October 19th, 2018
The Boomi Community is the hub of our relationship with customers. It’s where they find answers to their questions, learn how to get the most from the Boomi platform, and engage with peers to understand the best approaches to their integration challenges.
The heart of the Boomi Community is its members. Throughout the year, we recognize the most active and helpful individuals in this group. These leaders set the standard for how Community members can contribute and cultivate a rich conversation that helps everyone become better at integration.
We call these people our Community Champions. They are remarkable in their commitment to making the Community the best possible resource for integration professionals.
Our latest Community Champion is Michael Morthala. Morthala, like all Community Champions, is one of the most active participants in the Boomi Community. Contributors like Morthala make the Boomi Community a vital resource for our customers to get the most from our low-code, cloud-native platform.
As comedian Lenny Bruce once said, “Everyone who never did it, never did it before.” That certainly applies to integration professionals. They all started as beginners. And, all have interesting paths from beginner to expert.
We recently spoke with Morthala about his path to integration expertise, his involvement in the Boomi Community and his advice for others about how to approach their integration projects.
Tell us how you started your technology career and what led you to integration.
Michael Morthala: By good grace, I started my career as a Java-based professional as a beginner. I didn’t know anything about integration. As I progressed, my team received some basic training in integration. But, we received a lot errors in the processes we were building.
So then, I started using the Boomi User Guide, which is a very, very, very helpful resource for building processes and understanding the concepts of integration, such as source and destination. After I started searching for my errors in Google, it led me to the Boomi Community.
At first, I thought the Community was restricted to a certain number of users. But when I started to see participants answering questions, I created an account. I began to use it daily and was able to solve many of my issues.
What kind of education did you have prior to entering the workforce?
Michael Morthala: In 2015, I completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the NRI Institute of Technology. After my bachelor’s degree, I trained in .NET outside of college.
A few months after college, I joined a start-up in India, Enterprise Automatics, which was later acquired by Aasonn, a U.S.-based industry leader in systems running SAP HR software. I was selected to work on integrations for SuccessFactors HR and SAP HCM solutions using Dell Boomi. Initially, being on an integration team, I learned a lot because of many people’s guidance. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.
So, who do you work for now? And what kind of projects are you involved in?
Michael Morthala: I work for Deloitte in India, and I’m an integration developer. Besides building integrations, I’m actively involved in the requirements-gathering phase of our integration projects, where we figure out whether we can use Boomi and if we have all the prebuilt connectors we need.
We follow an agile approach, where we receive requirements phase by phase as we build POCs. Once the client has signed off, we begin development. We see what connections we can use and what solutions Deloitte has already built that can be reused.
So, my role involves building, deploying, fixing and monitoring integrations. And, sometimes my team is involved with determining the supporting architecture required to implement a project. I find my work very challenging, and I am very happy to be a part of Deloitte. They are very supportive and encouraging.
Do you spend a lot of time educating your colleagues about the role and importance of integration, and are you helping Deloitte become more knowledgeable and successful with integration tasks?
Michael Morthala: There’s an active alliance between Deloitte and Boomi. And there’s a separate stream for Boomi, where we can encourage new practitioners to learn Boomi and to actively participate in the upcoming projects. This helps us help Deloitte become more valuable to its customers in using Boomi and implementing Boomi projects.
I have been actively involved in this process and I’m free to help any of my co-workers with their projects, whatever the phase. That might be helping search for an issue in the User Guide, the Boomi Learning Management tools, or the Boomi Community. These are very good resources.
For example, the Boomi Essentials course is excellent for beginners. It teaches fundamental principles that everyone needs, like gaining an understanding of the source and target systems before planning an integration.
What inspires you to be such an active participant and contributor to the Community?
Michael Morthala: When I started, I didn’t know anything about Boomi. The Community played a vital role in my progress as an integration developer. It helped me learn to identify root causes and what steps to take to eliminate an issue. And what the best practices are to follow while building a process, so we can eliminate errors.
Just as I was once, there are many people who are beginners with integration. They may be struggling and feel there’s no place to get help. Maybe they’ll seek outside training, which is expensive and not always effective.
I did that, but after I saw how the Community worked, I let that go and it saved me a lot of money and time. I was able to solve many issues quickly through the help I got from Community members who asked nothing in return. This inspired me to share my knowledge. Whatever experience I have can help others learn and understand about Boomi. Everyone benefits.
The Community collects all Boomi issues in one place. It also has many knowledge base articles and integration guides that tackle specific applications like NetSuite and Salesforce. And you can find all kinds of insights on broader integration challenges, such as where Boomi fits into the Internet of Things. Best part: everything is free.
What are some examples of how the Boomi Community has helped with your integration work?
Michael Morthala: I have many stories of how the Boomi Community helped me successfully complete integration projects! We once had an issue where when we retrieved documents from the cache, they didn’t appear in the right order. They didn’t come out in the order they went in. This halted production.
I was doing something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. So, I posted one question in the Community about these types of errors. I found some tips about how to maintain the order of documents in the cache. That led me to the right solution and we completed the project.
Another memorable challenge was rebuilding an integration from scratch because the process involved was taking many hours to run.
So, with no documentation, I just opened the process in Boomi. I could see everything step by step. And I could troubleshoot all the errors. Through Boomi’s UI and its support of user interaction, and the excellent mapping and error logging, we were able to rebuild the process so it could run in only a couple of minutes.
What key pieces of advice would you give to someone just starting out in integration?
Michael Morthala: First, sign up for the Dell Boomi learning management system (LMS). That is the best place to start your journey as a Boomi developer or administrator.
If you find any issues or if you’re not understanding a concept clearly, check the User Guide. Also, browse the Process Library, which is another great resource.
Once you’ve done that, go to the Boomi Community and check for questions like yours. Read all the comments related to similar questions. You may find the answer there. If not, post a question.
Second, before starting any integration project, check whether an integration is possible between the source system and the destination system. Have they exposed a valid set of APIs? And what are the objects to be integrated? Are they covered in the API documentation? There might be some fields in the source system that won’t fit in the destination system.
Once you find all the documentation — the fields, structures and restrictions — you’re in good shape to start your project.
What advice would you give to more experienced integration professionals?
Michael Morthala: To Boomi professionals who have not been involved in the Boomi Community, I would say spend some time there. You will learn something; you will stay current with all the ways in which Boomi is constantly improving and you will help others. The whole Community benefits.
Boomi is constantly implementing ideas that are presented in the Community. There’s a lot of interaction via the Community between the Boomi product team and Boomi users.
The Boomi learning curve is gentle. Everybody can learn Boomi within hours. That’s one of the best things about Boomi.
If you enjoyed reading about Michael Morthala’s professional experience as an integration architect, please check out our other Community Champion profiles on Leif Jacobsen, Hari Bonala, Seth Duda, Sjaak Overgaauw, Siri Vangari and John Moore.