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In the early third millennium, the world of business is deeply computerized. Any company with big-time aspirations can’t do without specialized software that helps in streamlining the internal workflow and facilitates interaction with clients. Among the plethora of customer relationship management (CRM) systems available in the digital market today, Salesforce has occupied the leading position among enterprises in different industries for over two decades.

Bringing tons of benefits to organizations, this platform poses a grave challenge in the way of exploiting its best practices to the full extent. Given the digitization scale of various aspects of a contemporary enterprise operation, this excellent software which is highly instrumental in managing all client-related processes is hardly ever used as a standalone solution in real life. As a rule, there are dozens of other IT products an organization employs in its daily routine. This is the chief reason why business owners should give serious thought to binding them all together into a single environment by means of Salesforce integration best practices. 

What Is Salesforce Integration?

Salesforce integration diagram

The term “integration” presupposes merging all data and functionalities of any two (or more) software pieces together, enabling its users to enjoy a unified experience while employing them. So the answer to the question “What is Salesforce integration?” is quite evident: it is the process of reconciling data between it and other IT products through the API, which will give the company’s personnel access to functionalities of both solutions.

Being experts in integration and customization services, we at NIX United also see other reasons to implement Salesforce integration. By marrying this CRM with other apps and platforms you will be able to switch easily between them to perform certain operations, get complete visibility of all data whatever platform you access them from, and automate a slew of marketing and sales procedures. All of these benefits are sure to promote customer satisfaction and enhance the productivity of the venture, and thus increase its revenue.

The question “What is integration in Salesforce?” has one more dimension to it since this procedure can be approached in two ways: 

  • App-driven Salesforce integration. The name speaks for itself. Here, to integrate CRM with other solutions, dedicated apps are leveraged. A bunch of such Salesforce integration tools provides a robust integration platform that will enable the interplay of data between Salesforce and other software with just a few clicks. 
  • Code-based Salesforce integration. In this case, not Salesforce integration tools but specific programming languages are employed to effect integration. Apex is one of such languages whose syntax is rather similar to Java. Among the major benefits of using Apex for Salesforce integration are its foolproof nature, the applicability of different API versions, and the built-in support for Salesforce Lightning Platform that can host and control this language.

Methods of implementing integration also differ: 

  • Batch integration. This is the easiest and most frequently applied Salesforce integration technique. To perform it, the IT team transfers the entire complex of data in one go or in some portions. However, keep in mind that this process is best suited for handling flat files that remain unchanged for a long time, whereas moving other file types may cause problems.
  • Real-time integration. Here, the transferring of data is a prolonged process that happens all the time while data is collected. During this procedure, the files aren’t just moved. They are analyzed and transformed as well, which is made possible via change data capture (CDC) technology.
  • Real-time mashups. This method relies on Visualforce—a framework created by Salesforce to build custom UIs. When you build one in it, you will be able to instantly access third-party data no matter how numerous these documents are.

The choice of the approach and method is largely conditioned by the CRM layers affected by Salesforce integration.

Aspects of Salesforce Integration

There are three components of CRM that may be integrated with other solutions:

  • UI integration. This is the most obvious one, aiming to provide users with a unified interface to access various apps. To visualize what it is, think of Facebook, where content is posted on one platform by a multitude of agents.
  • Data integration. For the successful operation of the company, it is crucial to set up a unified data bank so that authorized employees can access all information they need. Typically, this is done through leveraging certain APIs (for instance, SOAP or REST), which means no coding is required. 
  • Business logic integration. This is the most complicated level of Salesforce integration for when the above-mentioned methods don’t work. Here, various Salesforce integration tools are used to handle Inbound (Apex Web Services) and Outbound (Apex Callouts) functionalities. 

Conventionally, various departments of a company utilize custom solutions honed to deal with some specific sphere (HR, finance, IT, transportation, etc.). Each of these targeted software products relies on its own business logic, security protocols, data storage facilities, and UI. Moreover, they are often built in different languages and address unique requirements. That is why Salesforce integration is a daring endeavor, the implementation of which should be approached with utmost care. 

Successful Salesforce Integration: Essentials to Remember

Salesforce integration diagram

As a seasoned vendor with over a quarter of a century of experience behind us, NIX United mapped out a checklist that you should go through to ensure the integration procedure goes smoothly. So what are Salesforce integration best practices?

1. Make Sure It Is Worthwhile

Before embarking on the integration voyage you should come to grips with the price tag. It is not only about whether you can afford it, but more about how much sense it makes. You must prove to yourself that Salesforce integration is worth the effort and the expenditures. To do that, you should perform a cost/benefit analysis that must take into account the pain points you aim to eliminate via integration. If you see that these are vital for the efficient performance of your organization and the spending is well justified, go ahead with the undertaking.

2. Extensive Planning Is Mission-Critical

Without it, your endeavor is doomed to defeat. The integration plan should include goals (both business and technical) to be accomplished via Salesforce integration, the tech stack you will use, the team to implement it, and a timeline to observe. Charting an integration requirements template greatly helps with this. Typically, such a template contains data, endpoints, and possible bottlenecks. Moreover, the template offers a pattern relying on a conventional framework that contains pattern identification names, forces, contexts, problems, examples, etc.

3. Fathom Both Solutions

Developers should have a deep understanding of both software products that they are going to integrate to see how well they can play with each other. Smooth integration would be easy if both solutions have similar data architecture and APIs are enabled. API limits are also important for seamless integration. To review these limits, you should not only realize what information would be transferred between the solutions and opt for the integration type. You must also be aware of the available configuration options, constantly monitor authentication of the system, and build a custom API in case you need to contact third parties for additional data.

4. Know Your Procedures

You should have a clear vision of what you are going to do with the software and what result you expect to get. Such awareness is helpful for choosing Salesforce integration tools and approaches to be used, determining the performance of data delivery, and keeping the data breach-proof. The latter can be effectively achieved by leveraging IP whitelisting that will limit accessing data and introducing changes to it for authorized persons only.

5. Know Your Data

What external data should be moved to the CRM is also imperative since you must realize what you would like to do with it. Salesforce mechanisms can be utilized to augment the existing dossiers, automate the company’s workflow, benefit from using the best practices of data analytics, or increase data security. Perhaps your needs will rule out storing the data in Salesforce (in case providing additional information around Salesforce records is what you are looking for).

Whichever it is, make sure you keep the new environment open for further data integration since you get used to good things quickly and one shoulder of mutton drives down another.

6. Know Your Stakeholders

Multiple data sources are the responsibilities of a whole bunch of people who work with them on a daily basis and know their context inside out. The integration team should be ready to interact with many employees and build a strong bond of understanding between all participants of the process.

7. Utilize External IDs

External ID is a custom field that includes unique record identifiers from other apps and frameworks. Being available for Unlimited, Performance, Enterprise, and Developer versions of the CRM, this mechanism drastically enhances Salesforce integration capabilities and allows for the update of the system’s records from external sources.

8. Choose a Proper Data Model

Replicating the data structure of the source system to implement it into the new environment isn’t the best policy. Why? Because user needs for it may differ so greatly that you will end up building functionalities that will hardly be utilized. Plus, it may turn out unnecessarily complicated, so going for a simpler architecture is the most optimal option.

9. Select the Optimal Integration Schedule

In an ideal world, you would perform a bi-directional integration and call it a day. But in the real world, many factors can interfere with this perfect scheme. Your organization may have multiple systems or data from which can be available for a limited time, one of the systems doesn’t provide an API, or your financial resources are limited at the moment. In such a case, it is recommended to start small and gradually add real-time updates for files that should be immediately reflected in Salesforce.

10. Don’t Start Without Backups

Don’t imagine that everything will go smoothly end-to-end, and be ready for pitfalls and setbacks. The best preparation for any kind of problem is storing backup copies of the data from each system you are going to merge. And you can get rid of those copies (and disable old products) only once you have made sure the new environment works as expected.

11. Integration Tools Reign Supreme

If you want the high-quality and quick success of your Salesforce integration endeavor, leveraging specialized software is a must. But you should choose the tool wisely. 

Overview of Salesforce Integration Tools

Depending on the tool provider, such solutions fall within three categories:

  • Salesforce native tools. The Salesforce team made sure their product set includes two solutions designed to perform integrations—AppExchange and MuleSoft Anypoint Platform. The former is in essence a cloud marketplace to automatically find and suggest software that dovetails into Salesforce. The latter is meant to streamline the integration of software that can’t boast excellent Salesforce compatibility. 
  • App-native tools. The worldwide popularity of Salesforce is the chief reason that encouraged many app developers to build it into their product integration tools. This includes Mailchimp, Google Cloud, Dropbox, Outlook, Slack, QuickBooks, Hubspot, DocuSign, and many others. What is most appealing about such tools is their foolproof usage. As a rule, no coding or complicated IT tasks are involved—you just enter a password and make a few clicks guided by prompts.
  • Third-party tools. These come into play when neither of the previous options work. They require more effort and expertise but their range is so wide that you can easily find something to your taste and level of IT proficiency. What are the most popular third-party Salesforce integration tools?
Salesforce integration diagram

1. Actiondesk

This solution provides a no-code tool to access an organization’s data so that users could add structural logic to it and produce their own reports and views. Moreover, the Lookup function of Actiondesk enables collecting and mixing data (which is automatically updated) from multiple sources.

2. Blendo

The chief purpose of this tool is to connect databases and cloud apps. It can play well with such cloud facilities as MS SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and Amazon Redshift, from where employees can download historical data to their environment. A special boon of the tool is the ability to choose the frequency of data export from any source.

3. Boomi AtomSphere

Being released by Boomi in several editions that differ in functionality and use cases, this tool is called to provide integration between SaaS apps, cloud-based solutions, and on-premises environments. The integration of apps is performed via leveraging a visual interface. However, if you want to deploy such integrated solutions elsewhere, you will need one more product from the same vendor—Boomi Atom.

4. Commercient

In case you plan to integrate and synchronize your Salesforce CRM with an ERP system, Commercient and its SYNC app would be your number one choice. The synchronization can be implemented as often as you find necessary or be automated to proceed in real-time. All of these seemingly complicated operations are pretty simple with this tool since you don’t have to possess any coding or mapping skills or need server access.

5. Jitterbit Harmony

This tool can be instrumental in managing end-to-end integration lifecycle and offers not only cloud, on-premise, and hybrid environments functionality, but also API transformation capacity. What users like about this solution most is the no-sweat integration procedure that relies on pre-built templates and utilizes the drag-and-drop configuration technique. Moreover, thanks to Jitterbit Harmony, you can augment your apps with AI power.

6. Informatica

This is another software that utilizes AI technology (machine learning, to be precise). Such state-of-the-art foundation of the Informatica portfolio provides not only enhanced integration functionalities but also self-service access to a number of analytic options. And all of them are available for cloud, on-premises, and hybrid deployments.

7. Skyvia

With Skyvia’s Data Integration tool, users on their interface can choose from an entire range of scenarios. They can upload/download data to/from different sources, make copies of files from the cloud to be deployed at relational databases, and manage bi-directional synchronization of data where scheduling is for any user to set up at their discretion. And all this is for free!

8. Panoply

If your organization employs Big Data in its core operations, this tool is a perfect fit for you. Smart Data Warehouse by Panoply provides integration of structured and semi-structured data from various sources through an integration pipeline with no ETL reliance. Its columnar storage architecture needs no further modeling or configuration and automates a plethora of cloud-based data management tasks.

9. RapidiOnline

This is a whole set of cloud-secure tools that, besides its namesake, contains Rapidi Platform and Rapidi Replicator. To use them, you don’t have to be versed in coding, so synchronizing data between in-house and remote teams becomes a cakewalk (even if it is downtime). Plus, the products delete duplicate data entries, which makes this set a solid choice for any integration undertaking.


Salesforce is a powerful CRM that enables companies utilizing it to increase their efficiency and enhance the customer experience of their clients. The productivity of Salesforce can be dramatically augmented when it is coupled with other IT products that organizations employ in their workflow. Since such integration is a no-nonsense endeavor, it is sensible to entrust it to major-league professionals. NIX United possesses expert skills and experience to accomplish seamless integration of Salesforce with any apps or frameworks that your enterprise relies on.

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