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October 5, 2009

Integrating Salesforce.com with Legacy Apps: Best Practices

Filed under: Data Integration, Data Migration, ETL — Tags: , — Olga Belokurskaya @ 6:36 am

Delivering products and services faster and managing more complex marketing programs are among major challenges most companies face.

Thanks to its proven, non-intrusive and scalable on-demand platform, Salesforce.com allows companies solve these challenges. However, companies must realize that to fully leverage the benefits of using Salesforce.com they have to figure out how to connect the information residing in Salesforce.com with 3rd-party systems, such as ERP, accounting and CRM packages, custom applications, and databases.

Below, there are some best practices on how to solve challenges and avoid mistakes when integrating Salesforce.com with legacy applications:

  • Formalize Data Schemas – Custom objects, data fields, and tables created by individuals should be documented and align with all applications and processes within the integration environment, as well as be visible to other users.
  • Update the Information – Information should be updated on a regular basis or, if possible, in real time. Out-of-date views are useless, so keep an eye on this.
  • Maintain the Integration – Even the most defined integration process requires maintenance. New tables may be added, data structures may change, and so on. Having no plan or budget for an ongoing integration is a mistake, which may become expensive to fix.
  • Verify and Clean Up the Data – Perform data cleansing and verification required by your business and industry. Each industry will have its own baseline, inputs/outputs, and best practices for such data quality management. However, it is critical to check the names, addresses, and e-mail details of your prospects and customers.
  • Transform Raw Data into Business Information – Business users are typically looking for useful information that can be applied across the enterprise and provide business decision-making. That’s why raw data needs to be aggregated, filtered, enriched, and summarized.
  • Stick to Business Value – Don’t forget that the integration processes should bring value and align with your business processes.

Look through our “Five Steps to Integrate SalesForce.com with 3rd-Party Systems and Avoid Most Common Mistakes” white paper to learn more.

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