In today’s data-driven world, organizations strive to build a comprehensive Customer 360 view to gain valuable insights and deliver personalized experiences. Salesforce, as a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform, offers powerful tools to manage customer data. However, to achieve a complete view of customers, it’s essential to integrate data from various external sources into Salesforce.
When it comes to deciding on the best option for loading data into Salesforce, there are several factors to consider. In this article, we will embark on a journey through the Salesforce data integration landscape. We’ll delve into the options available for loading data from external sources to Salesforce, including the likes of Talend, MuleSoft, Integrate.io, Dataloader.io, and more.
The Salesforce Data Integration Landscape
When we explore the Salesforce data integration landscape, we evaluate potential integration partners with two crucial deciding factors: time to implementation (months to days) and complexity (difficult to simple).
As you read this piece you’ll notice that these factors divide the integration players into two major groups:
- The enterprise solutions: Jitterbit, snapLogic, Informatica, Mulesoft, and talend.
- The modern solutions: Census, workato, dataloader.io, boomi, and Integrate.io.
The Enterprise Solutions
The enterprise solutions are typically well-known names in the integration space. These platforms are a perfect fit for large enterprise companies seeking a complete data platform layer, including integration, governance, enterprise service bus, API management, and more.
While these options offer a wide range of capabilities, they do come with a significant total cost of ownership (TCO) due to their lengthy implementation times (months to years) and inherent complexity. Implementing enterprise-wide solutions like these typically requires a dedicated team residing within core IT, given the technical skill set required to work with such platforms.
Another significant factor that increases the TCO is the initial implementation and ongoing maintenance costs. With tools of this size, companies need to involve external consulting firms for the initial set up phase and often end up needing to keep these consultants long-term too.
The Modern Solutions
The modern solutions are newer to the market and incorporate features which may best enable teams looking for more ‘modern’ solutions. These integration platforms are not only relatively new, they are also architected as cloud-native solutions and have been designed with a focus on user-friendliness and ease of use.
While these solutions may not offer the full suite of product offerings that the enterprise solutions provide, they excel in data integration use cases. What’s more, they can be up and running within days or weeks, depending on the complexity of the use case. Unlike their enterprise counterparts, these modern solutions can be utilized by a wide range of teams, eliminating the need to rely solely on core IT.
Enterprise Solutions vs. Modern Solutions
When it comes to choosing the right solution, it ultimately boils down to your specific business requirements.
Opting for an enterprise solution typically makes sense if:
- You have a diverse range of data requirements and use cases.
- You’re comfortable with a minimum implementation time of 6+ months.
- You have a dedicated core IT team to handle implementation and ongoing maintenance.
- You have a budget of $200k+ available for platform and implementation costs.
On the other hand, modern solutions are better suited when:
- You’re seeking a platform to address specific data integration use cases.
- You want the platform to be accessible and usable by line of business teams and users.
- Time is of the essence, and you need a solution with quick implementation.
- You lack the budget, time, or resources to invest in a full-fledged enterprise solution.
The Modern Solutions: Data Integration Landscape
For the purpose of this discussion, let’s focus on the modern solutions that meet the criteria of ease of use and quick time to implementation (dataloader.io, Census, workato, and Integrate.io).
By narrowing down our initial requirements to the modern solutions, we can further dissect these options based on business needs. Within the scope of these modern solutions we take into account platform flexibility (capabilities and use cases supported) and platform scalability (data volumes and enterprise features).
The great news is that there is a modern solution ideal for every type of team that will cater to the majority of data integration needs. Let’s now explore the key differences between each of these solutions.
Integrate.io’s drag-and-drop interface empowers both technical and non-technical users to effortlessly build and manage data integrations, without relying on core IT. The platform supports a wide range of data sources and destinations, with Salesforce being one of its most popular bi-directional connectors. Customers can leverage Integrate.io’s 220+ data transformation components to clean and prepare their data without writing a single line of code.
As for scalability, Integrate.io was built for working with data volumes of any size. It processes data in parallel allowing it to handle large volumes of data with zero impact on performance. Integrate.io truly shines when companies seek a solution that can ingest data from diverse sources (files, APIs, databases, etc), transform the data as needed, and scale to work with large data volumes.
- It is highly scalable and can process data in parallel for consistent performance with all data volumes.
- 220+ low-code data transformation components.
- Limited business application destination connectors (Salesforce, NetSuite, HubSpot, Facebook Ads and Google Analytics).
- Does not support trigger-based job execution, batch from every 5 minutes frequency only.
Dataloader.io, a Salesforce-owned data loading tool developed by MuleSoft, offers a simple web-based interface for manually loading data to Salesforce. Supporting only file formats, including CSV and Excel, Dataloader.io makes it easy to manually load to Salesforce.
Although it may not possess the advanced capabilities of full-fledged integration platforms, Dataloader.io provides a user-friendly solution for basic data loading requirements. This may be an ideal option if you’re looking for an affordable and straightforward solution that allows you to upload files to Salesforce, without requiring extensive data preparation or transformation.
- Easy to use for simple data importing with small data volumes.
- Export from Salesforce capabilities.
- Limited data connectors (manual upload, SFTP, FTP Box, DropBox).
- No data transformation capabilities.
Census belongs to a new breed of tools in the ‘Reverse ETL’ space. These solutions facilitate the movement of data from a company’s data warehouse to a wide variety of operational systems, such as Salesforce, NetSuite, Zendesk, and more. Census supports data transformations and preparation using a code-based SQL interface.
While these Reverse ETL solutions are highly proficient in their intended purpose, they are not an option if you want to load data into Salesforce from non-data warehouse sources.
- Wide variety of supported data destinations.
- Complete automation supported with scheduling.
- Can only ingest data from data warehouses.
- Proficient SQL knowledge required for data transformations.
Workato is part of the modern iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) solutions that were built to provide simple application to application integration. With its intuitive interface and pre-built connectors, users can easily configure integrations between Salesforce and external systems without the need for extensive coding. It also provides advanced workflow automation capabilities, allowing users to streamline business processes and enhance data accuracy.
Workato excels in providing application to application data integration with lightweight data transformation and/or preparation. However, it is typically not the right tool for use cases involving high data volumes, complex transformations, and non-application data sources (databases, data warehouses, etc).
When it comes to working with large data volumes, Workato and other iPaaS solutions tend to struggle. This is due to the fact that they process data through their systems one record at a time.
- Wide array of application to application integrations available.
- Embedded integration capabilities.
- Performance challenges as data volumes scale due to processing data one record at a time.
- Connectivity challenges with non-application connectors such as on-prem databases, data warehouses, etc.
The Salesforce data integration landscape offers a range of solutions to meet diverse business needs. Whether you’re a large enterprise company with complex data requirements or a smaller organization seeking a quick and user-friendly solution, there is an option available for you.
Consider your specific use cases, implementation timelines, resource availability, and budget constraints when selecting the right integration platform. With the right choice, you can seamlessly integrate external data into Salesforce, unlock valuable insights, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
If, upon reading the information provided above, you believe that Integrate.io could be the suitable tool for your needs, you can schedule a consultation with one of our solution engineers here.