What Is A Salesforce Integration?
Many organizations use a variety of tools to conduct their daily operations. In order to make life easier, Salesforce is able to communicate with other systems. This means that data and processes from one system can be incorporated into the Salesforce CRM. You can cater better to your clients by utilizing a 360-degree view of each customer, even if data is housed in different systems. But it’s not as simple as downloading a bunch of apps from the AppExchange. A well-developed integration requires a lot of analysis, planning, and work. It involves:
- Defining Your Use Cases
- Choosing An Integration Type
- Data Integration
- Business Process/Logic Integration
- Finding The Right Tool
Defining Your Use Cases
Before starting your integration, it is important to identify your scope. What is the specific purpose driving your need to integrate? Could it be:
- Using the Salesforce analytics platform to manipulate external data
- Adding functionality to Salesforce from an outside system
- Viewing dynamic data within Salesforce as it updates in another system
- Or something else?
Defining the main use case for your integration will help dictate your integration methodology and the tool you should choose. By knowing your end goals, you can start to evaluate integration options. Some examples of specific goals may be:
- Pulling in a real-time price from an outside source when creating an order
- Viewing tickets from ZenDesk or another system as they progress with a customer
- Seeing actual usage data from a product backend
Your use cases can be as specific as you need them to be. In fact, having specific requirements will help you out later on down the line when it comes to choosing a solution.
Choosing An Integration Type
After you’ve defined your scope, you need to understand what type of integration will satisfy your use cases. It’s important to understand the difference between integration types so your solution completely addresses your business need. The main types of integration are data integrations and business process integrations.
Data integration occurs when data is shared between Salesforce and other systems. Most companies use other systems to conduct business, and this type of integration helps Salesforce access data collected by these systems. By using APIs, instant or scheduled data exchange is available to update Salesforce objects, perform searches, or other on-demand services. With a seamless data integration solution, data consistency and reliability can allow you to work more efficiently. When considering a data integration, it is important to determine where you want the data to reside. Do you want it to remain in an external system and be treated as an external object, or do you want to actually store it in Salesforce?
On the other hand, business process integrations involve more than just data. With this type of integration, you can design workflows to take place in and around Salesforce. Many business processes touch different systems, and seamless integration with each contact point can make life a lot easier. For example, a business process integration could involve a JIRA ticket getting sent to Trello, which updates a dashboard in Salesforce. Or it could involve emails getting sent to customers that are logged in Salesforce to track lead generation. By using each system’s unique and superior functionality, you can create robust workflows by having each of them work together.
Finding The Right Tool
Once you’ve figured out your use cases and decided on the integration type, it’s time to choose a solution. In most cases, you will have to decide between buying your solution or developing it yourself. Salesforce AppExchange is a preexisting resource with several top-tier applications designed for integrations. It’s always best to explore the available options before thinking about custom development. Many of the out-of-the-box solutions come with support, community, and thorough documentation that you can use to address your requirements. However, developing your own solution also allows you to customize your integration to match your use cases exactly. But how can you decide which path to take?
Most of the time, it will come down to cost. Development can have high up-front costs while buying a solution may be more affordable. A custom developed solution will also accumulate costs when it comes time to update your platform, while AppExchange solutions will often release updates for download. However, a developed solution is built specifically for you, and it is more flexible when it comes to feature additions an customization. There are many different factors to take into consideration when deciding to buy or develop, and sometimes the best strategy is to get a second opinion.
Get In Touch With An Expert To Learn More
While integrating systems with your Salesforce CRM can be easy and useful, choosing the correct methods and customizing solutions can be tricky. If you are struggling to find the optimal integration strategy, companies like Ntegro can help you craft a solution. Our team can work closely with you to determine your optimal end state and get you there as quickly as possible.
We want you to know that integrations are accessible to all businesses! There are many free applications, and custom development can be quick and inexpensive with the right partner. Get in touch with us online and your first consultation will be free of charge. Start integrating your systems with Salesforce today to make your life a whole lot easier!
Have you already integrated your main systems with Salesforce CRM? Do you have some best practices you’d like to share with the community? How about some horror stories to avoid? Leave a comment below to tell us your experience with integrations, and tune in next week for a deeper dive!