Based on 2021 statistics collated by AI Mulitple, 89% of organizations have opted to use digital-first business strategies and plans. Over 40% of executives polled find that their company’s operational efficiency has improved with digital transformation. This improvement directly relates to better customer experiences and goes beyond product development and service offerings. It needs touch-points with real people at every step of the way and this can be achieved with the right customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
With Salesforce, a company can build seamless customer experiences at every point of contact in a business cycle – from sales to service, and from marketing to post-sales care. However, the challenge that organizations are often faced with is connecting Salesforce to their existing core systems and related applications. These can be databases the company uses, the various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems used in operations, and any customized applications. Every integration scenario has some common aspects that developers need to address, as well as certain unique needs that the integration may necessitate.
Salesforce is a market forerunner in the CRM sector, with an 11.7% market share in marketing CRM, its closest competitor being Adobe at 7.3%. Over 58% of Salesforce customers are ready to integrate into the Salesforce cloud and companies that have made the switch to Salesforce have recorded a 25% growth in their revenues.
Through Salesforce integration patterns, businesses can better understand their goal and strategize to create stronger, impactful plans. While there are several processes based on the kind of project you have, here are two for your understanding, along with a CRM model.
App-Based: Considering Salesforce’s market penetration, there are scores of companies across the world that use it to manage their data, create leads and ensure efficient customer service. Several third-party apps are integrated into Salesforce to aid with the processes of streamlining CRM with an organization’s applications. This reduces any data duplication. For Salesforce to effectively integrate with apps, businesses will need strong integration platforms to stand above the competition. Some app-based Salesforce integration methods include working with Dell-Bhoomi, which helps in making the transition from any CRM platform to Salesforce successfully. Its advantages include that it comes along with Salesforce Connect and therefore provides insightful customer data that is outside of the company’s Salesforce, both for viewing and running searches. Its pros include
· A reduced cost in Salesforce data storage
· Access to information allows for management of external data
Another process is Salesforce Integration along with Informatica, which is a Software as Service (SaaS) offering. With this, a company can work on integrating data located in the cloud, with a database on-premise. The assurance is the availability of quality data to help with better business decisions. The primary benefits here are:
· An easy way to connect to apps, both on-premise, and cloud-based
· Both productivity and efficacy of the app are improved
Code-based: While apps are one way to work on Salesforce integration, it can also be done via programming. A prominent example of programming is the use of Apex, which has a syntax that is Java-like and serves as a database for stored procedures. The many advantages of this are:
· It’s among the simplest options to use and to test
· Lightning platform can avail of in-built support.
· It is hosted and controlled completely on Lightning Platform
· It is can be applied to multiple versions of API
Ways to Integrate with Salesforce
In general, integration takes place at the enterprise level of application, dealing with multiple levels such as data, associated business logic, and UIs, all with the idea of improving quality, consistency, and operational efficiency.
User interface integration: This is the simplest way to allow any number of users access to multiple apps over a single platform. Facebook is the best example of this as it makes way for the content that is displayed from numerous non-Facebook application vendors.
Business logic integration: This helps with working on several applications and creating a seamless business process. Here Apex web services handle Inbound, and anything Outbound is handled by Apex Callouts.
Data integration: With the help of SOAP or REST APIs, data is synchronized to make room for a single application to act as the primary source for any particular business object. It does not require coding and consequently does not make room for any customized logic to be applied.
The Salesforce Integration Checklist
Salesforce integration is no small task. It is important that you manage and plan Salesforce integration services perfectly. Here is a look at the checklist you need to have in place.
Planning and documentation: As with any such undertaking, Salesforce integration needs to begin with those who are involved with the process. It becomes necessary to have strong planning and documentation in place. Only then will the insights or technical viewpoints that a business requires come to the fore. Planning and documentation need to include:
· A clear statement of goals for the business
· A vision and mission statement
· Fix on ownership and the data involved
· A clear comprehension of standards and related best practices for integration
The Apps: The application is the most important part of the integration project. It is key to the success of the integration process. Take time out to better understand how the apps have integrated and how they function. To help with this:
· Ensure the proper prepping of all the data involved
· Have a clear understanding of each application dependency
· Ensure that both the devices involved have the same architecture
· Both apps to be integrated should have their APIs enabled
· Investigate API limits, if any
The Processes: This is a reference to data flow from one point to another. This is the stage where data is processed and modified before it moves into another application. Mapping data flow across your business becomes vital to:
· Recognizing and marking endpoints
· Making room for strong connections for customized integration and the use of third-party tools for this integration
· Getting clarity on the performance of data delivery for different applications
· Making use of IP Whitelisting to limit and control access
Forms of Salesforce Integration
Salesforce offers an organization several options to integrate data in keeping with its commitment to being a versatile tool. Here is a look at what Salesforce integrations are largely used for:
Batch integration: This is the best form of data integration in cases where data does not change frequently. It is the ideal way to process flat files.
Real-Time Integration: This is ideally suited to aligning sales and marketing. It adequately handles data and is less intimidating when it comes to dealing with errors and managing control queues.
AppExchange: There is a wide range of apps available via Salesforce for immediate installation. This reduces the time spent in finding something appropriate and the expense involved in integration. It also smoothens the path for any enhancements in the future.
Real-Time Mash-ups: The UI will need to be built in VisualForce to enable customization. This is the primary means of evaluating external system data quickly.
The Key Salesforce Integration Patterns
So what are Salesforce integration patterns and why are they critical to setting up smooth customer experiences?
Salesforce integration applications are based on five patterns that form a logical course of action and addresses integration challenges, and documents them for future use. Every integration application is inclusive of a pattern and one business-specific case. Here the pattern refers to a specific process of moving and handling data. The business use case is the final result of the integration.
Every pattern will have one or a combination of the below elements:
- Source point that stores data before integration execution.
- Parameters that outlines the scope of data that is used.
- Modifying from one format to another.
- Destination system where data used is then placed.
- A comparative capture that analyses the results against the expectations.
There are five common integration patterns. They are:
The Migration Pattern
With the migration pattern, specific sets of data from a fixed time are moved across systems. With this, developers can set up automated migration systems through which the various teams in a company can share functionalities. Configuration limits can be set for passing in API calls. This enables the easy movement of scoped Salesforce-specific data into or out of Salesforce in two ways – command-based or need-based, via an API.
Developers can set the configuration limits to pass into API calls so that the process is able to migrate scoped Salesforce data in or out of Salesforce, either on command or on an as-needed basis via an API. Both teams, development and operations, can benefit from the timesaving advantage of reusable services.
The migration pattern is beneficial in several Salesforce integration instances – from moving legacy data into Salesforce to setting up customer data back-ups. It is a process that can handle massive data volumes, handle the batch processing of multiple records and the failure rate is minimal at best.
Migration is key to ensuring that enterprise data is kept independent of the tools that are created to manage it, ensuring that it can be reused across numerous systems. Without this, whenever tools are tweaked, data will be lost and productivity will be impacted.
The Broadcast Pattern
In the broadcast pattern, data from one system is migrated to several destination systems on a real-time or close to real-time basis. Usually, a one-way synchronization refers to a one-on-one connection. In the broadcast pattern, the ratio is one system to many. This pattern is a transactional one and specifically optimized to process records quickly. With the broadcast pattern, data across systems is kept current. This Salesforce pattern is expected to be dependable to ensure no data is lost in the transfer process. This dependability is increasingly essential because it is a process that is usually deployed in critical situations, enabled by push notifications or through pre-scheduling, and has little to no human supervision. Additionally, this is a system that enables the instant transfer of customer-related data through systems.
The Aggregation Pattern
This is the opposite of the broadcast pattern. Here data is procured from several systems and is copied onto a single one. With this, the user will not need to execute multiple migrations often reducing the problems associated with synchronizing data and its accuracy. This the simplest pattern to extract from multiple systems and input data into a single one. With this form of integration, Salesforce will be able to create an aggregation pattern that can send out requests to multiple systems and merge various data sets that will make and store reports in the desired format. Aggregation patterns are made up of custom logic which is easily adaptable to merging and formatting data as required. Some real-case situations in which this pattern is used include creating APIs and tracking systems that collect and report data from several systems. It could also be used for the updation of Salesforce with ERP data.
The Bi-Directional Sync Pattern
The bi-directional pattern can be seen as a mix of the above patterns. Here various data sets from different systems are integrated to make them function as a unified single. In this, various data sets can be seen and identified. This pattern is particularly useful when varied tools and systems are required for processes that are employed to fulfill different functions within a data set. Bi-directional sync utilizes both systems in question, steadily ensuring a real-time evaluation of data across the systems. This pattern offers ideal performance while maintaining data integrity across the two systems in sync. It can be used to add or eliminate additional systems that function within a domain as storage. This is the ideal pattern to use when you are looking for specified object representations to be inclusive and steady.
The Correlation Pattern
This pattern is essentially the bi-directional sync pattern but with a key difference. Here, the pattern will identify the merging of two data sets and will undertake a two-way synchronization of the datasets. This synchronization however can happen only if the data set materializes in both the systems naturally. New records are created only if data is found in just one of the two systems. In the correlation pattern, there is no distinction made between where the data objects have come from. This is a pattern that is necessary where there are two groups or systems that have to share data and if they have records that associate with the same items.
Strong customer relationships are the foundation of every business and is the main reason behind the success of any organization. Future-forward companies invest heavily in technological solutions such as Salesforce to ensure better service to customers. Being a CRM-system based in the cloud, Salesforce is able to ensure quality customer service, with an accelerated sales growth trajectory and better customer loyalty. Additionally, various teams in a company will have access to updated customer details which will help in streamlining business protocols.
For this to be a reality, companies will need to develop a Salesforce integration strategy that connects every important team, system and related protocol. Using Salesforce integration patterns can truly transform the way customer data is used in a business. The mutual benefits are undeniable. Using these patterns will help expand a business’s customer base while helping them retain employees and create a range of marketing products and related services.