Dell Boomi's First True Channel Chief Sees A Big Partner Play For Data Integration

Dell Boomi's first dedicated channel chief told CRN he sees his mission as preparing partners for a boom in cloud-based data integration fueled by the trend of digital transformation.

David Tavolaro, who became Boomi's vice president of global business development in December, said the independent software division within Dell would revamp its channel program later in the year to better facilitate partners that face a ramping demand for its Integration Platform-as-a-Service.

Boomi, based in Berwyn, Pa., offers a broad set of tools that enable partners to unify data across an enterprise environment. The platform was ranked highest on both axes of Gartner's last iPaaS Magic Quadrant.

[Related: Here Are The 5 Leaders In Gartner's 2016 Magic Quadrant For Integration Platform-As-A-Service]

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With the proliferation of disparate applications and data sources, cloud-based integration platforms are increasingly essential components of enterprise digital transformation initiatives, Tavolaro told CRN.

"There are more endpoints, more applications than ever, and a need to go faster than ever," he said. "And that's where Boomi fits in."

Research firm MarketsandMarkets recently estimated the total iPaaS market would grow from $528 million in 2016 to nearly $3 billion by 2021.

Driving that 40 percent compound growth are efforts to modernize IT systems, add mobility and Internet of Things solutions, and challenges posed by mergers and acquisitions, Tavolaro told CRN.

Boomi currently works with more than 260 channel partners who drive more than half of its revenue. The company was always channel-centric, even before acquired by Dell in 2010, said its new channel chief, who spent most of his career working for large systems integrators.

Tavolaro came to Boomi from Anexinet, an SI based in Philadelphia. Before that, he was in the partner organization within CSC.

At those companies, he saw the value of integration technology.

"I came to Boomi because I saw this integration problem proliferating at all of our clients and at a rapid rate," Tavolaro told CRN.

Dell also saw the value in owning a leading iPaaS vendor, he said.

The IT giant sold off the bulk of its software assets to help finance its acquisition of EMC, but maintained Boomi. While Boomi operates independently of its parent, the relationship with Dell benefits the company, both as a channel for its product and a source of expertise when needed, Tavolaro said.

Boomi, in addition to application integration, offers master data management, Electronic Data Interchange and API management services. Together, those services constitute a unified platform that business partners, be they global SIs or ISVs, can leverage to address customer needs, he told CRN.

"That gives our partners a ton of functionality built into one platform, managed in the cloud, deployed wherever you want it to be," Tavolaro said.

Boomi is also seeing a lot of growth in its channel among managed services providers who are looking to maintain complex systems of integration for clients. Software developers looking to OEM the integration component are also increasingly common as partners.

Tavolaro said now that he's settled into the job over the last few months – Boomi never before had a leader solely focused on channel sales – changes are in the works for the global program. They will include measures to better enable partners with sales support, tools and training.

He also wants to focus more on Boomi Suggest, an artificial intelligence agent that evaluates the Boomi community to offer guidance in mapping data, and Boomi Resolve, which crowdsources error resolution.

Larry Cone, founder and chief solution architect at Kitepipe, headquartered in Wilmington, N.C., told CRN "the upside is limitless" in the market. He was first introduced to Boomi as a customer and has since created a practice that exclusively implements Boomi's platform.

Boomi was initially introduced as a simple solution at the lower end of the market, Cone said, and it certainly can be a simple tool to use. You can drag-and-drop shapes on a canvas to get an integration running in minutes.

But the platform's more sophisticated integration capabilities are increasingly in demand, and they can only be delivered by highly trained partners.

"Boomi has been going upmarket into larger organizations. The projects are bigger, service opportunities are bigger," Cone told CRN. "They're increasingly going to sell it as the enterprise-class integration platform, and that's going to drive the need for partners with deeper knowledge, more experience, and more templated solutions."

For that reason, Tavolaro, who Cone has yet to meet, has the right idea in focusing on partner enablement and training.

Even many Boomi partners "don’t realize how deep and complex a tool it is," Cone told CRN.