I've been following Mulesoft and their Mule iON Cloud-based application integration platform for a while - in fact, I've written about it here on ebizQ (back in December 2011).
They are in that class of vendors that Gartner Research VP Massimo Pezzini calls "iPaaS". Although I've been quite critical of his written reports, Mr. Pezzini is quite brilliant, it turns out, when he explains "in person" what an iPaaS is, what it isn't, and why you might want to buy one.
Mulesoft has been quite busy since they released their Mule iON application integration product. Yesterday, they released a new version of their product aimed squarely at SaaS ISVs. In conjunction with this new product, they also launched a new Business Development initiative called Quickstart to help accelerate the adoption of this new product in the SaaS ISV community.
This new product offers some significant enhancements for SaaS ISVs in the areas of ease of use, pre-built SaaS connectors (100 - quite impressive), and nifty things called iApps - that are essentially a packaged up and reusable integration component that a SaaS vendor builds to connect their SaaS application to "something else".
One very easy to understand iApp would be one that connects Subscription "billing" vendor Zuora into an accounting system - so that billing and accounting can be automatically synchronized.
They claim that iApps can be developed in days, not weeks. That appears to be a bit aggressive to me "on the average"; however, it would not surprise me at all if some iApps could be developed in days - so my truth-o-meter registers in the "Green" zone on that one.
It's a credible claim...however (as they say), your mileage may vary. Irrespective of all that, I've personally spoken with a number of ISVs who have built iApps using the "old" version of Mule iON - it was a productive platform. I'm sure it's even more productive now with the new enhancements - some of which are quite significant.
If the SaaS Edition is designed to lower the technical barriers to SaaS ISV adoption, the Quickstart "business development" program is squarely aimed to minimize the financial barriers to adoption.
For an investment of $15,000, a SaaS ISV can get the "base" package - a license for Mule iON, get trained, get supported, get 1 iApp certified by Mulesoft. That's a nice deal.
But there's more. The ISV also gets the first 20 customer deployments included in that fee.
Smarrrrrrt. Mulesoft won't be making any money on the Quickstart "base" package (IMO), but they'll sure make it up in volume on the iApps that "take off". A great strategic move.
Anyhow, hats off to Mulesoft for looking at this as not only a technical problem to be solved, but also a business problem. It's pretty clear to me that Mulesoft "gets" SaaS ISVs - they understand the business and technical issues that these companies face. And they've developed an offering that is a highly appealing one for SaaS Software vendors.
Note: Hollis Tibbetts is a Software Strategy Director in Dell Inc.'s Global Mergers and Acquisitions organization. He writes on a number of topics, including integration, data management, and legacy modernization.
Another note: I no longer do any "pre-release briefings" with software vendors, as I now work in an M&A organization for Dell, Inc. (a company which has purchased a number of software companies this year). It's best that I avoid even the accidental appearance of impropriety.
As a result, I'm getting this information (and publishing the article) after all this information was publicly disclosed. Sadly, it also means that I'll be missing the Mulesoft "launch" party tonight - which is featuring 3rd Eye Blind. But on the bright side, I'm writing this article on an awesome Dell Latitude laptop that I just bought with my employee discount.