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May 18, 2017

MuleSoft: The application network is the Model T Ford for the 21st Century

Could application networks accelerate business processes into the future?

By Tom Ball

Delivering the keynote address at the 2017 MuleSoft Summit in London, founder Ross Mason first looked to the past in order to put the projects of the future into perspective.

He reflected on some of the monoliths of industry from the turn of the twentieth century, using the Model T Ford as an example of how processes including supply chains were undertaken in the past.

MuleSoft: The application network is the Model T Ford for the 21st Century

Ross Mason, founder, MuleSoft

“The Model T Ford was pretty remarkable, it wasn’t so much the car that was remarkable, but the way it was built. Henry Ford championed this idea of the assembly line, to build products from one end to the other… The challenge in his day was how do I get the steel together? How do I get the rubber together? How do I get the glass?” Mr Mason said.

Mason then brought the audience forward to the present day, arguing that APIs are not only crucial in optimising business processes, but are also key to unlocking the vast potential of cutting edge technologies such as AI, augmented reality, and IoT.

Vital in unlocking this potential is the combining of APIs, with integration allowing for features to work in sync and provide a more efficient and formidable service.

Ross Mason outlined the kind of APIs that can be leveraged and brought under the application network umbrella, saying: “Everything from from maps to facial recognition to machine learning algorithms… it is extremely powerful, and these provide the building blocks for new business models.”

“We are going through this era of hyper specialisation,” said Mr Mason

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“A lot of the applications that we used to build, that required us to invest a lot of time, we don’t need anymore. Increasingly our role in the IT function isn’t to build stuff, its actually to impose different capabilities to handle the needs of the business.”

READ MORE: MuleSoft CEO: Surrender data centre ‘security blanket’ for cheaper, faster cloud

The rate at which APIs are being used is unprecedented, with 17,000 APIs in action on the web today. Mr Mason said that all of the digital disruption taking place across the industries is built upon these APIs. He used Uber and AirBnB as examples.

APIs are important, but Mason underlined the power of the application network provided by MuleSoft. An application network is able to bring APIs together, rather than running them separately on an end-to-end basis. This causes a chaotic mess of overlapping tools, instead of seamlessly empowering one another.

Some of the key benefits of this network include visibility, security, and governability at every API node.

Above all it is built for the kind of change and fluidity present in industry at the moment. Ross Mason summarised this potential in saying that “application networks drive agility and innovation.”

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