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New Salesforce Integration Cloud for SMBs is Built for Scaling and Synergy
Here's how your business could use Salesforce Integration Cloud.
In March 2018, Salesforce acquired application network platform MuleSoft as part of the company's effort to expand its ecosystem into cross-platform application management. On the heels of this acquisition, the customer relationship management giant announced the new Salesforce Integration Cloud, a product that effectively brings the functionality of MuleSoft to Salesforce users. The Salesforce Integration Cloud is a unified platform that's especially helpful for small businesses struggling to maintain multiple cloud systems and apps through different portals as they scale. Here's what the new addition to Salesforce offers users.
The Integration Builder allows administrators to manage the Salesforce platform as well as every other cloud-based partner in one place. Once logged into the Integration Builder, users will be walked through a step-by-step checklist to add third-party systems. Common partners are suggested on the left side of the screen, and they can be added with a single click at any point during the setup process. For third-party integrations, admins can click directly to the Integration Guides gallery from the Builder portal of Salesforce Integration Cloud. Guides are divided into such categories as employee apps, customer experience and order management, and guide the administrator through the process. Actions are clearly outlined, from adding data sources to mapping said sources, configuring events, customizing integration rules, testing and deploying the integration, and finally to configuring the service console views. While some tech know-how is helpful for completing the integration process, it's relatively straightforward. Once added, all data sources are viewable in one place, and the data mapping process can be completed through a visual user interface without any coding required. Customers are automatically segmented by geography and the admin setting up the data mapping can select from a drop-down menu of field options to fully customize the common view of each customer. Admins may also create top down management rules and policies, which can then be applied across all the data sources connected to Salesforce Integration Cloud. This is a win for tech pros at small businesses who would otherwise have to log into multiple systems to stay on top of admin tasks, but it's also a game changer for end users. Once the integration, permission setting and mapping processes are completed, Salesforce Integration Builder automatically aggregates all the customer data from each source, eliminates redundancies, and gives users access to unique customer records sorted by region and organization. What this means for end users, especially those who are currently playing the incredibly inefficient (and dangerous, in terms of data viability) game of copying information from one system to another, is that everything can be managed and viewed in one place, and that happens through the Service Console.
Salesforce's Service Console eliminates the need for users to bounce between multiple products to get a clear view of their customers, and multi-organization service clouds (automatically separated based on region) make this tool adoptable for highly regulated industries, like the financial sector. When users log into the Service Console they can easily access client information, and the UI is about as good as it gets. Once a call or request is received, users can pull up an entire profile replete with historical information as well as real-time updates. On the left side of the screen you'll see basic information (which is defined by admins in the Integration Builder) like client name, business name, lifetime value, risk of churn, recent activity, contact info and more. In the center of the screen, you'll see items that are currently in the client's cart (if your business uses e-commerce), orders that have been submitted, wish lists and browsed items (all in real time). The right side offers insights powered by Einstein Analytics, and below that customer service reps can browse related cases as well as search the knowledgebase. Since all of Salesforce's primary enterprise services are baked into the Integration Cloud, users can access everything they typically access in their customer relationship management software as well as information from outside sources. Things such as third-party loyalty programs can be tracked alongside customer comments and orders, and apps created using Salesforce Lightning (or other application creation services) may be seamlessly integrated. Employee-facing apps can be used within the Service Console too, and Lightning Flow enables businesses to create custom automation (with low coding) and apply it to customer or employee portals.
The Salesforce Integration Cloud offers small businesses who are already Salesforce customers a no-brainer way to cull the online systems they use and access relevant data in a pretty, customizable package. The integration process is as streamlined as possible and even higher-level customization and optimization options (via Lightning) are low-code. Eliminating the back-and-forth dance between systems, which is all too common among small businesses, has the potential to not only save time but increase revenue. After all, every software admin knows that a system is only as good as its data, and the worst offenders when it comes to poor data are manual data entry and parallel tracking across systems that don't talk to each other. Salesforce Integration Cloud offers SMBs a way to unify such systems without investing in a massive development project. Unfortunately, as with most Salesforce products, the price is not straightforward. It requires an inquiry to unravel, but so far the product looks promising and worthy of consideration.