Salesforce is a highly customizable platform, allowing businesses to integrate it with suitable third-party applications and services. Salesforce integration involves syncing data and functionality of two software solutions to provide users with a centralized platform to work on.
When you integrate Salesforce with the right third-party solution, you prevent your team members from working on separate platforms to perform specific tasks. It increases the speed and efficiency of your business processes by providing users with the best of both worlds.
However, Salesforce integration is not free from challenges. It would help if you had an implementation partner with the right skills and experience to help you integrate the CRM solution with the right application or service. Most Salesforce integration challenges stem from the movement of data between two platforms. Living in the age of digitization, you cannot afford to lose or corrupt your valuable business records.
In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common Salesforce integration challenges and what you should do to overcome them. Make sure you prepare yourself to tackle these challenges before executing your Salesforce integration project.
Common Salesforce Integration Challenges and How to overcome them
1. Mapping Your Data
Most businesses find data mapping challenging while integrating their Salesforce org. When you sync your data between two platforms, it becomes important to match the records and fields to bring your project to fruition. In most cases, data fields are different for different applications. You need to ensure that they are in sync to let users work on the integrated platform hassle-free.
For example, the address fields in Salesforce may contain street, city, state, country, etc. This may not be the case with the application you are integrating Salesforce with. This is an important consideration to keep in mind while you execute your project.
When you face this challenge, it is advisable to double-check while matching the same field types. Moreover, you can convert your data to the field type of the target application to make working on the integrated platform easier.
2. Handling Duplicate Records
Even if you use the best ETL tools while integrating your Salesforce org, there will always be some scope for data duplication. Handling duplicate data is one of the most common and tedious Salesforce integration challenges businesses worldwide face.
Always make sure you work with a system that gives you a limit and identifies duplicate data as soon as it is entered. Working with duplicate data can spoil your customer relationships and hamper your business processes.
When you import custom objects from one platform to another, use external IDs to prevent data duplication. This will act as a custom field with the External ID attribute. This implies that the field contains unique record identifiers from a system external to Salesforce.
3. Creating Auto-ID
When you integrate Salesforce with a third-party solution, it automatically creates a dedicated ID for every entity you create and import. Businesses often face a challenge when the records imported from eternal apps already contain IDs that connect them with other records. This implies that importing records to Salesforce from an external platform will involve managing two sets of IDs.
Now, if Salesforce overwrites these IDs, you will lose the external system IDs. To avoid this mess, it is advisable to add the right configuration by making the external ID distinct and necessary at the field level. You should also add custom logic or validations to avoid the overriding of external IDs.
4. Data Migration
Most Salesforce integration challenges revolve around data migration. Essentially, software integration is nothing but seamless data migration to provide users with a single unified platform. Considering this, it is important to handle data migration with the utmost care and precision.
A common data migration challenge that businesses face is the variation in data storage for different Salesforce editions. If the concerned external application contains duplicate records, data migration will transfer these records to your Salesforce org.
To avoid these issues during data migration, it is advisable to optimize the out-of-the-box features offered by Salesforce, such as Duplicate Management or defining a custom code. Moreover, the external ID plays a key role here as it acts as the field you identify to create or update your records during data migration.
Moreover, you can tackle data migration challenges by defining suitable access controls in your Salesforce org. For example, you can define relevant access to fields instead of giving access to all fields when you add data to Salesforce.
5. Defining The Scope Of Integration
You can obtain maximum Salesforce benefits when you integrate it with the right application or service. However, it is important to define the scope of your integration project to obtain the desired results.
As Salesforce supports REST/SOAP services, it becomes important to decide whether you want to consume an external service or expose a specific Salesforce service.
You do not need to expose a Salesforce service while managing real-time data die to the rest endpoint. Each Salesforce object contains a rest endpoint that prevents developers from writing custom code.
Moreover, you need Salesforce authentication to integrate the CRM platform with most third-party applications.
6. Promotion Of Bad Data
As the name suggests, bad data refers to data that is inaccurate, irrelevant, old, or poorly compiled. As you integrate Salesforce with a third-party solution, it is important to steer away from the promotion of bad data.
No matter how organized your Salesforce database is, bringing in bad data from external systems is always unhealthy for your project and business processes.
Make sure you get rid of obsolete data and perform a thorough cleanup in the external system before syncing the data with Salesforce.
The best way to tackle the problem is to conduct an extensive system audit in the external system before carrying on with the integration.
This will help you identify the major issues with the data and resolve the same before you create a centralized platform for your team members.
7. Misinterpretation Of Real-time Integration
Businesses often believe that real-time integration is the same as exporting or importing Salesforce data. This leads to various Salesforce integration challenges that could have been easily avoided.
Make sure you understand the difference between the two practices or take help from your Salesforce implementation partner before going ahead with your integration project.
Generally, the import or export of Salesforce data involves running multiple batches. Here, the sync may not happen immediately, keeping the external systems out of sync until the batches are completed.
Do not expect an import/export of Salesforce data to reflect real-time changes and sync with the preferred external system. Plan your project and methodologies accordingly.
8. Understanding Data Rate Limits
If you are a Salesforce user, you should know that it runs in a multi-tenant environment. The CRM platform enforces governor limits that Salesforce APIs impose, determining data access for users. These APIs determine data access in one single call and a day.
So, when you go beyond these limits, Salesforce will show you runtime errors throughout the process. Make sure you understand all the restrictions Salesforce imposes while integrating the CRM with an external system. This either prepares you for contingencies or helps you avoid them altogether.
9. Identifying The Right Out-of-the-box Salesforce Features
Before executing your Salesforce integration project, it is advisable to be well-versed in Salesforce’s out-of-the-box features. Please make sure you check whether your project requirements match these features and help you leverage them. This prevents developers from writing long and tedious code while getting the work done in a simple and hassle-free way.
Suppose you have your business data stored in an on-premise ERP system. To integrate this with your Salesforce org, you can leverage external objects instead of copying your business data to the org. Salesforce provides you with such objects to facilitate connection and association with the right external data source.
Your external data source shows you how to use the external system you want to connect with your Salesforce org. Note that the external objects are very similar to the Salesforce custom objects.
However, they record data that is stored outside your Salesforce org. It is advisable to use external objects when you are dealing with a large volume of data that you cannot copy to your Salesforce org.
10. Selecting The Right Applications For Integration
While Salesforce integration comes with a plethora of benefits, all your efforts would go in vain if you fail to choose the right platform to integrate the CRM solution with. This is one of the most common Salesforce integration challenges faced by businesses of all scales.
Salesforce AppExchange provides you with several applications that serve multiple purposes. Make sure you analyze your well-defined business needs and understand your inherent business goals before choosing an application to integrate your CRM with.
Go for an application that helps you fill the right gaps, enhance your team’s performance, and leverage the overall functionality of Salesforce.
11. Accurate Data Validation
Data validation plays an important role while moving your business records from an external system to Salesforce, especially while adding data to one or more standard Salesforce objects.
For example, if you are creating a Salesforce contact where the field for the last name is mandatory, the record will be updated only once this field is populated.
Make sure all the records stored within the external system satisfy the data validation rules to ensure smooth data sync. Note that the same criteria apply to custom Salesforce objects as well.
It is also important to note that you may come across fields that are mandatory in Salesforce but optional in an external system. Make sure you understand the impact such changes will have at the data validation level before undertaking Salesforce integration.
12. Planning And Managing The Costs
Before you start with your Salesforce integration project, it is important to plan and manage your costs according to your budgetary requirements. Businesses often struggle with sticking to their budget while syncing their data with a suitable third-party solution.
Make sure you discuss all relevant matters with the stakeholders before making important decisions regarding the costs involved in integrating your Salesforce org. Create an extensive timeline with appropriate milestones to be achieved along the way.
13. Choosing The Right Integration Partner
Finally, it is important to choose the right Salesforce integration partner to work with. In most cases, your Salesforce implementation partners will help you integrate the CRM solution with the most suitable external system(s). Make sure you team up with skilled and experienced professionals who are in sync with your business objectives.
Also, watch our video on – How to Integrate Salesforce with other tools
The Final Word
These were some of the many Salesforce integration challenges businesses operating across all major industries struggle with. While Salesforce integration comes with several perks, it also brings its own share of challenges. However, if you are vigilant throughout your project and adept in data management, you will cruise through your Salesforce integration project while attaining the desired business objectives.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
1. Data quality and consistency issues: Ensuring that data is accurate and up-to-date across all systems can be difficult, especially if different systems have different data structures or validation rules.
2. Limited integration options: Some systems may not have built-in integration options with Salesforce, requiring the use of custom code or third-party tools.
3. Data security and privacy concerns: Ensuring that sensitive data is protected during integration can be a challenge, especially if data is being transmitted between systems or stored in a cloud environment.
– Establishing clear data governance policies and procedures
– Regularly monitoring and auditing data across systems
– Using data validation and mapping tools to ensure accurate data transfer
– Using middleware tools like web services and APIs to connect the systems
– Using third-party integration platforms like Zapier and Workato
– Building custom integrations using Apex or other programming languages
– Using secure protocols for data transfer, such as HTTPS and SFTP
– Encrypting sensitive data both in transit and at rest
– Implementing role-based access controls to limit who can access sensitive data within Salesforce.