Salesforce has become one of the most pervasive CRMs for facilitating sales, supporting services, and empowering responsive customer engagement, but without a strategy and system for integration, valuable enterprise data can quickly amass in cloud and data silos. With 89% of IT leaders reporting that data silos inhibit digital transformation initiatives, data aggregation is the key to successful technology adoption, maximized investment, and improved business performance.
This is particularly true in scenarios where legacy systems, ERP solutions, and other back-end databases are used in tandem with more modern cloud-based technologies like Salesforce. Today, the average enterprise has 900 applications, but only 29% of those are connected, creating burdens on IT teams and hindering a business’s growth and expansion.
As hybrid architectures —a mix of cloud and on-premises application deployment — have become more popular, particularly in the Salesforce ecosystem, organizations have come to realize that efficient interoperability between their various systems is integral to realizing the full benefit of these tools. Until solutions like MuleSoft came along, connecting CRMs like Salesforce with the vast number of other SaaS applications and on-premises legacy systems required IT teams to create custom pathways or find third-party solutions –– burdensome and time-consuming endeavors that often don’t set the organization up for success over the long term.
Traditional approaches to integration
The need to improve business performance is critical, and efforts are bolstered through a connected organization and connected data. However, many organizations are relying on two primary methods to integration: custom coding and third-party providers.
Many enterprises previously resorted to custom coding to connect Salesforce with legacy applications and systems. While this process allows organizations to tailor integrations to specific use cases, it comes with tremendous disadvantages as well.
Traditional coding approaches to integration have proven costly and complex. Direct, point-to-point integration, for instance, has been utilized in some cases as a quick, ad hoc solution to integration challenges. This approach creates tight dependencies between two systems, resulting in a brittle environment and a progressively more complex architecture as new integrations are added. Over time, this adds maintenance costs while requiring constant legacy system expertise.
The other longstanding option for organizations has been third-party integration providers, which are pre-built integrations or applications offered through Salesforce AppExchange. While choosing the right app can reduce the time and cost associated with custom code and complex architecture, it can also be challenging to modify these out-of-the-box solutions, as the code and updates are managed by external parties.
Using MulesSoft to easily unlock and unify data
Still, bridging the gap between the cloud and on-premises solutions to efficiently extrapolate, share, and make sense of the data housed within each is critical to improving business operations, and the customer and employee experience –– which is why these solutions are being used in the first place. And this is where MuleSoft has become an invaluable part of the tech stack.
Using MuleSoft for integration, companies can easily find a solution to their integration requirements, while having access to a broad set of tools to aid with future issues that may arise. As a result, organizations are maximizing their investments in Salesforce in a number of ways.
FORMING A SINGLE VIEW OF CUSTOMERS
Today, fewer than 10% of companies have a single view of their customers. Data is often fragmented across multiple touchpoints, creating a complex customer journey. For instance, information such as purchase history is commonly siloed from other key data like product and service usage, which, when combined, provides powerful insights into how to build a more personalized customer experience and inform other business decisions.
While Salesforce provides tremendous resources and capabilities, without the right data integration, systems are still fragmented and the process to transform, manage, secure, and access data remains time consuming.
MulseSoft creates differentiated experiences using an API data layer that acts as a source of truth for every customer interaction. For example, APIs can be used to group data across systems and in various ways, such as leveraging data from systems like ERP, order management, and Salesforce in a customer profile API.
Using an API-led approach, data is abstracted and orchestrated to be used and optimized within Salesforce products, creating a 360-degree view in applications such as Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, and Sales Cloud.
MODERNIZING LEGACY SYSTEMS
Legacy systems form the backbone of many organizations, supporting mission-critical business processes and representing years of development and investment. However, integrating them with new cloud and web-based services is difficult and replacing them altogether is expensive, risky, and requires extensive developer retraining.
MuleSoft enables organizations to maintain their legacy systems by adapting existing on-premises applications, data repositories, and services to co-exist with cloud infrastructure and applications.
Using the Salesforce Integration Cloud with MuleSoft, organizations can add legacy systems to an application network, which is simply a way to connect applications, data and devices through APIs that expose some or all of the assets and data on the network. That network allows users from departments across the entire business to discover and use those assets.
INTRODUCING NEW DIGITAL CHANNELS
As new digital channels and ways of interacting with consumers emerge rapidly, business agility is key to capitalizing on these revenue opportunities.
But focusing on these opportunities and expanding to new channels is more than connecting two systems to create a mobile app or bring a new channel online. To expand successfully, organizations must understand their customers’ journey, then develop an omnichannel strategy.
Prebuilt assets like MuleSoft Accelerators for Salesforce Cloud allow customers to introduce new channels quickly and easily. With IT architectures led by APIs, organizations can unlock external systems like ERPs, commerce platforms, product information management systems, and more.
CREATING AND NURTURING API ECOSYSTEMS
The primary value of an API is that it allows a company to access information or software capabilities from another source, providing greater value without an additional investment of time, money, and resources.
Many organizations are transforming into companies of the future by building API ecosystems. The most successful digital organizations recognize that their APIs grow in value the more they are connected to a broader ecosystem of applications, developers, partners, and customer experiences. On the other hand, companies that lack APIs are finding it difficult to innovate and keep pace in the digital age.
Using an API portal, like MuleSoft’s API Community Manager, built on Salesforce Community Cloud, can transform developer portals into personalized, digital experiences that promote API products and increase engagement across API ecosystems. Now any company can create and nurture a thriving API ecosystem in order to open new business channels, launch new business models, and increase operational efficiency.