Data Integration on Salesforce: Brief Introduction

Information has always been a great valuable resource and for most companies it’s essential in their day-to-day labor. In this scenario, Data Integration on Salesforce becomes a great ally. It is a Customer Relationship Management cloud solution that has been thought to let companies have a better understanding of their business taking into account their clients, products, sales, etc.  There are also cloud-based solutions like Network Provisioning Software that enable large business organizations to easily manage their data and optimize their efficiency.

Another great feature that Salesforce offers is the ability to install or develop your own packages to provide enhancements, new capabilities and tools to the platform. Some of the most relevant packages are Salesforce CPQ and Salesforce Billing, which supply Advanced Quoting along with Product configuration and a complete billing solution respectively.

But that’s not everything. As I mentioned before, information is a key resource for businesses, and sometimes Salesforce is not alone and needs to work side by side with other software products. Of course, Salesforce is very aware of integration needs and provides different ways of interactions from outside the system. I’ve had a recent experience with integrations so you may guess what this post is going to be about.

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What is Data Integration

Data integration is what allows Salesforce to share and receive its data and functionalities with other applications. A more technical definition would be the construction of pipelines that send and receive requests from several applications with the purpose of keeping Salesforce data synchronized and consistent with the rest of the Company ecosystem.

This implies flexibility in our solution, meaning that we can model or expose data in Salesforce that is not supported by any of its standard functionalities.

One thing to bear in mind is that Data Integration is not the same as Data Migration. The first one is aimed to provide continuous data flows whilst the second one happens from time to time and involves big loads of data. Their complexity is similar because, at the end of the day, the data being pushed should have the same shape.

Useful tools for Data Integration

When it comes to working with data integration there are several tools available out there. In this section I’ll tell you about some Salesforce resources available to us and some of the main tools known in this area.

First of all, let’s focus on Salesforce: it offers a comprehensive list of REST and SOAP APIs which allows other applications work with its data and metadata via HTTP requests. The most common API is called REST API and it’s probably the most useful too. Operations like “read”, “create”, “update” or “delete” are included in this service.

Another relevant service offered is the Bulk API. Currently in its 2.0 version it allows us to build asynchronous jobs to create, delete or query large datasets. This API has more limitations than the previous one, but it’s aimed to more specific tasks.

Moving to specific Data Integration tools we can found several options, but some of them were built specifically to support integrations between large systems like Salesforce and world-class solutions. Jitterbit, Boomi and Mulesoft are great examples and saying that one is better than the other wouldn’t be right. The choice of one of these apps doesn’t have to be something random and will probably involve several inputs from the client we are working for.

These apps provide lots of features that make our work easier when it comes to building the integrations. But that’s not it, nowadays Cloud Software Engineering is becoming very popular, and it has a great potential when creating architectures that support integrations. Great examples of these solutions are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft. Again, these are huge platforms and offer several options, so the choice doesn’t have to be arbitrary and needs to be discussed based on the requirements scoped by the integrations team.

Further posts will thoroughly explore these tools for whom may be interested in more technical details.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

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