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Filtering, Loops, and Transposition: Understanding Integrations Through Music

My name is Andrew LeCoche, and I’ve been on the integrations team at Boostr for over two years. With a lifetime dedicated to playing and writing music (24 years and counting!) I've developed a unique perspective that bridges the technical and creative fields. As a result of my unique background, I’ve often found myself drawing parallels between the many processes of integration and the techniques employed in writing and recording music.  

After many years as a performer, I shifted my focus to writing and recording and dedicated myself to mastering music production.  On the technical side of things, much of the “learning” had to do with signal flow.  A basic signal flow in a recording studio often looks like this: a microphone records an instrument, and the sound is recorded to a medium (today, it’s most common to do this digitally “in the box” or using magnetic tape)  The recorded signal is then processed further using several techniques or “effects” that can be informed by the style of music being made.  

I soon realized that integration development closely mirrors the techniques used in music production, and rather than thinking of them separately, I started to think of each in terms of the other. By exploring how filters, loops, and transpositions work in well-known pieces of music, we can better understand how the same concepts function in well-designed integrations.

Filtering: Shaping the Perfect Sound

In a recording studio, filters remove unwanted frequencies to enhance or dramatically change a sound's quality. This is akin to cleaning up data to ensure only relevant information is processed. In Daft Punk's One More Time, a band-pass filter allows a specific frequency range to pass through while attenuating others, creating an effect like listening through a boombox or car stereo. The filter opens after 30 seconds, revealing the track's entire frequency range.

Similarly, filtering ensures clean and efficient data flow between systems.  Integrating Boostr and an ERP system like Workday may involve numerous contacts with different roles associated with an IO in boostr. However, only specific contacts relevant to invoice processing need syncing. Filtering rules can isolate these "billing" contacts, ensuring only necessary data is transferred.

Loops: Repeating with Precision

Loops are fundamental in both music and integration development. In music, a loop refers to a repeating section that provides rhythm and continuity. A pioneering example is the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive, which uses a looped drum segment from their song Night Fever to maintain a consistent beat.

In integration, loops process repeating tasks efficiently. For example, integrating activities from Salesloft to Boostr for better contact management involves regularly polling the sales enablement tool. Since the data structure is consistent for each activity, thousands of activities can be processed daily using a loop. This ensures accurate and effective management, similar to how the drum loop in Stayin' Alive' keeps the song's rhythm consistent.

Transposition of Phrases: Bridging Differences

The transposition of phrases is another commonality between music and integration. In music composition, transposition involves repeating a melody in different sections to create variety and maintain interest. Maurice Ravel’s Boléro is a classic example, with the same melody transposed across various instruments, each adding unique texture while retaining the piece's cohesion.

In integrations, this concept is akin to data mapping, where information from one system is translated to fit another system's structure and requirements. For instance, integrating Salesforce with boostr involves mapping fields from an opportunity in Salesforce to match the field names and data types in boostr. Just as Ravel's melody is adapted and repeated across different instruments, data mappings ensure accurate and appropriate information translation between systems, maintaining integrity and functionality.

Conclusion

Just as writing and recording a piece of music involves meticulous attention to signal flow to achieve the perfect sound, building an integration requires careful data flow management to ensure seamless and efficient operations. Filtering enhances quality, loops provide consistency, and mapping ensures compatibility. 

At Boostr, these principles guide us as we integrate with various platforms, including ERPs like Workday, sales engagement tools like Salesloft, and CRM systems like Salesforce. These similarities have helped me better understand the intricacies of integrations and inspired me to approach each project with the same creativity and precision that goes into crafting a piece of music. Just as a well-produced song can resonate with listeners, a well-executed integration can transform and elevate business operations.

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