While all roads might lead to Rome, not all roads will take you to your destination in an equally fast and smooth way. It is a little bit the same with data integration. Many tools will enable you to integrate your Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics, but the process will be more or less chaotic depending on the approach you choose. And what is the best solution, one may ask? In reality, companies have different needs, requirements and constraints, and you cannot say that “one solution fits all”. What is important for you when you need to choose a data integration solution, is to understand the pros and cons of each of the options you have.
Let's take a look at different scenarios.
Choosing a data integration solution: general considerations
Before getting into further and evaluating solutions in details, you need to make sure that:
- The solution is proven, stable and reliable. Check how long the solution has been in the market and how many customers are using it. Read customer stories and ask to talk with reference customers. Are these customers happy? Is their solution running as fast, smoothly and seamlessly as they expected? Does it ensure the safety of their data?
- The solution will be easy and quick to build. Make sure you understand how much of the solution can cover your needs and requirements “out of the box” and how much time, efforts and resources (money) you will need to spend to get it up and running.
- The solution is easy to understand on a technical level, and intuitive and simple to use for your business users.
Scenario #1: Build your own integration
Historically, there have been different ways to build data integration, and most of them have worked fine. However, they might have been very expensive to develop and to maintain. If you come from the Microsoft world, you will know about BizTalk as the preferred technology to integrate data between systems. The problem is, that it is so flexible, that configuration is typically long and difficult and maintenance will require an expert that could be hard and pricey to get. The problem with generic low level technologies is, that it simply requires too much effort to get it to work - and to keep it running.
If you have more basic needs, maybe you have tried a custom build export-import interface where you extract data from one table in one system, then you store it somewhere, until you have time load it into the other system. You have to have good IT skills when something goes wrong in a transfer and it is not always so easy to bring the two systems back in sync again. And then you have a real issue.
On more process-oriented data flows like a transfer of quotes to orders or Sales header and sales lines with related products just to do the right sequencing and connecting data the right way can be a significant and complex task.
Scenario #2: Use data integration platform
If you invest in an integration platform, you will remove most of the worries mentioned above and benefit from years of best practices integrating Salesforce with ERP. Today, most data integration platforms are fast, user friendly, robust. And, frankly, if you ask anyone who has ever tried to maintain a custom-built interface, they will tell you that they wish they had a more thought-through way of dealing with data integration between systems.
Scenario #3: Pre-built solutions
Many companies wishing to integrate two (or more) systems have common ways of working and therefore similar requirements. To meet these type of requirements, integration tools can include a number of pre-configured integration points. With RapidiOnline for example, you get a robust solution that works out of the box. Like BizTalk and other big systems, RapidiOnline is an open platform that can accommodate most integration requirements and even support the majority of other it-systems. But the best thing about RapidiOnline is probably that it provides best practice standard data integrations templates between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, which means that you get all the most common integrations between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics out-of-the-box standard in the solution. You can read more about what these standard transfers are here. Any additional customizable integrations can be done with an implementation effort of typically 4-8 man days depending of scope and need for additional transfers or customizations.
Read also: ERP-CRM: 9 most common integration points
Want to learn more? Download our data integration handbook!