Salesforce has become a key element for many organizations in their digital transformation
Salesforce is one of the absolute most popular CRM systems. Salesforce started as an early pioneer of cloud computing andd Software as a Service (SaaS) and their CRM products are widely used to manage and facilitate sales, support services and other customer interactions. To complement their Salesforce CRM system, companies usually use ERP solutions and other back-end databases to collect valuable data. However, all these systems can quickly turn into data silos without an effective strategy for Salesforce integration.
In order for companies to get the most out of their Salesforce.com and truly add value to their businesses, integration is a must.
We can even go as far as saying that data integration is the key to a successful digital transformation. In a time where most organization have started their digitalization journey, it is no secret that data silos are slowing down digital transformation efforts. According to IBM, “a modern data integration strategy is in fact vital for digital transformation”.
System integration: define your ambition level
The different systems that your company uses not only serve different purposes, they also work very differently. They might be written in different programming languages (Java, .NET, PHP), different data storage methods, business logic, visual presentation and security protocols.
In order to integrate Salesforce.com with your ERP system, or example Microsoft Dynamics, you need to establish and manage communication between Salesforce CRM and your other system, using APIs to interpret messages that the systems exchange. It all seems very simple – there are however different levels of integration, and you need to decide what your ambition is and “how far” you want to take the integration.
“Simple” data integration ensures that the integrated systems exchange information on demand and instantly. It helps achieve data consistency and increases team efficiency. Data integration solutions typically use APIs to deliver data from one system to another.
Process integration connects apps and systems at the workflow level to implement business processes end to end. It typically requires a complex solution that can orchestrate interactions among systems, report on and manage process state.
You can even take it a step further and greatly enhance user experience by merging authentication mechanisms or by combining the user interfaces of the systems you integrate, giving a single point of entry into multiple applications.
Salesforce integrators: what are your options
Companies use different methods to integrate Salesforce.com with their other systems. Here’s an overview of the most common Salesforce.com integrators.
- Salesforce Connect (Lightning Connect) is a framework that enables to view, search and modify data stored outside of Salesforce CRM, for example, in an ERP system or in a collaboration system. For example, perhaps you have data stored on premises in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Instead of copying the data into your org, you can use external objects to access the data in real time via web service callouts. Read more about Salesforce Connect here.
Salesforce Connect work very well when you need to integrate several Salesforce instances. It can also integrate Salesforce with ERP systems or Marketing Automation systems and provides both triggered and real-time integration. It can handle a fairly large amount of data and is easy to configure and does not require coding on the Salesforce side. However, Salesforce Connect is solely focused on the Salesforce side of the integration. External objects are read-only, and it requires configuration to make them editable. It is a somewhat pricey solution, with subscription starting at $4,000 per month.
- Salesforce App Cloud/lightning platform is a collection of development tools that allow developers to quickly create applications that will run on the Salesforce platform. It allows you to create custom integration apps and connect external data sources to them. You can read more about it here.
The great thing about it is that it doesn’t require in-depth IT expertise and can easily be performed by an in-house IT team. It is however a solution that requires some programming experience if you need to develop more complex integration solutions, like process integration. In order to be useful, solutions built on App Cloud should be complemented with middleware apps provided by Salesforce partners on AppExchange (see below).
- Ready-made integration apps on Salesforce AppExchange
On Salesforce AppExchange, you can find more a wealth of Salesforce integration solutions provided by Salesforce partners. It can be difficult to know which solution is better than the other and it can be useful to look at the ratings entered by users to select the right Salesforce integrator. One of the big benefits of selecting a solution from Salesforce ApppExchange is that they have been through a thorough security review so you can make sure that your company data is protected. Learn more about data integration solutions on Appexchange here.
A ready-made AppExchange solution can be the right choice for Salesforce-to-one (for example Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics ERP) integration projects. It can help you get started faster.
- Custom integration solutions
You can use Salesforce partners to develop a custom integration for your business. They will design to meet your needs and do all necessary tweaks in your Salesforce CRM and third-party systems to connect them at all levels.
It might be the best option for your organization if you have multiple, highly customized systems. Such solution will however require that you hire top quality Salesforce consulting services, which will be pricey. Updates and system upgrades might also be a costly and perhaps painful process.
RapidiOnline – your Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics integrator
RapidiOnline is a data integration solution specialized in integrating Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics ERP (AX, NAV, GP, 365 Business Central and 365 for Finance & Operations). It is a 5-star rated AppExchange solution, that provides ready-made data integration templates that help you get started with your integration project in a safe a secure way. RapidiOnline is a solution that is:
- Proven: RapidiOnline is has obtained a 5-star rating on Salesforce AppExchange and has helped customers across industries for decades. You can read case stories here: https://www.rapidionline.com/resources
- Stable and reliable: RapidiOnlinne is stable, flexible and synchronizes fast and seamlessly. With Rapidionline there is no risk for your data to get stuck somewhere in-between systems. We keep an eye on your integration, monitoring that data is transferred as scheduled, fast and error-free.
- Quick to implement: You can save a lot of time by choosing pre-configured solutions such as our RapidiOnline to integrate Salesforce with Microsoft Dynamics. Standard business processes are already tied to our pre-configured integration solutions. It might not be 100% suited to your exact needs but it allows you to jump start your project without having to start from scratch.
- Created based on deep product technical understanding: At Rapidi, we have a deep technical understanding of both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics solutions. Having a thorough understanding of Microsoft Dynamics ERP is necessary in order to understand the details of the ERP database and the issues that could occur. This understanding is what makes a difference in how integrations are built. For example, this is what has enabled RapidiOnline to develop the Mirror feature, which is very unique to the RapidiOnline technology. The Mirror technology allows us to integrate a large amount of data in an easy, seamless and effective way without having to add extra programming into Microsoft Dynamics. It is a powerful feature when integrating with Microsoft Dynamics AX for example, as updates in Microsoft Dynamics AX are usually hard to detect without extra programming.
- Good business and process understanding: The technical structure, functionality, speed, flexibility of the solution are only one side of your project. At Rapidi, we have the necessary domain knowledge to understand the how and the why in order to guide you to the solution you need. We have specialized in Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics integration – this is what we do and we are not afraid of calling ourselves experts.
Connecting Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics is an essential step in the growth journey for many businesses. If you’d like to know more about how it can help your business, check out our free resources or get in touch with us.