Salesforce is a popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product that was one of the first to see the power in setting up as a Software as a Service (SaaS). It gives you excellent tools to build sales pipelines, create support services and track interactions with customers. However, your other company data can be cut off from the customer information unless you take the time to initiate Salesforce integration to mesh the disparate systems together.
Here are some things to consider when you integrate Salesforce with external systems.
Integration with Current Applications
In today's IT landscape, many companies have both cloud-based and on-premises applications.
When planning to integrate Salesforce with existing systems, especially on a large scale, you must determine the best “pattern approach.” This method was developed by Salesforce to provide a matrix for you to decide what options are best for your individual situation and quickly became a set of Salesforce service cloud integration best practices.
The patterns were refined by Salesforce partners and developers after many successful implementations. Each pattern has a name, context, problems, forces, solution, sketch, results, sidebars and example that you can review to see how closely it matches your challenges.
Here is an example. One pattern is called Remote Process Invocation - Request and Reply.
Salesforce starts a process on one of your internal programs, waits for the process to complete and then determines the state after evaluating the response it receives from your application. For instance, you might have a separate system that creates and processes orders.
While Salesforce is great at nurturing new customers, what happens when a new client places an order?
In this case, Salesforce needs to contact your ordering program to create a new order.
The ordering app tells Salesforce the order status and number asynchronously, and Salesforce updates those details internally. The order number is the foreign key for any further changes or updates to the order management software.
This pattern must also consider error handling and recovery as well as security. In addition, the call and response must be fast so users and clients don't have to wait around for the software to update. For that reason, the Salesforce integration best practices for this pattern is to only use it for small volume scenarios.
Like all major web services, Salesforce has a robust API for Salesforce integration with third-party application systems. Transactions through the Force.com API have surpassed Salesforce page views and now make up the largest percentage of the more than five billion service transactions on the site every quarter. But depending on your Salesforce integration project, there are different paths you can take through the Force.com Connect system. For example, Singapore Airlines used the AppExchange marketplace for e-marketing; Infoworld used a Native Connector for contact management and Symbol Technologies used it for forecasting and order management; Karl Strauss Breweries tapped the Partner ecosystem for order management solutions while Magma used it for account and customer master programs; ADP invested in custom development for order management, and Heald College did the same for student recruitment.
As you can see, there are a number of factors to consider when planning Salesforce integration with other applications, as well as various paths to take to solve your particular challenges. Salesforce cloud computing is a powerful way to maintain the advantages of reliability and consistency of your current solutions, and then tapping the power of Salesforce cloud integration for a truly effective combination of cutting-edge applications.
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