Who else knows better Salesforce.com integration than… Salesforce.com? A recent and excellent post by Greg Cook of CloudPremise, on the Salesforce Developers Blog, describes the 13 requirements for a sustainable Salesforce.com integration architecture.
This post shows that even though SaaS applications are cloud-based and subscription-based, the same challenge as any other enterprise application needs to be addressed: integration. Roy Schulte, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, warned us a few years ago:
“By 2018, more than 50% of the cost of implementing 90% of new large systems will be spent on integration.” (Predicts 2013: Application Integration, November 2013)
Schulte’s prediction included SaaS applications. It shows how integration is an integral part of any SaaS application project and, depending how it is executed, can positively or negatively impact the value generated. Cook provides 13 requirements for a Salesforce.com integration architecture, and also an intelligent decision grid for deciding on a platform to implement this integration.
When we look at these requirements through the lens of TIBCO’s ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks, admittedly, we think we shine.
– Security. BusinessWorks’ Salesforce plug-in ensures a secured connection between BusinessWorks and Salesforce.
– Real-time integration between Salesforce and the ground. And vice versa. BusinessWorks captures events and service invocations from Salesforce in real time to then invoke enterprise systems. This ensures Salesforce can be involved or trigger business processes in real time, without having to modify these processes or applications. Salesforce is guaranteed to access all of the organization’s systems data: ERP, CRM, custom, legacy or even partner applications. Similarly, BusinessWorks allows those systems to invoke Salesforce’s services and data to support the execution of processes in real time.
– Bulk data integration between Salesforce and the ground. Data can be loaded to and from Salesforce in bulk, when it is required to be loaded. BusinessWorks leverages Salesforce’s bulk API, and provides connectivity to major databases such as Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, as well as platforms such as Teradata and cloud databases such as Amazon Redshift.
– Offload of Salesforce data. BusinessWorks offloads Salesforce data to ensure constant access. BusinessWorks can not only store this data in any database, it can also load it into TIBCO ActiveSpaces, an in-memory data grid that will act as a cache for faster access from local applications or for Big Data processing.
– Extensive connectivity. BusinessWorks provides a rich catalog of connectors to leading SaaS vendors, as well as enterprise applications, shortening development times while reducing maintenance costs by abstracting complexity, and exposing the applications’ business functionalities and data.
– Orchestration. BusinessWorks allows developers to orchestrate service calls so as to combine application services and APIs in a mash-up, without creating code that is as costly to develop as it is to maintain.
– Deployment… where it’s required. BusinessWorks can be deployed on-premises as well as on Amazon, or in a hybrid fashion to provide the best deployment options for organizations to address Salesforce to ground, ground to Salesforce and Salesforce to cloud scenarios.
In addition to fulfilling all requirements of a sustainable integration platform to integrate Salesforce.com applications, BusinessWorks provides additional value:
- BusinessWorks’ Salesforce plug-in metadata management capabilities provide introspection of the metadata for an organization and exposes it as an XML document in the project. This greatly accelerates development projects by hiding the complexity coming from customization.
- BusinessWorks Mobile Integration plug-in and its companion app allow business users to subscribe to any event that is happening in the integration platform.
And, of course, BusinessWorks core capabilities that ensure a low Total Cost of Ownership:
- Easy-to-use graphical design environment
- Native fault tolerance, high availability and scalability
- Automation capabilities for devops to industrialize development and deployment
- APIs or its Plug-in Development Kit
Discover TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks for free now at http://www.tibco.com/integration
At the end of his post, Cook refers to a Salesforce document of reference for integration of Salesforce application. Interestingly, TIBCO is the only application integration vendor quoted in the document.
In summary, Cook provides us with extremely valuable insights:
– Think strategic: Requirements will be varied. Cook states there are multiple scenarios to consider. While it might be irrelevant to address all of those scenarios out of the gate, the integration architecture must guarantee that new scenarios can be implemented while reusing developments, if not the data of existing ones. We at TIBCO like to say that you should have a future proof approach to integration.
– There are (at least) two ends to integration: While the focus might be on the on-boarded SaaS application, the value for the organization is to combine its functionalities with existing business capabilities. This is why the integration platform must be able to integrate with the existing systems, from legacy mainframe applications to ERP or even other SaaS applications. Cook advises that the choice of the integration architecture be considered in the light of the organization’s integration strategy.
Cook’s post reminds us that organizations need a solid integration foundation to support the key processes and initiatives that will make them digitalize their business.