How is Box Net integrated into Salesforce
Nowadays we have got used to the fact that our companies have many specialized systems. We use dedicated software that supports processes in sales, customer service, marketing, production management, warehouse management, recruiting, human resource management and many others. Most of the business processes mentioned are completely different from each other, so they are usually operated by people with different knowledge and skills (e.g. both an accountant and a high-voltage electrician work with large numbers, and yet it is not the same). These differences also apply to software that supports company processes, as they usually differ drastically in the functionalities provided. Of course, the diversity described is to be expected, but the greatest benefit is achieved when the systems we use are properly integrated, i.e. can communicate and cooperate efficiently with one another (e.g. a customer portal that enables self-management of the products purchased; a marketing system that Sending email correspondence to the group defined in our CRM system; sending information about invoices from the CRM system to the accounting system).
The following article is intended to give an impression of the integration options of the Salesforce platform with other systems in the company. Salesforce CRM is very often used to handle the most important processes in the company (sales, customer support, marketing), so that it usually also serves as the central system in the company.
What is integration
Imagine that we bought a new game console. All we have to do now is connect the device via an HDMI cable (interface) to connect directly to the television (P2P) and turn on the power. It turns out that the power adapter has a UK plug that does not fit into EU sockets (Interface incompatibility), but luckily we have an adapter (Middleware). Finally, the console must be connected to a WiFi network (router - Middleware) and we can start downloading 100GB of the game. The integration of four systems (game console, TV, power supply and computer network) through different interfaces has just been described in a very strange way. The devices provide clear resources and functions and also expect a certain behavior from the integration, e.g. B. that a device connected to the power supply receives 230 V power and not data in JSON format.
In general, the integration of information systems is the process of connecting systems so that they can use each other's resources and functions. Systems can be integrated with one another in a variety of ways via interfaces (API), whereby the purpose and scope of the integration as well as the limits of the integrated systems must be observed. Therefore, a very important activity that should be carried out before starting the integration is a business and technical analysis. Thanks to her, we will be able to better understand the expectations and limits of integration, which will protect us from ongoing processes, endless data corrections and skyrocketing costs.
If we look at integration from the point of view of its application, we can distinguish 3 basic types:
● Data integration - Occurs when we need to synchronize information between the systems used in the company. The greatest challenge with this type of integration is ensuring that the various systems contain compatible data (data reconciliation). Example: A marketing automation system pulls customer data from a CRM to run a marketing campaign.
● Process integration - is the ability to use the functionality of a system by others. Example: An online payment process is usually delegated, as we are usually only interested in the status of the transaction.
● Virtualization - Occurs when one system is able to influence data in another system without the data having to be replicated in the first system. This means, for example, that in a multi-application environment it is possible to enable most users to work on other systems via a main system (e.g. CRM) without them knowing that they exist.
In terms of the technical architecture, the integration can be divided into:
● Point to Point (P2P) - The integration between systems can be achieved through the direct connection of systems. This type of integration is usually quite easy to implement (and therefore also quite cheap). Unfortunately, they are often difficult to scale and the possibility of direct access to the system makes them more vulnerable to attacks. In addition, the changeability of the transferred data structures and the difficulty of maintenance increases significantly with the number of connected systems. Suppose we notice differences in the synchronized data between two P2P-connected systems - in this case troubleshooting should be quite simple, unfortunately the situation is completely different with seven systems. A poorly used P2P approach can lead to integration spaghetti.
Middleware - is the introduction of an additional tool between the integrated systems, for example when we need additional mechanisms that are not provided by the combined systems. Such tools usually make it very easy to add new systems and offer the possibility of transforming and redirecting data without the need for direct changes in the integrated systems. This type of integration solves most of the problems that arise with P2P integrations, but this approach is usually associated with increased costs.
Once we know the scope of the integration, the next step should be to understand the capabilities and limitations of the integrated systems:
● Which interfaces (APIs) do we have available?
● What is the maximum amount of data that can be processed?
● how many inquiries can be processed?
● What is the maximum time a request can take?
● how long is the average request time?
● available authentication and authorization methods?
and compare them to your integration expectations:
● how much and how often do we want to send inquiries?
● how much data and how often do we want to transfer?
● what level of security do we have to offer?
What is Salesforce
Salesforce.com has been a leader in CRM for many years. The company has been making its software available as a cloud service since 1999. Salesforce CRM is a fully cloud-embedded product, so once deployed, we no longer have to worry about the issues and costs associated with maintaining the physical server infrastructure, which is usually a huge plus. This approach also forces Salesforce to have very strong integration capabilities. The most popular Salesforce solutions are:
● Sales Cloud - a system that supports sales processes
● Service Cloud - a system for organizing customer support processes (e.g. call centers).
● Marketing Cloud - a platform for automating marketing campaigns.
● Commerce Cloud - an e-commerce platform
● Tableau - one of the most popular platforms for data analysis
● Mulesoft - a very popular integration platform (middleware) with enormous integration possibilities.
I recommend reading my previous article, "How Can Salesforce Help Your Business Perform?" in which I described this platform in more detail. Salesforce is a company with many of its own products and services. In addition, there are many solutions that are built directly on the platform and are available from the App Exchange Store. Of course, as expected, all Salesforce products can be integrated very well with one another. As I mentioned earlier, they are fully embedded in the cloud, which forces the platform to have very strong integration capabilities. For this purpose, among other things, Salesforce took over Mulesoft in 2020 to make integration with other systems even easier. Mulesoft is an integration platform with hundreds of ready-made, reusable "connectors" with which you can very quickly integrate systems such as Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, Workday, Box, AWS, Azure and many others. Additionally, one very positive aspect of Salesforce is that most, and certainly all, of the most popular integration tools support integration with this platform.
What APIs does Salesforce offer?
Most of the time, the more APIs a system offers, the more integration options you have. Imagine, for example, a 30-year-old "legacy system" that only offers the option of creating and consuming files in CSV format for integration purposes. As you can imagine, integrating this type of system will be quite difficult, and doing it in near real time will be extremely impossible. So we're going to take a look at the APIs Salesforce offers:
● REST API / SOAP API - a very simple synchronous interface based on the REST or SOAP protocol for manipulating the data stored in the Salesforce platform. Salesforce automatically creates an API for each object (table) to search, create, change and delete records (CRUD - create, read, update, delete). This type of API is optimized for processing small amounts of data quickly. It is most often used when we expect real-time results, e.g. B. in the creation of UI and integration with mobile applications,
● Apex REST API / Apex SOAP API - Salesforce allows you to build your own custom REST and SOAP based APIs using Apex code,
● Bulk API - an asynchronous API that can handle millions of CRUD operations. Often used for data migration and replication,
● Streaming API - a Bayeux-based interface to retrieve a real-time stream from Salesforce describing the data changes made in Salesforce. A very fast data replication process can be implemented with this API. In addition, this has been one of my favorite features lately because it enables the implementation of an Event-Driven Architecture (EDA) to reduce dependencies between systems and to increase system performance and speed through more scalable processes and better load balancing options,
● Metadata API / Tooling API - All the configuration and code are stored in Salesforce as metadata, the metadata and tooling APIs are used to change them. APIs can also be used for CD / CI processes and synchronization of metadata with other systems.
As you can see, Salesforce has very strong integration capabilities. For more information, see the Salesforce documentation.
In addition, through the use of low-level APIs and platform abstractions, Salesforce has introduced some very interesting and unique solutions:
● Salesforce Hyperforce - End of 2020. Salesforce made it possible to transfer parts of the platform into the infrastructure of public clouds such as AWS and Azure. In this way, you can build scalable solutions that can be integrated even better into the infrastructure of several companies (currently only available as a pilot version in India).
● Salesforce Private Connect - With this you can very easily create a private and secure connection to the services embedded on the AWS platform (currently only available in the AWS regions us-east-1 and us-west-2).
● Heroku Connect- enables easily configurable, two-way data synchronization between Salesforce and a database hosted on the Heroku platform. This type of solution is used when you need highly scalable services for hundreds of thousands or millions of users. The Heroku platform is one of the Salesforce platforms on which you can really do a lot, e.g. Gen25 has created a Social25 extension with Heroku, with which you can communicate via WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger and more, directly from Salesforce.
● Salesforce File Connect - offers the option of accessing files stored on external systems directly in Salesforce. Often used to integrate with GDrive, Sharepoint, Box, Quip, DropBox and other similar systems. This is great when our organization has a lot of documents to store.
● Salesforce Connect - This is a functionality with which you can represent data from external sources in Salesforce without having to replicate the data. This is a very powerful tool that is able to display and change data from another system via the OData interface. The users are not even aware that the data is not in the system as it is being viewed through the Salesforce UI. In addition, the integration is made possible by the configuration of.
● CTIComputer Telephony Integration) - enables phone calls directly from Salesforce via a web browser, which is of course an essential part of any call center.
● IoT (Internet of Things) - a platform for collecting and analyzing data sent by various devices (smartphones, sensors, detectors) and for reacting to a specific event. The platform makes it possible, among other things, to create a system that monitors the status of the plant irrigation or the status of the machines in the factory.
Most of the functions described above provide us with tools that enable great integration opportunities and significantly reduce the implementation time for the integration (e.g. integration with GDrive comes in a dozen or more clicks).
Examples of Salesforce integrations:
I've already described the integration capabilities of Salesforce, so let's look at some sample integrations that are common in different organizations.
Integrations that facilitate communication in companies:
● Gmail - The integration gives you the option of creating Salesforce Records (Lead, Account, Contact) directly from Gmail. You can also use it to synchronize contact information and calendar.
● Microsoft Outlook - like the Gmail integration, it enables us to synchronize calendars and create Salesforce data from Outlook.
● Slack - With customizable notifications sent automatically by Salesforce and the ability to search for Salesforce data directly from Messenger, it greatly improves team communication.
● Quip - a tool that allows teams to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations in real time.
● Jira - is a popular platform for project management and progress tracking.
Integrations to help you communicate with your customers:
● LinkedIn - allows you to see information from this portal (recent activities, relationships, messages) directly in the CRM.
● zoom - Enables the creation and management of Zoom meetings, automatically synchronizes information about Zoom webinar participants.
● Social25 - enables you to communicate with your customers via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter and more, directly from the Salesforce platform.
● DocuSign - offers the possibility of digitally signing documents.
Integrations to support marketing automation:
● Marketing Cloud- a powerful tool for B2C marketing automation.
● Pardot - a tool to automate B2B marketing.
● MailChimp - allows you to send emails to contacts from your CRM.
● Marketo - Another tool for B2B marketing automation.
Other interesting tools:
● Mulesoft (Anypoint Platform) - enables integration with multiple systems via API.
● Zapier - an integration platform that offers over 3000 different integrations for Salesforce with over 350 different systems (including PayPal, WordPress, monday.com, Twilio).
● Conga Grid - Simplifies data management by presenting data in a calculation-like manner.
● Avenir - a tool with which you can create documents.
● Conga Composer- Another tool that enables document creation.
Salesforce has great integration options that allow us to add new functions to the system very quickly. Well-designed and implemented integrations save time and increase company efficiency and productivity. Integrations that make it possible to gather knowledge about contractors allow access to this information from one place, which significantly improves the sales and support processes. Any integration that reduces the time lost by manual operations is worth considering (e.g., correcting or deduplicating data, gathering information, and generating reports from multiple systems).As 2020 has shown, the potential for rapid implementation of new integrations offers companies the opportunity to adapt quickly and even gain an advantage in a changing market.
We encourage you to fill out the form below and familiarize yourself with our study of CRM implementation. What is worth thinking about? ".
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