforce-MuleSoft deal:

1. APIs have just rocketed to into a de facto standard status. Yes, APIs had already been growing in popularity – and momentum for years. But, thanks to Salesforce, APIs have overnight accomplished  what 1 million connector downloads just couldn’t have done. APIs are about to become the de facto, first-movers for integrations of all kinds.


Within the year, discussions around APIs will be a featured snippet of any digital transformation project – apps, data, cloud, B2B and mobile B2C.  Some member in every stakeholder group – whether developer teams, IT or even business -- will be heard asking “Hmm, does that have an API? What could we do with it?”


2. APIs are poised to be “lingua franca’ for integration – and enjoy a growth spurt never seen before. APIs are now set to quickly grow beyond their roots as ‘bottom-up’ techniques advocated by savvy developers. APIs will no longer be a technical way to describe how integration or connections work.


APIs will become the ‘short-hand’ for easy-to-deliver integration for digital transformation. Thanks for Salesforce-MuleSoft, APIs have moved from mainly a bastion of developers and IT to stronger awareness among non-techie business folks. They will know more about how APis work – and what power they hold for pushing new business results.


3. APIs will drive not only integration – but collaboration. With across-the-board API awareness going skywards, we’ll see more synergy within API stakeholder groups. Developers, IT and business should become collaborative communities (even CoEs) around APIs.


With the help of tools, templates and Best Practices, these API communities will create a seamless and engaging API lifecycle that delivers real benefits to all. With tangible results, we may even see CxOs and other company executives also paying attention to APIs. 


4. API collaboration will fuel on-going API Innovation. With improving collaboration, APIs will also become a key part of what is likely to become the next decade’s interesting questions.


Some really cool mind-bending questions like: What else can we connect an API to? Can we auto-generate APIs for on-demand & secure ways to connect to data, other apps and even 100s of services? What does ‘intelligent software’ look like? Do APIs power 2-way, real-time engagements (for people, purchases, machines)? How many other ways should APIs serve AI, blockchain, DevOps and IoT? 


5. API technologies can be pivotal to brand new markets. With so many more exciting questions, and such proven payoffs, the most visionary APIs players will use (and build on) their technologies to play key roles to unlock new markets.


In fact, I would argue the Salesforce-MuleSoft deal puts a rock-solid foundation of social proof for API value in place. This rock solid foundation s also a backstop, which now allows APIs to look beyond connecting SaaS and myriad cloud-based apps and data services systems. It would be no surprise that visionary API firms will attract a fresh, new round of investment and an eager crop of young talent.    


6. API firms should be sure to enable microservices – For this rosy outlook to bear fruit, however, APIs need to be future-facing.


Case in point:  In just the past year or so, as microservices have gained traction, we’ve heard APIs increasingly referred to as ‘legacy’ technology.  Uh-oh. No one wants that label in an era where technologies are moving for fast.  Let this ‘API as legacy’ conversation be a warning sign to API vendors.  So, API vendors, please be on-guard against having that ‘legacy’ label stick.


Right now, APIs and microservices are still symbiotic -- and are actually helping each other act better and deliver more value.  But, that could change. API professionals need to be ever watchful that they can continue to deliver relevance and value. (For those of us old enough, when was the last time you heard someone ask about WS* specs?)  


7. The most important theme of all is simply this: For now, ALL API companies are winners. The API wave is truly a rising tide that should lift many (if not all) boats. Every prospective enterprise client will be asking how APIs work and what they can do – for IT and business. 

So, to all those API firms not named MuleSoft, don’t lament your company wasn’t chosen by Salesforce. Instead, all API companies should feel pumped.


After years of hard work, evangelism and proof of concept, APIs have crossed the chasm. Not just in terms of numbers, but in perspective of an architecture for extensibility, imagination and future-proof integration.


So, exciting times ahead for the entire API space.


Integration Developer News intends to speak with many of the API leaders - those inventing technologies, those using them and even the masses of software and services companies who can extend their reach thanks to APIs.  We’ll see just how many of our projections pan out. 


In the meantime, let us know what you think at editor@idevnews.com