Salesforce Integration in a Complex Application Environment

Jamie Peers

How can businesses connect legacy applications to Salesforce without pre-defined connectors?

Many businesses in the financial industry run applications that address specific business needs. These applications may have been custom-built, or were developed a number of years ago and have non-standard application interfaces. When it comes to integrating these applications with Salesforce, there aren’t any standard out-of-the-box components, or connectors, that an integration platform can use for easy integration with those systems. So, what option do businesses have to integrate Salesforce with their complex legacy application environment?

Legacy Integration Options

In the past, organizations with complex internal systems used an enterprise service bus (ESB). ESBs were designed for batch-oriented applications, required technical skills and a large budget. The problem with ESBs is that they become a bottleneck to implementing changes because any application integration change needs to be added to the ESB change queue for verification and approval before implementation. They are also typically cumbersome to use. In effect, ESBs are unable to innovate and move quickly.    

Other organizations chose hand-coding. Developers tend to write their own integration code, believing it gives them more control, that they can do a better job of developing a solution, and that it would be cheaper. The problem here is that these custom-built integrations become expensive to maintain and support, are difficult to scale, and have challenges connecting with new apps. Manually coded point-to-point integrations Can turn into long strands of spaghetti and are quite resource intensive when it comes to maintenance.

What businesses need is an integration solution that can handle both near real-time and batch integration needs, that has been built for cloud as well as on-premise, can manipulate and transform large volumes of data, and can work with a variety of integration formats and protocols.

Achieving Salesforce Integration with a Hybrid Integration Platform

As cloud solutions were growing, an integration solution known as iPaaS became prominent. But with the increasing complexity of application environments, iPaaS has been overtaken by Hybrid Integration Platforms. A Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP) is the new way to integrate, providing the ability to connect anything, anyone, and anywhere, from cloud, to on-premises systems, and to edge devices. HIPs use a collection of tools including connectors but also add data access, transfer and storage capabilities, this includes ETL, API management, edge services and data lake architectures.

Data Automation Platform

For a Salesforce instance, there are ways other than using connectors to enable integration. There is a range of Salesforce API endpoints.  

  • Apex, the proprietary Salesforce programming language, has APIs which integrators can use to execute flow and transaction control statements on the Salesforce Lightning platform, and to retrieve data from Salesforce.
  • Integrations can use the Salesforce Metadata API. This is the environment that gives Salesforce its powerful low-code customization capability. Integrating with the Metadata API enables access to customized information, for example, to update custom objects and page layouts.
  • There is also the Salesforce Bulk API. This provides the ability to programmatically upload or delete large data sets.  
  • To query Salesforce data, applications can use Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) to search a Salesforce instance for specific data.  

To avoid exceeding the Salesforce API usage limits, Synatic can process, transform, validate and aggregate data before loading it. This data is then processed in bulk into Salesforce with a single Bulk API call thus dramatically reducing the Salesforce API hits.

Using Synatic's Hybrid Integration Platform for Complex Legacy Integration

Where standard connectors are not available to perform integrations with legacy systems, the Synatic platform can extract the data using an ODBC extract, manipulate the data and push it into the required destination application. Making data that was previously inaccessible, accessible. A typical example where a hybrid integration platform can be deployed is when integrating between an AS400 DB2 and Salesforce. The traditional approach would be to write custom-code at a high cost to do the integration. With Synatic's integration platform, managing your data automation is quicker and less costly.

A major reason companies are investing in a modern platform like Salesforce is because it is able to provide a single view of the customer. However, according to a report by Accenture , 44% of financial services firms state that one of the biggest obstacles to digital transformation is that the difficulty of integrating their legacy systems with new technology. A Hybrid Integration Platform provides the flexibility, scalability and range of integration options to manage your data integration requirements. If you want to remove the challenge of legacy integration Synatic is the answer.

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