Salesforce integration remains a key challenge for most organizations. With more than 150,000 mid-sized businesses and larger corporations using Salesforce, the cloud-based customer relationship management platform is a both a treasure trove of useful data and a lynchpin for daily operations.
So for users across an organization — from line-of-business managers to field technicians — connecting to Salesforce and tapping into its data and features is always a business priority.
Earlier this year at Salesforce World Tour Sydney 2017, our managing director, Michael Evans, had the opportunity to provide some insights to these integration challenges in a presentation to a full house. He demonstrated how to make Salesforce integration quick and easy, leveraging some of the powerful features in the Dell Boomi platform.
It was also an opportunity for us to show how Boomi customers use integration platform as a service (iPaaS), APIs, master data management and workflow to minimize the time, cost and effort involved in setting up and maintaining Salesforce connections.
Here is a recap of what Michael Evans covered in his presentation to show you how simple Salesforce integration can be.
Connecting to Salesforce with an iPaaS Platform in Minutes
The Boomi integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) is a 100% cloud-native technology, with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface for creating integrations. It supports citizen integration so that business users with little technical skill can connect their data and applications. Organizations don’t have to hire senior developers to craft custom code from scratch. In fact, with Boomi iPaaS they can start accessing Salesforce data within minutes.
Here are three ways in which Boomi simplifies Salesforce integration.
- Low-Code, Cloud First. In line with Salesforce, the Boomi integration platform is also a low-code, cloud-first technology. Instantly make your teams productive from day one, publish best practices across teams, and leverage Boomi’s rich system development lifecycle features.
- Pre-built Connectors. Boomi provides pre-built connectors to common Salesforce endpoints, such as Force.com, Analytics Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Heroku, and more. Beyond Salesforce, Boomi provides an expansive portfolio of connectors for hundreds of applications, including both on-premise and cloud applications, helping enterprises quickly select and configure the integrations they need.
- Boomi Suggest. Boomi Suggest is a capability built into the Boomi platform that provides data mappings for integrations between popular platforms like Salesforce and other applications and services. If you’re connecting Salesforce to another popular application, Boomi Suggest lets you leverage the collective intelligence of the Boomi community to suggest the mapping you need.
- Query by Checkbox. As most advanced Salesforce users probably know, Salesforce has created its own query language for data integration. This language, the Salesforce Object Query Language, or SOQL, is modeled on SQL (Structured Query Language — the traditional query language for databases). Like SQL, SOQL is powerful and precise. And like SQL, it’s complex and can quickly become intimidating to non-technical users. Boomi lets users access the precision of SOQL without having to construct long queries full of brackets and Boolean notation. A simple checkbox interface helps business people and other non-technical users quickly construct exactly the queries they want. This is another example of how the Boomi low-code interface makes integration fast and easy, while reducing maintenance and troubleshooting work for IT.
Extending Salesforce and Managing APIs
Interested in outbound messaging, Salesforce Connect, or the new Salesforce Event API? Boomi provides Salesforce customers the ability to extend and enhance the functionality they are building on force.com.
Whether you want to host REST and SOAP endpoints for Apex, support integration for Salesforce Connect with multiple endpoints, or extend the Event API with external systems, Boomi helps you to get more out of your Salesforce environment.
Salesforce administrators and developers often need a way to create, publish, and manage APIs, whether they are interacting with internal business groups or with external parties such as customers, partners or vendors. Both types of APIs require an API discovery service to share data across various groups.
APIs for internal systems typically facilitate interactions with legacy systems. By connecting these systems and accessing their data, the APIs enable enterprises to easily optimize a process or create some other IT service addressing a critical need.
For example, suppose an enterprise has created an internal order-taking app that uses APIs to exchange data with multiple systems. When a user enters a purchase order, the app invokes APIs to share customer information with a CRM like Salesforce and to update inventory in an enterprise resource planning system like SAP or NetSuite.
By exposing inventory data from SAP to the app, an API spares the user the trouble of having to log in to a different system to view inventory details. An API can also enter the new customer information directly into Salesforce, ensuring that the order is recorded correctly.
Boomi API Management makes managing API integrations like this quick and easy. Boomi API Management provides a single, scalable platform to manage all your APIs through their entire lifecycle. It also provides a centralized online environment to control the creation, deployment and management of APIs.
It also handles APIs for external use. For example, imagine a company has set up a partner portal that enables partners to submit quotes and referrals. The partners need current pricing for their quotes, but most companies don’t want partners logging into Salesforce to get pricing. Using Boomi, the company can expose its price list via APIs securely to partners, so they can create quotes that are accurate.
In this example, the portal might use APIs to interact with Salesforce for pricing and an Oracle database for product information. Boomi API Management makes all these interactions seamless for the portal and the portal’s developers.
Enhancing Salesforce with Master Data Management
Master Data Management (MDM) is a foundation for data governance. It’s the practice of establishing a critical reference point — a set of “golden records” — that preserve data quality and provide an ultimate authority for resolving differences in application data across an organization.
Are you running multiple instances of Salesforce? Maybe your company is going through a series of mergers and acquisitions? Traditionally, MDM projects can take 18 to 24 months to implement. Boomi MDM makes it possible to create and deploy data management models in 18 to 24 weeks.
Because organizations want their customer and sales data to be accurate and consistent, Salesforce and MDM are a perfect combination.
Boomi Master Data Management represents data consistently across an organization, helping data stewards model, match, synchronize, cleanse and enrich data from all the organization’s domains. Any data source, including Salesforce, that is connected to the Boomi MDM hub can contribute data to the hub or consume data from the hub.
Let’s say an organization wants to ensure that data updates from Salesforce are also delivered to NetSuite and to a MySQL database. As part of the data flow, enrichment rules enforced by Boomi MDM will correct and standardize customer address information obtained from Salesforce.
Boomi MDM ensures the data is correct, fields are validated, data rules are enforced, and that updates are passed to NetSuite and the database, so that all systems with CRM data have matching address records for the customer.
Like other Dell Boomi offerings, Boomi MDM enables users to define rules and configurations with a low-code interface. Boomi MDM also enables data stewards and others to create rules for alerting the data steward team and assisting with resolving duplicates, fixing data entry issues, and correcting erroneous data.
Help Your Data Flow
Boomi Flow provides low-code, cloud-native development. Combined with Boomi integration and APIs, Boomi Flow brings even greater value to Salesforce customers by extending the workflow capabilities inside your organization.
Boomi Flow makes it easy to create simple as well as complex workflows and collaborate across stakeholders. These workflows extend the existing functionality of Salesforce by adding capabilities such as offline support, access to external applications, real-time updating, social communictions/Salesforce Chatter support, and more.
The big question that I often get asked is, “Why would we want yet another workflow tool for Salesforce? Salesforce has a lot of workflow tools already.”
Salesforce certainly provides a nice set of workflow tools, but they all focus on addressing very specific issues within Salesforce:
- If you need to approve an opportunity, there are processes to approve records in Salesforce.
- If you need to update a record, there are workflow rules to kick off a workflow.
- If you need a highly structured process, you can use Visual Workflow.
The trouble is that when you want to use the tools together, it can be quite challenging. Also, they are not effective if you need to connect to best of breed applications, such as Box, Slack, Twilio, Sharepoint, DocuSign, a database, or a Heroku application.
With Boomi Flow, you have an agnostic, unified workflow system to drive all your integrations within and outside of Salesforce.
The ability to speak to other cloud applications is a critical part of what we do to drive end-to-end workflows throughout all steps in your business processes.
And as a final point, Boomi also addresses these challenges with scale, elasticity, and the ability to grow. The Boomi platform can support virtually unlimited processes and concurrent users.
Getting the Most out of Salesforce
While my objective was to show three (plus one) ways of making Salesforce integration a breeze, the reality is these are four ways to getting the most out of your Salesforce investment. Ultimately, this is what you really want from a ROI perspective. Here’s how it works:
- Connecting to Salesforce integrates CRM and other Salesforce data with your other IT systems, creating efficiency and increasing business agility.
- Publishing APIs and creating custom integrations enables your organization to build on Salesforce, adapting its wealth of data and features to the use cases that matter to your organization.
- Incorporating Salesforce into your organization’s MDM program ensures that Salesforce is always working with the most accurate and up-to-date data in the enterprise, helping avoiding redundant data entry work and inconsistent, conflicting data.
About the Author David Irecki manages the Solution Consulting team for Dell Boomi in the Asia-Pacific Japan region.