Why Connect your Apps to Salesforce

Founded in 2014, our focus here at Oktana is to help customers integrate their systems with Salesforce, whether through custom development or integration with third-party services. Our onshore and nearshore Salesforce experts have certifications across a wide range of products in addition to Salesforce, like Informatica (Informatica Specialist Certification) and MuleSoft (MuleSoft Certified Developer – Level 1, Mule 4 Certification).

WHY CONNECT YOUR APPS TO SALESFORCE

We have helped our customers integrate their Salesforce ecosystem with almost everything. Our experience ranges from complex data migrations to building personalized user experiences, enabling companies to connect and leverage data of any kind to create a 360-degree view of their business. Across multiple industries, we have helped our customers integrate with technologies like Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Bevy, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, LinkedIn, Webex, Gotomeeting, MuleSoft, and many more. Read more about Oktana’s Salesforce Integrations stories.

The idea of integrating with Salesforce is to make your Salesforce CRM experience even better. Uniting information into personalized views helps users and managers make better decisions. In other words, connecting Salesforce with apps and tools that you already use helps you run your business more efficiently and provides much greater operational visibility.

For a Salesforce integration process to go smoothly it is important to understand your business goals, create a fool-proof plan, and provide training for your team to make the most out of your Salesforce integration services. 

 

What are the different types of Salesforce integrations?

1. App-Based Salesforce Integration

The vast majority of organizations use Salesforce to manage data, develop leads, and provide effective customer service. Numerous third-party apps are integrated with Salesforce to streamline the CRM by providing business applications and reducing data duplication. This includes integrating apps from the Salesforce AppExchange. At Oktana, we’ve built and managed several Salesforce AppExchange apps including one of our own, Tok for real-time communication with Chatter.

 

Tok - For real time communications

 

Also, we have worked on implementing MuleSoft solutions since it was first acquired by Salesforce and we are experts at customizing and integrating the new Anypoint Platform™.

 

2. Code-based Salesforce Integration

Salesforce integration can also be done using programming languages. Apex is the default Salesforce programming language that has Java-like syntax. There are numerous advantages of using Apex, the most common ones are that it is easy to use and test, it is hosted on the Lightning Platform, and offers built-in support.

At Oktana, some of our senior staff have more than 15 years of experience programming with Apex.  We’ve worked on projects that required using APEX to make API calls to external systems, allowing access to information that they needed in their Salesforce org. Integrating this way can sometimes be the only option, but it can be more work to maintain than leveraging an app-based integration.

 

What are the possible ways to integrate with Salesforce?

Integration typically occurs within 3 different areas: user interface (UI), business logic, and data to provide a greater level of operational efficiency, standards, and consistency to users.

 

1. User Interface Integration

A great way to permit users to enter multiple apps from a single platform. One such example is the Facebook or Twitter apps. Publish tweets, send messages, and follow others on Twitter automatically. Sync contact data, manage deal flow, and automate your sales pipeline in Salesforce.

 

2. Business Logic Integration

Use Apex to handle business logic across multiple applications. It helps extend the business logic present in Force.com with outside platforms. Apex web services are used for inbound logic integration, to write logic and express it as a web service for external applications. It provides developers with the ability to apply project-specific business logic and the flexibility to add custom logic. 

 

3. Data Integration

Handle data synchronization needs by using SOAP and REST APIs to allow a single application in an enterprise to act as the primary source of a specific business object. 

 

Salesforce Integration Checklist

 

Salesforce Integration Checklist

 

1. Planning & Documentation

Planning and documentation of the assigned project are required to find additional insight into business needs and technical requirements for the project. It should include:

  • Write down the business goals
  • Identify data ownership
  • Understand integration standards & best practices

 
2. The Apps

The application is the most important part of any integration scheme and is vital for the successful accomplishment of the work. It is crucial to understand the apps and how they integrate. It must include:

  • Prepare the data 
  • Understand the dependencies for each application 
  • Enable APIs
  • Consider API limits


3. The Processes

Processes establish the flow of data from one endpoint to another, which helps in staging and modifying data before transmission to other applications. 

  • Identify the endpoints
  • Provision of effective connection for custom integration & 3rd party integration tool
  • Determine data delivery performance for applications
  • Limit and control access to trusted users


At Oktana this is just one of the services that we provide to our customers. If you are looking to boost your business success and profitability request a quote from our Salesforce integration services page. If you would like to be part of our team of Salesforce experts, check our careers page and apply for the job that best fits your skills. 

How do we leverage the Salesforce ConnectApi to build Tok?

To understand the use of the Salesforce ConnectApi, first we need to talk about programming languages. Whether we are experts developers, tech geeks, or an average human being who owns a computer, most of us are, at some level, aware of programs. But, what exactly are they? Well, to keep it simple we will say they are a system of vocabulary and commands that allow humans to communicate with computers. For those who are not familiar with this environment, remember that computers think in binary. They speak in 1s and 0s, so programming languages help us translate our instructions into a language that computers will understand. 

Apex: Salesforce’s programming language.

At some point, you may hear about Java, JavaScript, Python. If you are more experienced, you may also know Ruby, C#, C++ or Swift. All of them are programming languages. Now, what is the scenario when it comes to Salesforce? Well, there is a specific and powerful programming language just for us named Apex. Salesforce created this language to allow developers to run and customize on-demand apps within Salesforce. Salesforce describes it as: 

“Apex is a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language that allows developers to execute flow and transaction control statements on the Lightning Platform server, in conjunction with calls to the API”.

So, how is Apex directly related to us? Well, we build our solutions inside Salesforce, therefore we use Apex as a programming language. Every time we create a product to enhance your experience in the Salesforce environment, we use Apex. That’s what we did for Tok, our app that boosts Chatter capabilities to the next level to ensure real-time communication to our customers. 

What is Chatter REST API?

Let us go a little bit deeper. Shortly after the release of Chatter, the Salesforce enterprise collaboration tool, Salesforce launched Chatter REST API with plenty of messaging features and better integration between third-parties apps and Salesforce through HTTP requests. This way, it would be easier for a group of users to be notified about events. Salesforce designed Chatter API to enhance data delivery and treatment, especially across mobile apps. This API is powerful enough to display a feed on an external system, such as an intranet site after users are authenticated. Salesforce also recommends other uses: 

“Use Chatter REST API to display Chatter feeds, users, groups, and followers, especially in mobile applications. Chatter REST API also provides programmatic access to files, recommendations, topics, notifications, Data.com purchasing, and more. Chatter REST API is similar to APIs offered by other companies with feeds, such as Facebook and Twitter, but it also exposes Salesforce features beyond Chatter.”

With the Summer ‘20 release, the company launched a new version under the name of Connect REST API (Connect REST API Developer Guide – version 49.0). If you explore the Salesforce’s Guide, you will also notice that there is a preview of the next release (winter ‘21 version 50.0). 

ConnectApi: How does Tok leverage Chatter REST API methods and classes?

As you can see, Salesforce built Chatter REST API to establish bridges between Chatter and other independent platforms. But what happens with applications or other solutions that were built on the Salesforce platform like Tok? How does Tok take advantage of all the methods and classes Chatter REST API provides? Well, even though Chatter REST API is a powerful tool, we don’t use it directly. Instead, we use ConnectApi. 

Since Tok uses APEX, Salesforce’s programming language, ConnectApi (also, Connect in APEX) is the best way to access Chatter REST API data and capabilities. It allows our developers to work with feeds, users, groups, messages, and other classes or methods. Salesforce summarizes the power of ConectApi: 

“[Use ConectApi to] create Apex pages that display feeds, post feed items with mentions and topics, and update user and group photos. Create triggers that update Chatter feeds. Many Connect REST API resource actions are exposed as static methods on Apex classes in the ConnectApi namespace. These methods use other ConnectApi classes to input and return information. We refer to the ConnectApi namespace as Connect in Apex.”

Now that you understand how ConnectApi helps us to build Tok, all you need to do is relax. So, take a seat in front of your computer, grab a cup of coffee and experience the way ConnectApi empowers your communications through Tok. If you like this information but you also feel you need to dive deeper, we recommend this article: How Our New App, Tok, Can Improve Business Communication.

Our developers are constantly working to take full advantage of any new version. Haven’t tried Tok yet? Install it here.

Tok 30 day trial

How we connected Salesforce and Slack

The Oktana team built a demo to share how Salesforce and Slack work together. Our team leader walks through how the team built a Node.js app on Heroku that connects to the Slack API and Sales Cloud. The app is capable of both reading and writing to Salesforce from Slack.

You can create and update Salesforce tasks without ever leaving Slack. If someone else updates or assigns a task to you in Salesforce you’ll get a notification alongside all your other Slack messages. Take a look and let us know if something like this might be a good fit for your company.

Hope you’ve found this full walkthrough useful and insightful. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. Our team has worked with different organizations and their projects. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.