A Story About Explaining Integrations to 6-Year-Olds
June 26, 2023
Long-story short: an Alumion took a day off from work to participate in "Career Day" at his kids school. They had the noble task of explaining to a class of 6-year-olds: “What is Alumio?”, “What are software integrations?”, “What is an integration platform? And, what does it all have in common with Lego and Action Figures?”. So - it technically wasn’t really a day off from work. Luckily, the Alumion brought along Mio, our friendly mascot and integrations influencer, who's quite the expert at making integrations simple for developers and business users. Turns out - kids are a tougher audience. So, here’s how this story went down….
A story about explaining integrations to 6-year Olds
Prologue: Bringing Alumio to School
(Children interest level 0/10)
The Alumion (Alumio employee) nervously walks into his 6-year-old kid’s class on “Career Day”. Tasked with explaining what the company he works for does to the kids, he rehearses his speech about the Alumio integration platform in his head, as he takes in the setting.
The teacher is already breaking up a fight that some kids are having over Action Figures. The Alumion spots his kid playing all by himself in the Lego section. By the time the teacher gets the chaotic class to settle down, the Alumion can’t help but sheepishly wonder why someone would invent something as cruel as - “Career Day”.
Ch.1 What is Alumio - not?
(Children interest level 4/10 ↑)
Next thing you know, all the 6-year-olds are neatly assembled on chairs looking expectantly up at the Alumion. The teacher asks his kid to introduce him to the class. And, it isn’t really encouraging when his kid partially remembers what they rehearsed last night, saying - “…This is my dad. He works for a soft-weird company called Alumio. Today, he will tell us how Alumio helps with software immigration!”…
… The Alumion immediately jumps into action by saying, “Software integrations! Not immigration! What he meant to say is… Alumio is a software company that helps businesses with software integrations”.
Realizing he’s off to a bad start, the Alumion looks at the confused kids, the unsympathetic class teacher, his clueless child, the multiple escape routes…. And, then he sighs and decides to go ahead with his plan after all (and starts talking like a millenial):
Ch.2 Making integrations “EPIC” and “COOL”
(Children interest level - 2/10 ↓)
”Hi kids, I’m what you call an integration specialist. I work with a company called Alumio - as you’ve been informed already. Alumio is an EPIC - API-driven! Cloud-based! Low-code! Integration platform. It helps all kinds of COOL businesses connect all kinds of COOL software, applications, and data, without the need for any custom code. By integrating these really COOL software solutions, businesses can digitalize and automate their business processes…
….But, I completely understand that what I'm saying is most probably not making sense to any of you... Want to know what else is really really - COOL? Alumio also has an EPIC & COOL mascot who goes by the name Mio!
Want to know who Mio is and where Mio comes from? Well, Mio comes from a secret dimension called the Great Cloud Space. He usually helps us explain to our grownup clients, in a fun way, what Alumio really does. We've never really tried him with kids though. Would you guys like to meet Mio - the first integrator?”
Surprisingly, the seemingly disinterested and distracted kids, actually get excited and shout - “YES!”
The Alumion pulls out his laptop quickly and throws Mio onto the screen. And, Mio takes it from there like a pro and starts explaining what integrations are all about - like it was actually something even kids were supposed to understand…
Ch.3 Why integrations are for everyone!
(Children’s interest level - 8/10 ↑)
”Hi kids, I’m Mio - the first integrator!”, the friendly mascot says to the class of kids.
“HI MIO THE FIRST INTEGRATOR!” - they all shout back.
“Do you know what integrations and Lego blocks have in common?”, Mio asks rhetorically.
“What?!”, some of the kids shout back curiously.
“Do you know how Lego blocks involve connecting all these different-looking blocks to build something cool and new? That’s what we call an integration!
Another example is when all of you bring different lunchboxes and share different cultural foods - that’s also a kind of integration! In short, integrations involve bringing different cool things together to build something even cooler!
Want to know how big businesses build integrations? Well, instead of connecting Lego blocks to build something bigger, businesses connect different software or computer applications to run different processes. These integrations help these businesses do a lot of their work for them - automatically! Do you all want to know why businesses need integrations to automate business processes?…”
Ch.4 Oversimplifying the need for business automation
(Children’s interest level - 6/10 ↓)
”….Let’s do an experiment to find out! I'm sure you all love playing with Action Figures, right? Great! Let’s imagine we all want to work together to start a shop that sells Action Figures. How would we go about it?
Firstly, someone will have to buy all the Action Figures, or what will we sell? Businesses call this procurement.
Next, we need some of us to take pictures of the different Action Figures and write down the unique features of each product. This way our customers will know which Action Figures they want to buy. Let’s call this Product Information Management.
We then have to find other kids or parents that want to buy Action Figures and find creative ways to tell them why they should buy from us. This is called marketing!
Next, some of us will have to write down all the orders for Action Figures that come in and the addresses correctly for where to send them.
Also, some of us would have to pack all the Action Figure orders for delivery and others would have to deliver the right Action Figures to the right addresses. Let’s call this order fulfillment!
But above all this, what’s most important is that we need to have someone who makes sure all of these different teams work together. Because, imagine if Timmy forgets to tell Jimmy that they got 5 new orders for Action Figures, or if Micky accidentally tells Minnie to send the Superman Action Figure to the kid that ordered a Barbie - it would be a disaster!
Well, now imagine this when it comes to big businesses! They have to sell thousands and thousands of more products, they have to sell these across different markets, and they have to deliver them to so many people. So, how do they do all this by minimizing mistakes? Well, luckily for them, businesses can use different types of software to help them automate all of these processes…”
Ch.5 The Alumio platform and the different kinds of integrations
(Children’s interest level - 5/10 ↓)
“….If a business wants to sell its products online - it can simply build an online store by choosing a popular e-commerce platform like Adobe Commerce, BigCommerce, or Shopify.
However, in order to display the products they want to sell, the business will need to enter all their product details into the e-commerce store. Usually, businesses will have all this product information stored in something called an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, the popular ones being SAP or Microsoft Dynamics 365. So, in order to get the ERP to share all the product data with their e-commerce platform, businesses will have to connect these two systems, and that’s where Alumio comes in!
(Children’s interest level - 4/10 ↓)
Alumio is a magical integration platform that helps businessesconnect these two systems, while enabling them to integrate many more systems! Remember how I told you that we have to have great product descriptions, attributes, images, and other important information? Alumio also helps businesses integrate a PIM (Product Information Management) solution like Akeneo or Pimcore, which is designed to enrich, optimize, and centralize product data. On top of this, businesses can also integrate a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that helps them store, pick, pack, track, and ship products. Or, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system like Salesforce that helps you reach out to your customers properly and keep track of all their information. Apart from these, there's hundreds of more applications that Alumio helps businesses integrate.
(Children’s interest level - 1/10 ↓)
Most importantly, apart from integrating these systems, Alumio helps to accurately exchange data in real-time between all of them. In other words, businesses can integrate and streamline their entire order fulfillment journey in real-time. They can build omnichannel experiences, enable future-proof development approaches like Composable Commerce, and even integrate future technologies like OpenAI for e-commerce, using Alumio as their central integration platform and…..”
Ch.6 Why integrations are a constant work-in-progress
(Children’s interest level - 0/10 ↓)
“…. MIO! HEY MIO! Stop already!”, the Alumion parent snaps the mascot out of his impassioned explanation.
“Wait… What happened? Where did all the kids go?”, Mio asks the Alumion lost in a daze.
The Alumion shrugs and sheepishly says, “You kinda lost them when you stopped talking about Action Figures and you started talking about actual software integrations. And they all just went back to playing…”
“Oh no! Sorry! I got super carried away and totally forgot the target audience”, Mio says disappointedly.
The Alumion smiles and says, “Don’t worry! Look! They’re not fighting over Action Figure anymore, they’re actually in the Lego section building cool things together…”
Mio smiles happily and says, ”Well, as I like to say, at least they learned why it’s great - to integrate!”
Saad has a decades worth of experience in writing all kinds of content for all kind digital marketing mediums. With Alumio, he fell in love with the idea of software integrations and now personally integrates all his marketing experience to explain how integrations work in a way that's fun, inventive, and easy to understand. When he isn't doing that, he's busy attempting to integrate his passion for philosophy, anime, gaming, fiction, cinema, food, and the art of good conversation.