Today nearly every enterprise needs to be a software-driven business to survive. And the enterprises that survive tend to thrive. Change is constant, failure rates are high, and when an enterprise genuinely meets the demands of its market, they often find themselves the only one left standing — or at least the only one with a sizable market share.
Rapid consolidation is occurring in many product categories and entire industries, largely because the technology and resources that are available to one enterprise are available to all. The differences come down to execution, and that depends on software.
Success as a software-driven business depends on three things: data, processes and automation.
One of the key characteristics of truly software-driven businesses is how they leverage data. They use data not just to make decisions but also to ask themselves questions about the business, to run hypothesis testing, to uncover insights, and to innovate.
The importance of data for all this work is not lost on enterprises or industry pundits. That’s why people say data is the new capital, data is the new gold, data is the new oil — pick your own catchphrase.
Data Everywhere, Insights Nowhere!
Success depends on data: customer data, market data, environmental data, competitive data, etc. Name your data.
Once you have data you want it to be actionable. You don’t just want it to sit on the shelf. You want to use it to drive decision-making. But to make these things happen, you need processes.
Your processes need to be nimble and easy to quickly orchestrate. They need to work in concert with different processes. They need to fit for specific business units or a team within the business unit, as well as across the entire company and throughout its ecosystem — partners, vendors, and eventually customers. Your processes could even extend across two businesses towards an end customer, the ultimate user of the company’s products or services.
The processes should be well thought out and understood. These processes need to be orchestrated and daisy-chained to produce the maximum value at scale.
Your processes require data governance. Enterprises need to make sure they always have the oversight to know for sure that any data usage is being done in line with policies or governmental regulation.
Organizations also need to adopt automation. An enterprise has all these processes, and it wants them to run efficiently and to dovetail with one another. The enterprise also needs to be able to understand the processes overall and understand its process architecture from a single view.
How does this play into the modern enterprise? We typically see that most of the modern enterprises have switched to a cloud-based model — Salesforce — for their CRM systems. Many are also looking at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Or they are looking at the Salesforce Commerce Cloud so they can grow quickly in a cloud-first world: from retail to e-tail.
Data Integration: The Necessary Component for Moving to the Cloud
Overall, enterprises are moving towards a much more cloud-based, online, always-on capability — the kind of capability that the Salesforce platform provides.
This migration to cloud-based models is taking place in the context of legacy data systems and other data systems that are storing important content outside of Salesforce. A company’s ERP systems might be sitting elsewhere. Its partner systems are sitting somewhere else. IoT systems, if a company has them, are running east-west across the IT architecture.
All these different systems require multiple entry points on the Salesforce side. The enterprise needs to have data integrations between Salesforce and various points within the enterprise ecosystem.
This is where data integration comes in. You need to have agile data integration with low-code tools and ready-to-use connectors, so the enterprise can quickly and efficiently connect these other data sources to the right entry points in Salesforce.
Once data and processes are integrated, and customer and business data can efficiently be leveraged by other systems and users across the enterprise, the company can really make full use of Salesforce. A well thought out integration strategy makes it possible to leverage any data going into and coming out of Salesforce.
Low-Code Development for Quickly Building Salesforce Workflows
Today’s enterprises can take advantage of a low-code development platform such as Boomi to create and enhance processes and workflows that capitalize on the Salesforce platform.
Through integration and event triggers, workflows can be built that respond to business events, such as a Salesforce user creating a contact or account, or an account representative marking an opportunity closed because a deal has been won.
Workflows today are more closely intertwined with the flow of business, closely mimicking a business flow. Rather than business automation being based on an idealized abstraction, it’s possible now to create a high-fidelity, virtual twin of how the business operates. Teams can then map that virtual model onto the organization’s infrastructure and technology stack as specific data integrations and workflows.
That’s why these three elements — data, processes and automation — must be thought of together. Data fuels the processes, which are automated based on business events and requirements to support the software-driven business.
In the center of this business, Salesforce serves as a “catchment area” for customer data. It can also serve as a hub for marketing campaigns or ecommerce operations.
Salesforce is collecting and tracking the data that the enterprise depends on not only for business transactions but also for research, analysis, data-driven insights and planning. The enterprise will be piping that data from Salesforce to the rest of its ecosystem through data integrations and workflows.
It is imperative that organizations understand the strategic importance of this operational model. In just about any market, the winners are going to be the software-driven businesses that are making the best use of data and automation to outperform their competitors. It’s clear that surviving today’s market transitions depends on data, processes and automation.
About the Author Sudhir Kulkarni is president of the digital business group at Persistent Systems. Join Sudhir at Dreamforce to learn how software-driven businesses are using the latest cloud platforms and integration services to survive and thrive. Persistent is a partner with both Boomi and Salesforce and recognized by Forrester as a Digital Business Automation leader.