The 8 Phases of a Salesforce Integration Project

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The 8 Phases of a Salesforce Integration Project

PHASE 1: Kick-off
To begin your Salesforce to ERP integration project, identify the stakeholders and their roles.

Some of the key questions to ask at this stage:
•  What are the potential data flows between Salesforce and the ERP?
•  How do the data models of both systems compare?
•  What fields does each system leverage?

PHASE 2: Define Requirements
The first step in this phase is to understand the “as is” Salesforce and ERP platform infrastructure, and then consider what new platform elements are needed. 

You’ll want to define the project scope and objectives and take a good look at the fields most often used and those not used at all, so you can prioritize the order of integration between the two systems.

Pro tip: Select an integration tool or platform that offers pre-built connectors. Ready-to-go connectors can drastically reduce development time and even long-term maintenance costs.

PHASE 3: Design
For the Design phase, break into sprints and create field-level physical data models. This step lets you see which Salesforce fields map to which ERP fields and where new fields are needed.

PHASE 4: Build
In the Build phase, you need to decide whether you’ll have different developers work on each end of the integration or just one developer from start to finish. Pulling in the IT operations team (the DevOps model) to help establish a continuous integration/continuous deployment cycle is a best practice that can pay off in time, cost, and efficiency.

Pro tip: After completing this phase, run a unit test with the user team.

PHASE 5: Test
The Test phase starts with a dedicated QA engineer executing the test plan. This phase will go more smoothly if the testers are involved in the Requirements, Design, and Build phases so they are familiar with the original requirements and can design test cases to verify them. 

When the integrations look good to the QA team, the test cases can go through user-acceptance testing where end users can provide feedback on the system. 

PHASE 6: Train
Before deploying to production, train end users on how to use the integrated systems. Users will discover they can get more done on their own—and much faster than they could when they had to rely on others to chase down information. But for end users to achieve their optimal efficiency, you need to show them just how the new data flows and how often.

PHASE 7: Deployment/Production
The Deployment/Production phase is where continuous integration (starting from the Build phase) will pay off so that you are continuously building the application in a fully functional environment.

Pro tip: In the Salesforce world, having a solid deployment strategy and lifecycle management approach is key to success. If you spend too much time in your development environment and wait too long to get the changes into testing, staging, and user-acceptance testing, you inevitably run into issues. 

PHASE 8: Support
As you enter the Support phase, the Ops half of DevOps will begin monitoring the integration, using tools to analyze logs, fix issues, and cycle changes into the process so you don’t drop data. It’s important to realize that integrations are living entities that need to be maintained as you make changes. 

For a more detailed project plan, use the form to download "The Definitive Guide to Integrating Salesforce with Your ERP System."

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