Why Salesforce Integration? What are the Benefits?
We live in a world where even the smallest of organizations have multiple systems in their IT Footprint / Technology stack. To keep Information consistent and also to get a 360-degree view of their business across these systems we need integrations. Salesforce would be one of the first systems to gather customer information - This information needs to be passed to downstream backend systems for organizations to work effectively.
Within Salesforce, we need tools to perform effective work and improve customer experience - like messaging (SMS Magic) or signing documents (Adobe sign/DocuSign) - These productivity-increasing tools are also part of Salesforce Integrations.
What Options are available to automate Salesforce Integrations?
There are three different approaches that one might consider - I have listed them below and also put together considerations that need to be kept in mind while we procure/develop, set up and support the integrations.
Don't forget to check out: Integration Basics in Salesforce - Here is All You Need to Know
1. Point-to-Point Custom API Integration:
In this approach, we can develop code customized to our specific needs using APIs from Salesforce and other platforms. While this will give us a solution tailored to our needs- we need to consider the availability of in-house resources to develop and more importantly support the integration. In my experience, the happy path works well in the initial stages of this approach but it is difficult to resolve issues when new processes or new data is introduced. As scalability is a challenge, this approach should be adopted if we have very few systems to be integrated - For a larger technology stack - this would be difficult and time-consuming to build and support.
2. Appexchange and other Pre-built Integrations:
This includes Apps like DocuSign, and RingCentral which we can download from Appexchange - as these are proven products- these are easy to manage from the setup and support perspective.
Some other products come with pre-built integrations with Salesforce - typically these are easy to set up and manage like Marketing application Hubspot, Accounting software Quickbooks or Social Media like Linkedin
For Pre-built integrations, it is advisable to check out similar products for feature fitment for our use and compare costs.
3. Middleware-Based Integration:
In this approach, we have a 3rd party Integration Platform that sits between Salesforce and the other platforms that need to be integrated like Mulesoft, Dell Boomi, Jitterbit, Celigo etc. As these middlewares are focused purely on integration - they typically have pre-built “connectors” to common platforms like Salesforce and Oracle and make integrating these systems simple in a “drag and drop” low code approach. Their out-of-the-box features take care of transactionality, failures and exceptions in a graceful way making it much easier for support teams to identify and resolve issues. However, these tools are not cheap and cost considerations need to be taken into account.
Is Salesforce Integration Secure?
For Salesforce Integrations there are different methods used to access data (like Salesforce platform events, Salesforce SOAP API, REST API, Metadata API, Bulk API, Streaming API, Apex web service and more)- In all cases, the Salesforce platform always requires the remote system trying to access to authenticate. The remote system can use OAuth or user login and password authentication. Salesforce uses the logged-in user’s access rights (like profile settings, sharing rules, permission sets) to provide only authorized data.
If our organization requires us to adhere to additional security compliances, Salesforce implementations work well with on-premise commercial Encryption gateways (CipherCloud, IBM DataPower) and cloud-based Salesforce Shield platform encryption options.
Check out an amazing Salesforce video tutorial here: Salesforce Integration Tutorial | Integrate Salesforce with Apps
Mulesoft was always a top player in the Middleware market for the past several years since the acquisition of Mulesoft by Salesforce it should soon be the most popular choice when we look for a Middleware for Salesforce Integrations.
Some advantages we can look forward to would be more pre-built out-of-box connectors to Salesforce, seamless experience using Salesforce flows for integrations and easier scalability with changes in future releases.
In today's Enterprise portfolio we have to go with Integrations to be productive. I hope this read gave you an idea of some of the considerations, especially on Salesforce Integrations.