The cloud is a powerful tool for combining data to provide valuable new insights. But if data is stored in silos and lacks a standard format, it can be difficult to obtain that value.
This challenge — a serious barrier for any organization trying to leverage the cloud — has been met by Hathority, Boomi 2018 Innovation Partner of the Year.
Based in Phoenix, Ariz., Hathority was founded in 2015 by a team of technology engineers with academic roots. Their mission: custom-build cloud services that connect clients’ systems and create business-centric intelligence. Today, many of Hathority’s more than 100 clients seek to combine and analyze information from multiple, often incompatibly formatted data silos.
To make these offerings work, Hathority needed software to essentially act as a go-between, integrating data coded in different formats so data could be shared and made accessible to clients in Hathority’s cloud. Essentially, Hathority needed software that could power digital transformation across multiple business units in organizations. Not so easy — until Hathority discovered Boomi. Now the company integrates everything using the Boomi unified platform to ensure connections across its customers’ diverse data sets.
“Boomi helps us translate zeros and ones that are usable by one system into zeros and ones that are then usable by another system,” says Phillip Bernick, one of Hathority’s founding principals. “When people have the data they need, they’re more efficient, more effective and happier working — and that’s what Boomi delivers.”
“When people have the data they need, they’re more efficient, more effective and happier working — and that’s what Boomi delivers.”
— Phillip Bernick, Principal, Hathority
Aiming for a Cleaner Phoenix
One of those happier customers is the City of Phoenix’s public works department. It recently enlisted Hathority to reimagine, design and pilot a system to help meet three goals: increase trash recycling by the city’s residents, reduce the amount of waste the city sends to landfill, and lower the amount of costly rework required for its garbage-truck drivers.
While the City’s overall project vision is still developing, Hathority’s detailed design offered some specific solutions. To encourage recycling and reduce the amount of trash Phoenix sends to landfill, Hathority’s .io application will, among other things, be able to answer citizens’ questions about which materials can and can’t be recycled. “It’s about changing behaviors,” Bernick says, “and more importantly, connecting the city with its customers.”
One of the more ambitious efforts of the project involves real-time routing for garbage trucks. “The City of Phoenix is very customer-oriented,” Bernick explains, “and if you as a customer call up and say, ‘You forgot to pick up my trash today,’ they’ll actually send a truck out. But that’s really expensive.”
To lower Phoenix’s need for costly re-work, Hathority’s app will notify residents when to put out their bins, which bins to put out, and when a trash-pickup truck is scheduled to arrive. The pilot for reducing rework rolled out last year; once the city infrastructure allows, high-sped internet and edge devices will enable such notifications to happen in real time, and enable responsive re-routing.
In a later phase of the project, Hathority plans to leverage Phoenix’s garbage trucks as rich Internet of Things (IoT) data nodes. Edge processing data streams from the truck’s IoT sensors, video cameras and onboard diagnostic computers can make real-time analysis of routing and other data possible. And to connect it all, Hathority and Phoenix will use a growing, citywide high-speed wireless data network (5G). “Implementing with Boomi made this possible,” Bernick says. “We’re using Boomi to manage a lot of the data” to and from the edge.
IoT for First Responders
Another project Hathority is undertaking with Boomi’s help is focused on piloting IoT projects in several cities in the state of Texas. That project employs IoT to help speed ambulances and other first-responder vehicles to their destinations in real time.
This IoT solution can be implemented several ways using edge devices. One involves synchronizing traffic signals with the emergency vehicle’s path, flashing the lights as a warning to other drivers. Here, the integration challenge is to take data from two very different systems — a city’s traffic lights and an emergency vehicle — and get these systems to work together.
“People think a siren may be enough, but these days many drivers are on their headsets and may not even hear an emergency vehicle coming up,” explains Vishwam Annam, another founding principal at Hathority. “This is all about getting the vehicle to the nearest medical center faster. Ultimately, it’s going to improve the quality of citizens’ lives.”
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High Flying — Faster
IoT also plays a significant role in a project Hathority has undertaken, once again with help from Boomi, for a major airline. All jet aircraft need to be overhauled periodically, for both safety reasons and routine maintenance. These shops run 24/7, and they focus on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO or MROH) of jet aircraft. The airline needed to speed the process, automate manual processes, and reduce errors and delays in that process; Hathority offered a way to do this using IoT and Boomi integration technologies.
This project integrates data from a materials-management system with devices used by the airline’s mechanics. During an overhaul, the mechanics can now use their devices to determine in almost real time, thanks to Boomi, whether a needed part is available in inventory. If a part is out of stock, mechanics can use the now-integrated systems to order it from a supplier.
That improvement may sound small. But the system has already halved the average time needed to complete an aircraft overhaul from 14 days to just seven. And in the airline business, speed and efficiency is critical. “The mechanics are no longer sitting around and waiting for the parts to arrive,” Annam says.
The Boomi connection is vital, Annam adds. “Our customers want a unified experience with end-to-end integration,” he says. “That’s where we see the value.”
Ready for Agile
Boomi is an ideal partner for today’s agile development approach, favored by many of Hathority’s clients. By integrating data from various systems and databases, the Boomi Platform makes it easier for Hathority and Hathority’s clients to create proofs-of-concept (POCs) for potential services, and demonstrate the elegance and value of integration even more quickly.
These POCs can then be tested, debugged and enhanced — effectively, they become building blocks for the transformational goals many businesses have. Plus, POC data can be collected and analyzed over extended periods of time for measurement and further enhancements.
An Agile approach has made all the difference for one of Hathority’s customers in its approach to transforming supply chain management. Before Boomi, the client had relied on traditional waterfall development for supply-chain applications. But with Boomi’s integration capabilities, Hathority was able to help the company visualize data points with mapping tools. “This way,” Annam explains, “instead of waiting to onboard the resources, we could flow with several ‘sprints’ to deliver a quality product.”
As a growing number of organizations take on even more ambitious digital transformation projects, the need for data integration will only grow. Analyst firm IDC recently predicted that worldwide spending on digital transformation will this year approach $1.2 trillion. Many of these projects will undoubtedly require the sharing and analyzing of data across disparate data silos and data repositories.
“Boomi makes our lives easier,” says Bernick, “because it works — exactly the way we need it to work.” And when Hathority delivers Boomi-powered solutions, its customers also get to work exactly the way they need — better, faster, smarter and happier.