Candy.com uses Dell Boomi for application and data integration, which allows the online candy retailer to keep its focus on the sweet stuff — like selling Jelly Belly champagne bubbles and growing its business to giant jawbreaker proportions.
“It’s the No. 1 reason for the success and growth of our company,” said CTO Gary Cifatte, talking with SDxCentral about implementing Dell Boomi’s integration platform as a service [iPaaS]. Candy.com has grown between 50 percent and 70 percent, year-over-year, since it started using the platform in early 2016, he said.
Dell Boomi is an on-demand, multi-tenant integration platform for connecting cloud and on-premises applications and data. The platform is cloud-based, and connects these applications without any software or appliances.
Dell acquired Boomi in 2010; the company is now one of the Dell Technologies brands.
“What’s really cool about our platform is that we offer a really fast time to value,” said Jeff Burk, VP of research and development at Dell Boomi. “We help customers navigate a lot of gnarly APIs, where, if they weren’t using Dell Boomi, they’d have to get a lot of developers working on it. The benefit of using Boomi: they can fast forward through a lot of that stuff and free up their developers to innovate instead of building yet another Salesforce integration or another NetSuite integration.”
Candy.com in the Cloud
Candy.com, meanwhile, got its start in 2009 as “the online candy store,” Cifatte said. A few years later, it moved into drop shipping, which allowed retailers to transfer orders to Candy.com instead of stocking large amounts of candy.
Early on, when the order volume wasn’t very high, Candy.com handled these orders via email. But this manual and time-consuming method of performing business-critical tasks “very quickly became unmanageable,” Cifatte said. “[Candy.com] needed a better way than email to order and went the route of EDI [electronic data interchange].”
The company had two different vendors providing EDI services for sending orders and receiving stock. When Cifatte joined Candy.com in 2015, the company decided to bring its EDI in-house. That’s when it came across Dell Boomi because one of its suppliers used the company’s technology.
Candy.com wanted a cloud-based platform that would let it build a B2B trading partner network with NetSuite EDI integration. “Everything [at Candy.com] is cloud based; what we liked about Dell Boomi is it is cloud-based, and it already had a built-in connector to NetSuite so we were able to do a plug and play — we didn’t have to build that,” Cifatte said.
Additionally, at that point Dell Boomi had already completed more than 2,000 integrations: between cloud platforms, software-as-a-service applications, and on-premises systems.
Now that number is “well north of 2,000,” Burk said. The company releases between five and seven each month. Additionally, developers can build their own connectors — “it’s like a shortcut for getting integrations built,” Burk explained — and then put those back into the Dell Boomi ecosystem for use by other customers.
Using Dell Boomi meant Candy.com didn’t have to write the code for these integrations.
Candy.com signed a contract with Dell Boomi in September 2015.
“On Feb. 2, 2016, we transitioned our six largest trading partners from 3PL [third party logistics] to in-house over a 36-hour period with no loss of orders, performance, or anything being dropped,” Cifatte said. “We now have 26 integrations in place and we’re using Dell Boomi for things other than integrations. It’s been nothing but success.”
It’s now been almost two years, and Candy.com has completed more than 5 million transactions through the platform. It has also saved the company “a phenomenal amount of money,” Cifatte said. The ability to do direct integrations with its trading partners rather than going through a third party saves transactional fees. “We moved one integration [in 2017] from outsourced and are saving $15,000 a month in fees,” Cifatte said. “We’re probably saving easily $40,000 to $50,000 a month in transactional fees.”
The platform saves time as well. Cifatte said before Dell Boomi, an integration would take more than six months. Now they’re live in about three weeks. “Fast-track” integrations take just four days.
The company also uses Dell Boomi to automate other processes including remittance, item validation, and shipping notification and tracking. “Over 200 hours a week of manual effort have been automated and returned to the company,” Cifatte said.