Nearly every business uses a system to store customer data, often in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Salesforce is one of the most common CRM systems that enterprise organizations use — holding anywhere from hundreds to millions of records per business. CRM data is most valuable when it’s fueling other enterprise systems and creating a more connected customer or employee experience.
So what is Salesforce integration? Salesforce integration is the process of connecting Salesforce instances to each other or to other enterprise systems.
Why Salesforce integration is important
In many organizations integration has been the barrier to delivering projects on time, preventing businesses from driving innovation at the speed and scale they desire. While each Salesforce Cloud is powerful on its own — whether it be Sales Cloud, Service Cloud,Commerce Cloud, or Platform — integration is necessary to drive digital transformation and meet customer demands.
The average enterprise has more than 900 systems, according to the Connectivity Benchmark Report. To get the most out of each of these systems they need to work cross functionally and must be able to share information. This is what it takes to be a modern, connected enterprise. Salesforce integration is at the center of these connected systems: Salesforce receives information and sends it out to the other necessary systems, applications, and devices.
Connectivity is the foundation of digital transformation, and Salesforce integration should serve as the starting point. This connectivity creates positive customer experiences, productive and efficient employee workflows, and provides the business with accurate insights — allowing them to grow and thrive in the digital era.
Challenges with Salesforce integration
Traditionally, integrating systems has been done on a point-to-point basis via APIs. However, this is no longer a reasonable approach as integrating hundreds of systems individually does not scale.
Another challenge of getting hundreds of enterprise systems to work cross-functionally is that some of the systems that need to be integrated are on-premise, legacy systems, and while others are cloud-based. Now, more than ever, businesses need hybrid architectures to seamlessly integrate Salesforce with other SaaS applications and legacy infrastructure.
These two challenges have paved the way for integration platform as a service (iPaaS), which allows businesses to integrate systems via the cloud. Businesses can integrate systems quickly, scale to support a large number of integrated systems, and provide a single view of all integrations within an enterprise. iPaaS is now the method many businesses choose to integrate their on-premises and cloud-based solutions with their Salesforce clouds.
Types of integration
Businesses have different needs when it comes to their Salesforce integrations. To speed up the time it takes to connect these systems, organizations typically apply integration applications based on five patterns. The pattern is the generic process for data movement and handling. Each of these patterns aim to solve specific integration problems, based on real-world use cases.
The five primary Salesforce integration patterns are: Migration, broadcast, aggregation, bidirectional sync, and correlation.
Data migration is the process of moving a dataset from one system to another at a point in time. This pattern is optimal for data sets or functions that will be shared across multiple teams, as developers can create automated integration services. Developers can set configuration parameters to pass into an API call so that the migration application can dynamically migrate scoped data in or out of Salesforce, either on command or in the form of an API.
Migration integration pattern use cases include: Migrating data from a legacy system to Salesforce, from one Salesforce organization to another, backing up a master data set, consolidating CRM systems, populating Salesforce product data from SAP.
A broadcast integration pattern is the act of moving data from one system to many systems in real time, near real time, or on a recurring cadence. This pattern executes logic only for items that have been recently modified and is optimized for processing records quickly. It allows for the immediate transfer of customer data between systems, whether from two instances of Salesforce or between Salesforce and other systems.
Broadcast pattern use cases include: Auto-creating a sales order in SAP when an opportunity is marked as CLOSED WON in Salesforce, real-time data needs to be synchronized from Siebel to Salesforce, insert/update to a Salesforce record must be reflected in other adjacent enterprise applications.
Aggregation is the process of extracting data from multiple systems into one application or report in real time. An aggregation pattern allows developers to easily query multiple systems on demand and merge data sets to use data however and whenever needed.
Aggregation pattern use cases include: Creating a dashboard that pulls data from multiple Salesforce instances, updating Salesforce with data from multiple back-end systems (such as ERP and issue-tracking systems), building APIs that collect and return data from multiple systems, or report across multiple systems.
Bidirectional sync is a type of integration that allows two or more systems to communicate back and forth and behave as one system. This pattern allows the systems to share data but recognizes the existence of different data sets, while maintaining a consistent real-time view of the data across systems. Salesforce can be both the primary system of records or a secondary system where all data are synchronized to.
Bidirectional sync pattern use cases include: Optimize organizational processes, align data representations to reality in both systems, integration of multiple systems that contribute to operational efficiencies, and a streamlined quote-to-cash flow.
Correlation is similar to bidirectional sync, however, rather than replicating the same data in
two locations, correlation associates disparate data without copying it. The correlation pattern will agnostically synchronize objects only if they are found in both systems. Correlation is useful for cases in which two groups or systems only want to share data, but only if they both have records.
Correlation use cases include: Shared account data to be synchronized across applications including Salesforce instances (such as Sales and Marketing Cloud), synchronization across an organization or between a company and a partner, synchronization of customer data entered by two different teams or even team members of the same department.
MuleSoft for Salesforce integration
With MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform, organizations can easily synchronize data and increase the value of their applications built on the Salesforce Platform. Anypoint Platform allows businesses to accelerate and improve the app development process, unlock siloed data for a connected customer experience, and maintain governance and security while growing across the various Salesforce Clouds.
Companies that use MuleSoft for Salesforce integration build apps and integrations 57% faster, reducing the IT delivery gap and allowing IT to focus on more innovative initiatives. Users can connect any system — no matter if it’s on-premise, in the cloud, within Salesforce or another system, using pre-built connectors and point-and-click integration options. All while keeping valuable customer data safe and secure with out-of-the-box security and governance features.
Pre-built Salesforce connector
To accelerate the time it takes for our customers to integrate their Salesforce instances, MuleSoft has created a pre-built connector for that can work across Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Salesforce Platform, and Force.com.
The Salesforce Connector helps businesses enables automation of organizational processes, which allows business teams to perform better — such as the sales team, increasing revenue, or the service team providing customers with higher quality service.
This connector features:
- Provides a powerful solution to implement top Salesforce integration patterns.
- Supports all create, read, upsert, and delete operations across Salesforce objects.
- Additionally it supports Salesforce's bulk operations that are optimized for working with large sets of data.
- Enables you to easily leverage custom fields and custom entities to solve integration needs to your custom Salesforce instance.
Integrating Salesforce with other SaaS solutions