Salesforce has many capabilities and has over 3,000 free or low-cost apps in the AppExchange. As you grow your capabilities, there is likely an application that may cover some of the functionality that you require. The big decision that has to be made is whether to buy one of these apps or build a solution from scratch that is custom tailored to what you do. Going through a thoughtful process on your build vs. buy decision will save your company both time and money.
You should begin by assessing what applications you are using today. Many applications integrate directly with Salesforce. You should understand whether these applications will scale to where you are seeking to grow, especially if you have significant near-term growth goals. A convenient place to assess your integration options and review alternative applications is the Salesforce AppExchange. You will quickly find that a simple keyword search will often return a large number of applications in any given category. As you begin to understand your application options, factor in what the change process may be if you are replacing an application in one of your departments. For example, if your Finance Team is deeply embedded in Quickbooks, you may choose an application connector to allow them to continue to work in Quickbooks but make the data available in Salesforce for better management visibility and collaboration. The deciding factor of your final options should be your growth plan, not the specific technology.
Your data is your intellectual property and will be a key deciding factor in your integration. You have to decide how current the information that you use must be to make the best business decisions. Real-time integrations are needed when you need instant up to the second data across systems. Other data may have longer cycles that are measured in minutes, hours or days and can be updated in bulk using less-costly batch methods. While looking at the data, you should consider whether they reside on deprecated technologies as this may be the opportunity to consolidate data sources. You will ultimately need to make this data available in a security controlled way. You should also review the usage of the data by marketing, sales, service and operations so that you have a clear picture of each group’s requirements. The right data at the right time will streamline your processes and minimize your long-term costs
As you begin to finalize your build vs. buy decision, take one more look at your requirements. You want to make your decision based on the minimum viable product requirements to accomplish your business objectives. Separate true must-haves from wish list items based on business criticality. If you have outgrown your existing systems, make sure your new solution gives you enough headroom for your planned growth for the next few years. Next, you should review the cost of your existing systems, including the cost of any remaining subscription or maintenance services. Understanding when these terminate may help you determine your transition timing. Then, you should do a side by side build vs. buy cost comparison to create cost clarity. This should include both your one-time vs recurring costs as this may be a tipping point in your decision. With these costs known, you should plan out the efficiencies you will gain with a streamlined process and freed-up team capacity. You can use these efficiencies to reduce your long-term costs and fuel your business growth.
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We can help you find the right apps to integrate OR help build and develop a custom integration for you and your company. Contact RelationEdge today!