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Companies today are faced with a new challenge caused by the recent boom in cloud "as-a-service" offerings: decentralized data. The average company that my firm speaks to on a daily basis has anywhere from 14 to 30+ different software packages that their distributed teams use on a daily basis. The average company will have GSuite/Office, internal communication, web conferencing, marketing automation, social media engagement, data cleansing, CRM, quote to cash, billing, ERP, HR, and we haven’t even mentioned software required to build their product or offerings!
All of the aforementioned software suites create data. Lots of it. Users who reap the benefits of having all of this technology at their fingertips also suffer from the multitude of different places they must go to get their data questions answered. Moreover, because this data lives across multiple platforms, users are unable to connect the dots to receive predictive notifications and early warnings when datasets may need to sound an alarm. Luckily, we’ve solved this problem along with the help of some of our partners.
When trying to integrate data sources, there are a lot of options available. From the SMB-focused tools like Zapier and Integrate.io to the more substantial players like Mulesoft, Boomi, Jitterbit and Informatica, there is no shortage of integration tools and platforms on the market. Each of these tools have their own pros and cons, which can be an entire blog post unto itself. All of these tools are made to pass data between systems -- like if you wanted to pass all of your Marketo data to Salesforce to create opportunities, then send that information to NetSuite for billing and order management.
The challenge that this creates is that it’s difficult to determine a central source of truth for all of the data when you’re integrating systems with one another. In many scenarios, we’ve seen clients integrate systems for the purpose of reporting. This approach is flawed because once you have multiple sources of data, it becomes very difficult to determine a source of truth, gather data from external sources, and report effectively.
Fivetran offers over 150 connectors to applications and cloud platforms commonly used by modern-day companies. Once you install Fivetran connectors, they get to work normalizing and transforming your data from all of these different sources into one shared data language and store that transformed and up-to-date dataset in a data warehouse like Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, or Databricks.
Once all of your data across all of your platforms has been duplicated, normalized and loaded into your data warehouse, you now have the ability to run business intelligence and data visualization tools (think Tableau, Looker, etc.) on top of your new source of truth. This means you can combine your Facebook, Google and Twitter ad conversion data with your Marketo campaign data set to see which channels are converting with the most velocity. Then, you can couple those data sets with your Salesforce data set to see the entire funnel and ROI metrics that you can tie back to the original channel, ad and time of day the ad was clicked. This is only one small example of how Fivetran unlocks cross-platform reporting.
Now that we’ve established our end goal of connecting all of our disparate data sets for a unified view of our business on a single pane of glass, we can talk about how to implement best-in-class software apps. That’s where Salesforce Customer 360 comes in. Rather than thinking of Customer 360 as a product unto itself, you should think of it as the result of combining Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Commerce into an all-in-one unified platform (giving you a 360-degree view of your customer).
Salesforce Customer 360 includes the following apps:
Marketing Cloud: Covers social media management/sentiment monitoring, email marketing, SMS messaging, and DMP.
Sales Cloud: Salesforce’s core product offering as well as a host of add-on products like High Velocity Sales for sales automation and Revenue Cloud for quoting, configuring, and billing.
Service Cloud: Salesforce’s customer success and service platform which covers service desk functionality, field service and routing, omnichannel support, knowledgebase, self-help portals, live chat and intelligent support bots which operate on your website and on mobile devices within your company’s product.
Commerce Cloud: Through a host of Salesforce acquisitions in recent years, they have built a formidable presence in B2B and B2C e-commerce. This includes a full content management system that competes with the likes of Magento coupled with blazingly fast mobile and web experiences for order management and headless commerce.
With the core four product lines above, virtually any company can build their entire customer-facing front end on the Salesforce platform without having to worry about any third party integrations or clunky middleware to connect them together. However, it’s important to note that your company will have software needs outside of the customer-facing apps described above. Here are a few that Fivetran can help you gather data for in order to combine all of your datasets for the sake of BI and reporting:
ERP: In SMB, Middle Market, and Commercial sectors, NetSuite is far and away the leader in cloud ERP. Luckily, NetSuite integrates extremely well with Salesforce. In the enterprise space, this is where you will see the common tier-1 ERP vendors like SAP and Oracle which also integrate with Salesforce.
HCM: Your employees and contractors need to get paid, offer letters need to go out, and jobs need to be listed publicly, right? That’s where human capital management and workplace services software like Workday, BambooHR, and SAP come into play. Fivetran connects with these as well.
Collaboration: Slack, Teams, Zoom, Citrix, Outlook, Gmail, and everything in between is largely where your team will spend a majority of their day. Luckily, all of these aforementioned productivity tools have integration points with Salesforce Customer 360 which will enable you to use your activity and meeting data that you collect daily in your overall reporting strategy.
In today’s tech-first workplace, it can be very easy to amass an army of productivity and business management software packages based on solving the needs of a growing company. One of the most important roles that my company (Plative) plays is to help companies pause and think about their overall data strategy to come up with the end outcomes and key metrics that will need to be measured and improved through the implementation of these softwares. That’s why we always preach that it’s just as important to pick your data replication, warehouse, and reporting strategy as it is to select the software that you plan to implement.
If your company needs help prioritizing and implementing a data strategy, make sure to contact us to help you map out your next digital innovation project.