As you probably know, last Tuesday, March 20th, Salesforce has announced to intend to buy MuleSoft for 6,5 billion dollars. Even if this is not per se the exact selling amount, this is the announced company evaluation. Simply, wow!
You may think why is salesforce willing to invest and pay so much for an integration platform? This is not a classical integration buy, but a new one, namely for Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). Let’s discuss three key reasons for this acquisition.
- Cross-domain data: Artificial intelligent platforms need data, specifically data that comes from different domains and can be utilized for machine learning. Salesforce owns only customer relationship management (CRM) data. To make your A.I. as smart as possible you need to access data from a domain like HR, Manufacturing, Finance, etc. Mulesoft will give that capability to Salesforce;
- A.I. Ecosystem: Mulesoft allows Salesforce customers to build an ecosystem with APIs to expand Einstein capability. It gives an extensible model where customers or partners will be able to build on;
- Scalability: Mulesoft will give a scalable platform to run A.I. models, integrate data sets, between clouds, on-premises, etc.
But there may be challenges for this acquisition too. For example,
- What will happen to Mulesoft pure-play integration customers? Will Mulesfot now get distracted by Salesforce to enhance their A.I. strategy? Should Mulesoft customers that do not have Salesforce move to another integration platform?
- At which costs will Salesforce be able to offer A.I. with Mulesoft and still be able to prove ROI to customers and shareholders?
- Will Mulesoft be integrated natively on Force.com or will they remain something separate?
- To bring in all cross-domain data, customers will have to go through huge custom integration projects. Who will pay for that?
Salesforce is buying Mulesoft not to just gain an integration and API platform, but to support its creation and expansion of its Artificial Intelligence ecosystem. Time will tell how they will execute the integration of the two companies and platforms. We will be watching this journey.