Salesforce integration is the process of bringing two or more systems together, allowing you to streamline separate processes.
Consider cases in your own technology stack where information is held in one system but is also needed in another. By integrating them, you can easily manage all this information across multiple business processes running across multiple systems.
Why is integration important?
We live in the digital age and we must constantly improve our efficiency and customer experience to stay competitive – it's rare that this system now works in isolation. We need to improve the integration of our systems more and more so that we can do this in a fast and scalable way.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a tool that allows two applications to talk to each other.
For example, when you use an app on your phone, the app connects to the internet, retrieves data from a server, and presents it to you in a readable format. With the right API, this whole process should go off without a hitch.
There are different types of APIs which I will discuss later in the “Salesforce Integration Capabilities” section.
Types of Salesforce Integration Architectures
Each type of integration architecture offers both benefits and drawbacks worth noting. I will take you through the following three types:
· Point-to-point integration
· Hub-and-spoke integration
· Enterprise Service Bus integration (ESB)
Also known as one-to-one integration, point-to-point system integration sends messages to another system through a 1-1 relationship. Imagine having a sales app that sends information about new orders to a billing system, a shipping app, and a tracking system — all independently as its own little integration. If you want tracking and shipping to communicate, there is another integration that needs to be set up.
The disadvantages of this type of integration are numerous. It's expensive to build and maintain, and if you ever want to replace a system, you'll have to create multiple new integrations to reconnect it to the same system.
With star integration, you have a centralized hub system that facilitates communication between systems. The hub is responsible for routing all traffic and you only need to create a connection for each new system, which is a huge improvement over point-to-point integration.
Enterprise Service Bus integration (ESB)
An ESB, or enterprise service bus, is a design pattern in which a centralised software component provides application deployment. It transforms data models, handles connectivity, routes messages, converts communication protocols, and may manage the composition of many requests. These integrations and transformations can be made accessible as a service interface by the ESB for reuse by new applications.
Typically, the ESB pattern is implemented utilising a specially built integration runtime and toolset (i.e., esb product) to enable maximum productivity.