Salesforce talks to IBM i and PHP: suggestions for successful integration

Salesforce and IBM i for BusinessSalesforce’s cloud platform has become a leading choice for enterprises seeking to automate their sales process. Known primarily for customer relationship management (CRM), Salesforce also offers broad integration with functionality such as marketing automation. Salesforce can also be integrated with core systems, such as those running on IBM i.

Here are a couple of suggestions from Seiden Group’s IBM i and cloud integration specialists.

Choose a Style of Integration

In our experience integrating core systems such as IBM i with Salesforce, we have seen two main styles: “extract, transform, load (ETL)” and a real-time API approach. Your discovery process should help you choose, but here are some implications of each approach:

  • ETL: You allow Salesforce to import raw data from your core system. The integration team (usually a specialist company) can do much of the work for you, but you cede some control to external data extraction tools. Consider the pros and cons of such an approach. It may be right for you.
  • API: Use Salesforce’s application programming interface (API) to allow your system to communicate in real time, server-to-server, program to program. You can code API calls, using a language such as PHP, Python, or even RPG, to communicate with Salesforce and its APEX language. In this way, rather than providing raw data access to Salesforce, you create code that “talks” to it in exactly the way you want it to. You take more responsibility and retain more control.

Tips for a Successful Launch

Whichever approach you take, ensure a successful launch by bearing in mind the following tips:

  • Your sales and customer service experts should be involved early and commit to remaining engaged in the process to ensure that the implementation meets your needs.
  • Create workflow and process diagrams to paint a clear picture of the current sales and customer relationship management processes. This can be done before or throughout the discovery process.
  • Determine how “real time” or dynamic the movement of data must be. Consider whether each kind of data (leads, opportunities, etc.) must be sent in batches, real-time, several times per day, etc.
  • “Governor limits”: Salesforce sets limits on how much data can be processed in a single batch.
  • Configure development, testing and production environments, then maintain them with up-to-date data sets.
  • Make sure that any APEX coding is done in a batch-friendly manner by an expert who takes the time to consider batch size. As with any software implementation, peforming code reviews by objective third-parties can help ensure high quality.

We can help with your Salesforce integration

If you are considering the Salesforce journey, we can offer objective advice and assistance. Given the effort, cost, and potentially large business benefits of such implementations, consider talking to us about: guidance during the discovery/feasibility phase, documenting requirements and use cases, analysis, API development, or even code reviews. Chat with us about integrating Salesforce with IBM i and other core systems.

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