Salesforce Integration: Key considerations

Salesforce Integration

Salesforce is today’s premier customer relationship management suite — and many companies are building their processes and data management around it.

But first, why would you want to integrate your Salesforce CRM with other solutions? Through integration, you can:

  • Integrate your order management. By integrating with Salesforce CRM, you can create a singular, omnichannel order management system.
  • Integrate with fulfillment service providers. For example, Salesforce CRM can directly send orders to fulfillment providers, automating order fulfillment.
  • Integrate with marketing solutions. Your customer relationship management suite can be integrated with your marketing and advertising solutions, creating a fuller picture of your buyers’ journeys.

Effectively building a Salesforce-powered network requires integrating other third-party solutions with the system. When integrating applications with Salesforce, what should you look for? What are some of the key considerations in processes and data management?

Let’s take a deeper look at integrating other applications with Salesforce.

The Different Types of Integration

Why do customers seek to integrate applications with Salesforce? Usually, it’s a matter of automation, process management, and data accuracy. Ideally, an integrated system doesn’t require users to enter data into multiple software solutions redundantly, makes it possible for software systems to work in tandem with each other, and ensures the system’s fidelity.

There are three types of integration: API integration, data integration, and process integration.

Salesforce provides an API through which third-party applications can communicate with the platform. Alternatively, you can automate the process to import and export data from Salesforce as desired. And processes can be created to ensure that applications can work in tandem.

When seeking integration with Salesforce, users may need one or more of these different integration types. However, to create an effective, comprehensive integration, companies should create a pipeline, the ideal data and process workflow.

Salesforce Integration Patterns: What You Need to Know

Salesforce has six integration patterns, each of which serves a different purpose and has various applications. These integration patterns relate to how the Salesforce program interacts, third-party applications, where the data is stored, and how the data is refreshed.

  • Batch data synchronization. Data is stored on the Lightning Platform and periodically refreshed.
  • Data virtualization. Salesforce pulls external data into its software platform in real-time.
  • Remote call-in. Data is stored in the Lightning Program and accessed externally.
  • Remote process invocation-fire and forget. Salesforce invokes a remote process but does not wait for it.
  • Remote process invocation-request and reply. Salesforce invokes a remote process and waits for completion.
  • UI update based on data changes. The Salesforce UI updates in relation to Salesforce data.

A third-party application will need to decide on one of these integration models. Customers looking to add third-party applications to their Salesforce installation should be aware of the integration pattern that’s being used.

Important to consider is:

  • Does data need to be synced in real-time, or can there be a delay? Data virtualization pulls real-time data but is more resource-intensive; batch data synchronization can synchronize data at set points. There are several common code /no-code platforms like Dell Boomi or event-based integration using Zapier.
  • Does data need to be centralized through the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and integration platform like Mulesoft, or can there be point-to-point integration? While there is some value to consolidating and siloing connections, ESB can introduce more complexity than is needed. If there are many systems involved, using an ESB is preferred. If there are fewer real-time connections, P2P is advised.
  • What are the security integrations? Security is a weakest-link proposition; your system will be as weak as the weakest component integrated. If your integrated, third-party application is not secure, your Salesforce data may not be.
  • Which system will be the system of record? For example, will data be housed in Salesforce’s Lightning Platform and transmitted, or will it be brought into Salesforce from the third-party application?

Budget, Volume of Data, and Practical Concerns

Finally, budget, the volume of data transmitted, the number of systems at play, and other practical concerns need to be considered. A company should look at its “needs” vs. its “wants” in terms of data management and automation — and from there, decide what is feasible with the technology and budget involved.

Taking the Next Steps

As you can see, integrating other applications with Salesforce is a complex proposition. Therefore, it’s essential to get the foundation of your integration correct — otherwise, you could end up with a fundamentally unusable solution.

If you need help deciding which integration pattern is right for you, we can help. Contact us today to find out more.

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