Mulesoft Anypoint helps HR Company unify various services into one platform

With their tailored HR services, Nextep offers solutions to workplaces across America, letting them get back to what they do best: growing their businesses.  To meet their customer demands in providing simple and reliable solutions, Nextep chose MuleSoft as an integration platform.

About Nextep

As a certified professional employer organization (CPEO), Nextep provides comprehensive HR, benefits, payroll, and risk & compliance solutions for businesses throughout the United States. Through the PEO relationship, clients and their employees gain access to big-business benefits, technology, and support delivered by friendly experts.

Nextep, Inc.

1800 N. Interstate Dr.

Norman, OK 73072

The Challenge

Nextep uses various backend systems vendors and Salesforce as their core business systems for HR, timekeeping, and other business functions like payroll processing. As part of their digital evolution, Nextep's goal was to provide unified and seamless services to its customers in one platform, which enhances the customer experience significantly. Nextep’s technology team identified the legacy integration platform, Jitterbit, as a constraint in moving toward their vision. 

The long term challenges with the existing integration infrastructure were its cumbersome maintenance and enhancement efforts. Lacking effective integration between key systems introduced issues like delays in data synchronization and lack of visibility into automated processes.

Remaining with the tightly coupled paradigm of Jitterbit was destined to increase complexity with a point-to-point approach, and expose Nextep to increased implementation and operational costs. 

IT and Business came together, solving the business problem with the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform, and partnered with AVIO to set a strong foundation for a smooth and successful foundational implementation.

The Solution

By working together with AVIO, Nextep implemented the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform in CloudHub and set the right integration patterns for their immediate and future needs. By leveraging API connectivity, IT can now deliver the simplified user experience that Nextep promises its customers. Using MuleSoft’s three-tier API approach, process layer APIs are now mirroring entities based on backend models, thus simplifying the core functionality and providing reusability.

AVIO’s focus, at least initially, was on building out the payroll processing sourced data flows. In this case, the term “flow” is not referring to the concept of a MuleSoft flow, but more accurately to the movement of backend data as it gets updated directly within the payroll processing system, and subsequently travels to the Nextep Salesforce instance(s).

User Synchronization:

The goal was to provide Nextep with a path that facilitates removing clients’ direct interaction with the backend systems and provide a more consistent and user-friendly interface. 

This effort began by applying MuleSoft's new API-led design to on-boarding, off-boarding, and updates to the employee information, quickly and reliably synchronizing with all key systems. Applying notifications at key points in the business processes in conjunction with CloudHub monitoring, operations, and support teams can now make use of the log analytics to identify the data transmission between each system and take corrective action as needed. Close to 30 endpoints were built to support various functionalities.

Business Domains

  • Payroll: deductions, retirement savings information
  • Benefits: benefit plans, time-off, time-off requests
  • Employee: all remaining information related to an employee

Future Proof:

By understanding Nextep’s future roadmap, AVIO delivered foundational integration patterns to be applied for future integrations like Kronos and heavy data-oriented batch processes.

Results

  • Extensible event-driven synchronization architecture.
  • Reusable architecture to build upon by augmenting process APIs as needed.
  • Enabled consistent look and feel through “behind the scenes” access to information (architectural decoupling via APIs); the first step toward getting away from Prism wrapped in a Nextep window.
  • Almost no more Jitterbit (legacy integration platform.)
  • Near real-time updates to reduce confusion about current data.
  • Process tracing with common logging component and Correlation Id.
  • Real-time notifications at key points in processing.
  • Automated build and deployment of a pipeline to CloudHub DEV environment.
  • Demonstrated significantly reduced development time by leveraging Proxy vs Build of Prism & Kronos APIs.
  • The first step toward common business domain Process APIs (MDM/canonical).

Within 2 months of launching the integration, Nextep has already processed more than half a million real-time transactions without disrupting any business processes.

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