Salesforce brings a huge opportunity for businesses who want to stay ahead of their competition by way of better CRM, product delivery and running other marketing programs. All these activities, however, become very challenging if the business has limitations of budget and time. Salesforce has proven its mark on an international stage by being successfully able to handle all these challenges with ease owing to its non-intrusive and scalable platform. Thus, to completely leverage various uses of Salesforce, the businesses have to integrate the same to the customer-facing business processes. Thus, the question of integrating Salesforce with third-party systems like ERP, databases, etc. has become very challenging for various businesses.
Process of Integration
- Preparation and Planning: This is the most important phase in which you have to decide the goals of the integration. It is important for you to know the answers of the questions like the kind of data that needs an extraction, what data needs to be backed up, is it important to have the data of Salesforce to be backed-up, etc. In case if you consider manual coding also you will need to consider both the time and effort which are needed to learn the APIs. Latter gives connectivity to both the source and target, to write the logic of transformation, etc. Thus, your goals should be very clear and the success of the integration will depend on the clarity of your goals as a lack of clear strategic vision is one of the primary goals.
- Connection Maintenance at the Data Source: To start reading the source data, you will have to develop connections with the source database. Thus, you will need to have got access to data tables, data structures, and data entries. This actually marks the starting point of data integration. In case if you make use of visual tools like Apatar, then you can do it comfortably without having to write a single word of code. A possible gap could be that the integration of the data is not detailed and it also lacks a lot of data sources which are used to make decisions. Otherwise, the application is ready to operate the data.
- Staging Usage of Database: Although this step is optional but can definitely be considered especially if you need to apply intricate data cleansing or the enrichment rules as your data travels from the source to the target. E.g., you may want to bring together data from more than one source like news from RSS feed, fetch information from the GoldMine CRM, verify emails, names, combine all this into the Salesforce.com account. E.g. if you use MySQL for hosting stage data you will have to connect MySQL database while using the MySQL connector. This can be done by making use of the drag-and-drop the connector to the work panel of Apatar, then entering the details of database authentication and providing paths to MySQL. A possible mistake could be improper validation or duplication of data.
- Mapping the Source with Destination: It is a known fact that most developers spend the majority of their time on building bridges between different applications. It is possible for even not so tech-savvy users to be able to integrate data between systems, databases and other kinds of applications. Apatar is one such visual tool which lets its users to create the DataMaps and link the data between its source and sink. This helps to schedule both one-time and repeating data transformations. All these can also be saved for re-use in the future.
- Issue of Salesforce.com IDs: There are some tables in Salesforce.com which are related by way of some IDs, e.g. Account table, Contact table, etc. The IDs are automatically generated. Problems arise when the data integration specialist actually has to fill both the tables at one time. This can be worked around by using Salesforce.com connectors, e.g. configuring one connector for the Account table and another for the Contact table in Salesforce.com. Then one has to map all the so-called nodes together. This will cause the Salesforce.com IDs wot be generated in the connector which is configured for the Account table where the names of the customer company are stored.