Manage API Users with MuleSoft Anypoint API Community Manager

Oktana is one of the first Salesforce consulting partners to work on MuleSoft Anypoint API Community Manager (“MuleSoft ACM”) integration projects. We are one of the few with experience on MuleSoft ACM. Our team is currently working on six different implementation projects having completed more than five already. These MuleSoft ACM integration projects have been across a wide range of industries. Such as aviation, financial services, healthcare, interior design, and high tech.

Why MuleSoft Anypoint Platform™?

Many organizations turn to the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform. Because it provides the tools to develop, deploy, manage and secure the APIs that help them run and extend their businesses.

Digital transformation in any industry brings challenges. How do you regulate and manage access to APIs while providing clear and open information to your developer community on usage? Security is exceptionally important. For example, when you’re creating a new digital ecosystem, you want third-party developers working with your systems to also be able to develop rapidly and effectively.  

Organizations that need to scale their network of partners and customers through expanded communities can now leverage MuleSoft ACM. Which essentially provides MuleSoft customers with the ability to manage their API users in a community. The community is based on the Salesforce Experience Cloud (previously known as Community Cloud). This enables them to improve communication and provide more context to their API users. Managing access and security and also providing detailed information on API usage is essential when exposing core information related to customers, accounts, transactions, payments, and credit cards. 

The length of each of these projects has varied based on the complexity of the organization’s requirements but generally takes 4-6 weeks. Obviously, it can take more time based on the number of customizations required. Customizations can include custom signup and approval processes, custom objects, special security and permissions configurations, and enabling custom domains. 

Aviation

The work done to integrate MuleSoft ACM for our aviation industry partner was complex. It required creating and integrating external objects. That had to then be shown in permanent categories in the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform ecosystem. Our team was able to integrate these external objects using Apex. 

Healthcare

Our partner, a healthcare provider, required a unique process for user approvals. They needed to add an additional step for the usage of specific APIs and the method by which API keys are distributed. MuleSoft provides solutions specifically for healthcare. Designed to streamline manual processes, enable cross-collaboration, and unlock healthcare data in a secure, reliable manner.

Financial

For this specific project, our team started with the implementation of MuleSoft ACM. Installation and configuration were followed by significant work managing additional security requirements. To allow efficient management of access to the APIs, we created a new self-service registration service for developer partners. The team use Apex, Aura Components, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS to create the registration service. Ensuring developer partners have managed registrations allows our customers to personalize partner pages and create a fully branded experience. MuleSoft ACM is able to leverage the Salesforce Content Management System (CMS). It publishes materials for each API, like documentation and marketing information. Also, MuleSoft allows them to manage access and provides developers the ability to test APIs without code.

Certainly, companies looking to improve how they manage their APIs will find MuleSoft has solutions specifically targeted to eight different industries. Financial Services, Government, Healthcare, Higher Education, Insurance, Manufacturing, Media & Telecom, and Retail. But, companies from other industries, like our Aviation partner, can also successfully leverage the platform to accelerate development. If you have an API strategy firmly established on the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform. It will be easier to enable developers (internally and externally) to use your APIs responsibly.

Read more about our MuleSoft Anypoint API Community Manager customers and other past projects.

Resourcing with Oktana

When you outsource development, nearshore or onshore, you probably wonder about resources and whether they’re going to work well with your internal team. At Oktana, we consider our team to be your development team. We take pride in working to get the right help for each project, whether it’s a designer, developer or a whole team. Many of our clients even choose to continue with the same team on multiple projects.

Let’s take a look at how resourcing works at Oktana.

Step 1. Gather data

First, we need a clear picture of your company and project. Your account manager will work with you to understand skill requirements, project scope and anything else you feel is essential. For example:

  • Will we work alongside your internal team? 
  • Will we need to integrate with existing systems? 
  • Are there preferred development platforms, frameworks or languages? 
  • Is business analysis, design or test automation part of the scope? 

We work with you to define “done” for the project. We are an Agile company, so this often means defining a minimum viable product, or MVP. These conversations help us determine a reasonable start and end date for the project.

Step 2. Select resources

Now that we have an idea of your needs, our resourcing team will build your development team. We want to ensure your team brings the skills to meet all of the technical requirements for your project. We also want to ensure they’re a good fit in terms of personality and experience.

Everyone should feel confident in their ability to work together.

Step 3. Review resources

As our resourcing team builds your development team, you have a few options depending on how involved you want to be in the process. You can let us handle the entire process, or you can be far more hands-on. 

If you want to be more hands-on, we’ll work with you to review a set of developer profiles. You can also conduct developer interviews to meet each team member before you sign-off on your development team.

What’s a developer profile?

Our resourcing team compiles a developer profile for each of our developers, which provides you with a good overview of their skillset, certifications and experience.

Step 4. Meet your development team

Our teams receive English tutoring and overlap with most of the US workday. Because of this, you are always able to chat or run planning sessions, review specs and do demos face-to-face by video. This is your development team. 

As your project grows, or requirements shift, your account manager will work with you and our resourcing team to adjust the team to meet those needs.

We hope all of this information helps you understand the resourcing process better and by extension how our teams work. Our team has worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Connecting Salesforce and Slack

We’re always looking for new challenges here at Oktana. One recent challenge that presented itself to us came from our partners, a leading investment firm. This investment firm out of California works with growth-stage companies in a wide variety of industries. They approached Oktana to help them find a solution to an efficiency problem within their organization. The primary tool that they used within the organization for work was Slack, and several different apps designed to interface with it. Their employees had to switch between Salesforce and Slack to manage updates and new tasks that would populate through Salesforce.

That’s where Oktana came in; the firm wanted a way to integrate Salesforce into their Slack experience to help save everyone at their company time and energy while they’re working. What could we do to bring these two platforms together? We started by exploring what tools might already exist within Slack that would make this integration quick and easy and found Incoming Webhooks. With Incoming Webhooks, we were about to take any new notifications from the Salesforce org about new task assignments and send them to users within the Slack instance.

This implementation was a success, and users were receiving notifications, but it was apparent that it wasn’t going to be the right solution for the long term. There were severe limitations to what we could do with Incoming Webhooks. While it could bring in notifications from Salesforce, it wasn’t able to limit those notifications to those directly involved with the task and instead sent them indiscriminately to the entire team. Additionally, there was no way to talk back to Salesforce after you received a notification in Slack, Incoming Webhooks is a one-way street. As such, we decided that we would need to take a different approach to solve this problem.

Thankfully, our partners at the firm were receptive to these concerns and were open to our recommendation for another option that might better suit their long-term needs. Since Incoming Webhooks did not fit our needs, there was only one course of action to take at this point. We needed to build a bespoke app to do the job. We created a small application in Node.js hosted on Heroku that would handle everything the investment firm required and more.

First, the app would replicate the functionality of the old implementation and take any task notifications from Salesforce and send them to Slack. Next, the app acts as a chatbot on Slack that can receive messages from Slack and send them back to Salesforce to update and create new tasks. Additionally, we built this app to be as lightweight and efficient as possible. At its core, the app is always listening to both sides, and when it detects something relevant, it translates the message and sends it from one application to the other. Oktana development process is about creating the most value possible for our clients. The lightweight nature of the app means it has space to grow and take on other functions so that the link between Salesforce and Slack can be expanded later on if needed. The app also can interface with applications beyond Salesforce if the need were ever to present itself.

The Critical technologies from this project:

  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • Node.js
  • Heroku
  • Apex
  • Incoming Webhooks

This project was about seeing disfunction in how employees at the investment firm were working and finding a way to make it more streamlined. We saw that our client needed a solution for fixing their workflow, and we were able to accurately identify the problems as well as the best way to solve them. Now, they don’t have to move between Salesforce and Slack every time they want to update tasks, and we were able to face a new challenge head-on and solve it creatively.


Okta and Oktana: Working Together

At Oktana, we’re proud of the work we’ve done and the companies we’ve had the opportunity to work with. Our goal with this blog is to share some of the work we’ve been doing and in turn highlight the things that make us good partners for those that may need help in the Salesforce space. One of our most recent partners -Okta- is one we’d like to highlight. Okta fast-growing technology company with a strong emphasis on enterprise security. Its focus is on the development of single sign-on systems for enterprise clients that allow users to log in to a number of services, including Gmail, Salesforce, and Slack all with one username and password. The success Okta has been experiencing has led to our partners so that we can assist them in their growth and capture key processes needed for such growth to be as smooth as possible.

Okta needed a partner to supplement its internal development team to achieve greater bandwidth, higher quality, and faster development cycles. In the process, we’ve become a part of Okta’s team and integrated ourselves into their workflow acting almost as an extension of the existing engineering team. Working together on projects with a goal of acting like one team even in an environment where everyone is collocated is something we’ve been doing for a long time. We can do it and we can do it really well. One of the key factors in the decision-making process that gravitated Okta to Oktana was the appreciation for transparency, honesty, and integrity when critically examining the work to be done and recognizing as a team the challenges we may face along the way as well as their solutions.

With that goal in mind, we have been working closely on a number of different projects. The biggest being an important refactoring exercise of their entire codebase. As mentioned earlier, growth is occurring so fast that they need to improve logic and code across the board is imperative to their ability scale. Oktana has become the face of this effort by spearheading improvements and encouraging the adoption of best practice principles that will lower maintenance costs and leverage Salesforce release improvements better.

This type of customer engagement is one that fits perfectly into our wheelhouse. The key elements of this project that we want to highlight are:

  • Apex/Visualforce
  • Salesforce Lightning and Lightning Components
  • Salesforce CPQ
  • Agile
  • Velocity
  • Quality
  • Transparency
  • Integrity
  • Honesty

Beyond our specific project described in this blog post, we’re also supporting Okta by helping improve its internal development processes. With the refactoring exercise, we’ve been slowly and subtly making the development process smoother and more streamlined for their team and helping them improve their scrum process as well. We are honored to get the chance to help an amazing organization such as Okta and hope we continue helping others in this same capacity.

If you are a Salesforce partner looking to partner with experts to help you provide the best custom app development solutions to your clients Contact us. Our team will give you more information about these services.