ERP Integration with Salesforce is a Game Changer
Continuing with the Repetitive Manufacturing Theme, today, I wanted to write about ERP integration with salesforce. Manufacturing is more complicated than other industries, and so since the 90’s, manufacturers have invested heavily in ERP for good reason. ERP’s help companies manage and track inventory, plan warehouse and manufacturing floor utilization, and forecast and manage cash flow and capital equipment.
ERP systems are necessarily complicated, after all, Bill-of Materials, Shop Floor configuration, Inventory Control are complicated multi-level processes. ERP’s, however, are built to Protect transactional business data. And ERP’s were not designed to share data with other systems. Finally, ERP’s in use today are still predominantly “On Premise”, which limits (or prohibits) mobile access.
Now, most ERP’s are trying to bolt on CRM solutions to compete with Salesforce but ERP’s really only address the “Product” part of the business – not a 360 view the whole business. The customer is usually just a reference in an ERP, so…
Let ERP be ERP
…and let Salesforce be the Platform you use to analyze important data, make solid – data driven decisions, and empower your Sales and Service team with the information necessary for them to delight your customers. Salesforce has an incredibly robust API – one that lets us access any system in a variety of ways. But what if you ERP doesn’t have an API? What happens then? 90% of the time, we can STILL gain access to that data. Here are a couple of ways we can do that:
Possible Integration Methods
- Server Based Integration – this is a clever way of getting TO the information in your ERP, even if the ERP doesn’t have an API. BlackIron can build a .NET program that lives on your network, and wakes up on a schedule to process dat in your system by READING SQL VIEWS of the information stored in the ERP. It’s lightweight, un-intrusive and doesn’t access the actual ERP Database, using instead read only views into the data.
- Web Services based Real Time Integration – Salesforce has built extremely robust API toolkits for the standard Web Sergvices protocols – REST or SOAP. IF your ERP does have an ERP, then bi-directional real time integration is possible through this option.
- Semi-Automated integration – having your ERP kick out a CSV, and then using run that file (or files) into Salesforce. This process is time consuming for your IT or operations team, since the export (usually a report in the ERP) of the data to a CSV file is typically done manually, but if no other option exists, this is a way to get that all important sales data out of ERP and into a system that is useable and portable.
- Email Service (a different type of CSV Integration using an Email Address) lets us monitor an Email Address and process any CSV files received as an attachment to that email address. If your ERP system can email reports as CSV or Excel files, this is an excellent option for integration
- ETL Tool (Mulesoft, Informatica, Jitterbit, etc.) – these 3rd party tools allow you to visually map both logic and data processes for integration. These systems can be very complex, and expensive, but if your integration needs are ever-evolving, this is a good option for your company.
So check out this article by salesforce that explains the advantages of ERP integration.
And watch our Video that details the advantages of accessing your ERP data in your salesforce solution