Salesforce’s gargantuan task of exposing seven open application program interfaces (APIs) in just a few weeks was “a relatively easy exercise,” according to Abhi Sur, Director of Communications & Industry Solutions, Salesforce.
He oversaw the project for the TM Forum Open Hack in Nice in May and told us it was a straightforward case of mapping TM Forum APIs to their own before the hackers used them. They were: Customer Management, Trouble Ticket Management, Product Catalog Management, Product Ordering, Product Inventory Management, Agreement, Quote Management APIs.
Salesforce was keen to demonstrate that this was possible and easy to do. The team created one clean instance with all the necessary integration hooks; in Salesforce, an ‘instance’ is one of a number of databases that can reside on one server; a ‘clean’ instance is one at its most basic for developers to build on. They then made 15 clones of it (15 for the number of teams Salesforce had prepared for).
Sur found the challenges were more logistical than technical. For example, coordinating a global, virtual team made up of partners (TM Forum and our members providing APIs at the hack) and a team of 10 from Salesforce (architects and solution engineers), and making sure everyone, in their various time zones, were on board and aligned.
At the competition, Salesforce wanted to show developers at the hack the speed and agility of the platform and demonstrate the capabilities of connectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT) cloud.
“What we’re striving for is NOT a platform of platforms at the hackathon. Rather, our goal is to enable multiple platforms to come together because in the future, one solution will be built on different multiple parts.
“I saw developers used Salesforce’s ‘Sales Cloud’, ‘Marketing Cloud’, integration tools, and framework and configuration tools that allow developers to build business processes through click (and not code) – such as ‘Process Builder’, ‘Workflows’ and ‘Page Builder’.
“As I expected many also used the company’s IoT capabilities, such as the event stream capability.” The stream capability could create sensor data information which the teams could then use to create pre-configured workflows.
With the future looking mobile, Sur would have like to have seen more teams focus on Salesforce’s tools for mobility solutions to build a connected customer experience, stating,
“Every application needs to be social, mobile and connected to the broader ecosystem.”
Nevertheless, he marveled at the participants who could step outside the thinking of industry-specific, and create something for a common good:
“What was really very inspiring was the teams that came in, many didn’t even know each other, and they used the Salesforce platform, TM Forum APIs, capabilities and data sources from other partners, to solve problems that are relevant in a society, beyond the usual problems facing the telecoms industry.”