What is Salesforce?
By integrating Salesforce with other leading digital technology platforms, business of all sizes are able to transform the way they engage, retain, and grow their customer base.
Salesforce is the world’s leading sales automation, CRM, and customer success platform. Companies of all sizes deploy Salesforce to automate and manage their marketing, sales, and customer service functions, and to drive digital transformation and innovation, which is top of mind for most C-level executives. By integrating Salesforce with other leading digital technology platforms (i.e. AI/cognitive computing, IoT, mobile, live video, image recognition, etc.) business of all sizes are able to transform the way they engage, retain, and grow their customer base.
But how is Salesforce expanding the reach of CRM?
First of all, the platform is 100 percent cloud based, highly customizable, and provides a flexible integration architecture that enables integration with other web platforms, ERP systems, financial systems, HR systems, databases, and legacy systems and data.
In addition, Salesforce delivers new technology innovation on the platform through three well-orchestrated releases per year, allowing businesses to focus on their customers’ success instead of technology infrastructure, patching, and maintenance.
The Benefits of Salesforce Integration
Utilizing Salesforce CRM as the system of record for a company’s customer data, there are a variety of integration platforms, techniques, and best practices that allow it to be melded with other digital solutions. As an affirmation to the importance of integration as a core strategy, Salesforce recently acquired the integration platform Mulesoft and now offers it as the Salesforce Integration Cloud. In addition to Mulesoft, there are various other enterprise-class integration platforms that provide connectors to Salesforces and other third-party systems, including Informatica, Dell Boomi, and Jitterbit. The advantage of connectors is that they’ve been preconfigured for the specific system and can be readily configured through a drag and drop interface.
Salesforce also provides a rich set of application program interfaces (APIs) that can be used to integrate Salesforce with web, mobile, and other applications utilizing a web services approach. In addition to REST and SOAP APIs, Salesforce provides a Bulk API for handling large volumes of data and a Streaming API for publish/subscribe notifications and event handling upon changes to data.
Salesforce Improving Customer Engagement
One of the primary reasons for the success of Salesforce is the platform’s ability to engage customers, enabling user experiences to be tailored to their needs. Customer engagement is one of the primary focus areas for businesses in today’s world of digital transformation, and having access to well-structured and managed customer data is a key component to success. Salesforce as a platform provides multiple ways for a company to improve customer engagement, from organizing data about a customer’s business, providing insights into consumer behavior or product orders, leveraging social media, mapping personalized customer journeys, to understanding and resolving their support needs, among others.
However, most enterprises struggle with achieving a “single view” of their customer because different forms of customer data reside in disparate, siloed systems. For example, an insurance company may have sales data in their CRM system, claim data in their core claims system, billing and invoicing data in an ERP or other financial system, and customer support data in yet another system. To make matters worse, many businesses manage critical aspects of their organization in excel spreadsheets and struggle to manually translate this data into other systems and processes.
Salesforce as a platform can help companies overcome these challenges and provide a consolidated view of their customers. The various APIs mentioned above and third-party integration platforms provide a rich set of options for combining data from multiple systems for real-time data aggregation. Enterprise integration platforms like Informatica 360 also provide master data management (MDM) capabilities to help normalize and synchronize data between systems. The key to success is starting with a well-defined integration and data architecture strategy and then leveraging the proper expertise to guide the execution.
Eric Edgerton is the Salesforce director at Stefanini North America.