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Salesforce – ERP integration: evaluate your options carefully

By Henning Lund - March 21, 2018

Today, integrating salesforce.com with your ERP solution is no “mission impossible” and you have actually several ways to approach it. The real question is which way you should go and which solution will suit your needs best.

Should you build your own integration or rely on a proven data integration platform? Can you leverage best practices and learnings from others? Can standard integration solutions support your needs, even though your organization is special and you have made some customizations to your salesforce and/or your ERP solution? Here’s a quick guide that will help you evaluate your options and make the best decisions.

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Salesforce – ERP integration: choose the right solution

  1. Building your own Salesforce-ERP integration
    Integrating with Salesforce seems very straightforward, so building a custom integration is probably a very tempting alternative to the ready-to-use integration platforms. Be aware, though, that custom-made interfaces tend to have a higher initial cost compared to data integration platforms, as you have to build the integration “from scratch”. They may have a lower long-term maintenance cost; but it is only partially true because, very often, the actual maintenance costs cannot be precisely defined at an early stage of your project as you do not have an overview of the changes you will need to perform in the future. Another significant issue of, custom-developed transfers is that they rarely include additional functionality within scheduling, error handling, monitoring etc.

  2. Data integration platforms
    If you decide to invest in an integration platform instead, you will benefit from years of best practices integrating Salesforce with ERP. Today, most data integration platforms are fast, user friendly, and 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.
  3. Pre-configured integration templates
    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. For example, the RapidiOnline integration for Salesforce comes with out-of-the-box, preconfigured end points for Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV and GP. They are the best way for you if it is important for you to have a fast and easy integration set up. These preconfigured templates make mapping smooth and easy, they ease the scheduling and sequence of your data transfers and let you handle errors in the most efficient way.
    And, if you choose the RapidiOnline pre-configured templates, you will also have an integration that automatically follows the updates and upgrades of the integrated systems, which is a huge advantage moving forward.

Data integration platforms have evolved considerably in the past few years and most of the time. Solutions like RapidiOnline have been developed to make data integration robust, fast, simple and affordable. In fact, they might be the most reasonable approach to systems integration.

Read also: salesforce.com serves you better with ERP insight

Which data do you want to transfer?

Often, the trickiest part about data integration projects is to decide what you should integrate! In my experience, these are the most common transfers between Salesforce and ERP solutions (and generally between a CRM and an ERP system). You can read details about why these are often chosen here.

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There are many other possible integrations, especially for service and case management (Service Cloud), however these are very much similar to those mentioned above and they are following the same logic.

There are many different aspects of data integration and I think that making something that in reality is quite complex really simple for the users to set up and maintain is the big driver for migrating rigid custom integration on to affordable, robust, flexible and ready to use data integration platforms like RapidiOnline.

On a side note, with RapidiOnline you get most of the above mentioned integrations as out-of-the-box standard, customizable integrations with an implementation effort of typically 4-8 man days depending of scope and need for additional transfers or customizations. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more.

Read also: To integrate or not to integrate? The ERP-CRM dilemma


Download our salesforce.com - ERP integration ebook:

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About the author

Henning Lund

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With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.

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