Salesforce and SAP integration: Benefits, challenges, and best practices
If your company uses both Salesforce and SAP, it's important to integrate the two APIs so that you can share data between the two applications and get a more robust picture of your customer service and sales activity.
In this article, we'll talk through why and how to integrate Salesforce and SAP.
What are Salesforce and SAP?
Salesforce and SAP are two of the most common enterprise business solutions, serving different purposes within the business.
Salesforce is the world's largest CRM platform, enabling businesses to track marketing and sales leads across a variety of channels, including email, web chat, phone, and in-app support. You can track your sales activity by monitoring your customers' responses such as email opens and clicks, get an instant snapshot of previous interactions and purchases for each customer, and get a forecast of anticipated future sales activity based on where each prospect is in the sales pipeline and how likely they are to convert.
Salesforce is used to help businesses grow and nurture customer relationships, gain detailed insights on revenue projections, and close deals faster with smart automation workflows.
SAP, on the other hand, is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that integrates data from every department. With SAP, you can incorporate your accounting data, CRM data, supply chain management data, and purchasing data all in one centralized platform. SAP supports companies in managing business processes, so that they can maximize efficiencies, spot opportunities, and analyze risks. SAP helps organizations analyze business trends, so that they can make better business decisions.
Both solutions are valuable independently—but by integrating them, your business can make use of the two powerful applications to get deep insights from your sales and marketing activities and tie them into your business processes and financial analyses. That enables you to get an all-in-one view of your business, including predictions for future revenue that can help you plan your operating budget.
Benefits of a Salesforce and SAP integration
By integrating Salesforce with SAP, you'll be able to streamline and automate many of your business processes, and get detailed insights on your business performance.
For example, if a new customer signs up for your subscription service, you can send through a 360-degree profile of their customer data from Salesforce to SAP. From here, it can be used to automatically create invoices, as well as for data trend analysis for financials and revenue projections.
Automatically integrating the two services means that you're eliminating redundancies and manual labor. Rather than doing manual exports or data entry, your team will be able to automatically populate Salesforce data into SAP in real-time, eliminating manual errors and delays and providing quick access to insights that can inform better business decisions.
Integrating Salesforce and SAP together connects the front office to the back office, helping you get better insights into your business that can inform your strategy.
Challenges of integrating Salesforce and SAP
Integrations between the two applications aren't always simple, as they each have their own ecosystems. Many of SAP's offerings are offered only as legacy on-premises solutions, whereas Salesforce is entirely cloud-based.
Both applications require specific industry expertise to integrate outside technologies. Integrating the two together can be a big project, taking up a large amount of IT resources and tools — and your IT team may not have the required experience to manage the implementation successfully.
Even with dedicated resources, it can be a large undertaking, as there are many data fields that need to be merged and synchronized from one platform to the other.
Best practices for integration
When conducting the integration, don't try to undertake the entire project at once. It's important to take a phased approach to data migration, integrating the most common use cases first so that you can begin making the most of the integration from an early phase.
Rather than taking a direct integration approach, it can also be valuable to set up a staging approach to integration, using a third-party platform where you can replicate all of the data and perform operations on it prior to completing the integration. This staging area provides you with a better opportunity to make use of data cleansing and other complex database functions.
While you may have the technical talent in-house to support an integration, the integration process can be time-consuming and take your engineers away from other important projects.
Working with a third-party Salesforce integration consultant that has conducted many previous successful integrations streamlines the process, utilizing the best practices they’ve established over the years. This can keep your team focused on your own product development needs, and expedite the process of completing your Salesforce-SAP integration.
Salesforce and SAP are important business applications that can help you automate your business and make use of data analytics to drive new insights for shaping your business strategy. By integrating the front office and back office functions of Salesforce and SAP, you'll be able to use real-time marketing and sales data to gain a better understanding of data trends within the organization, and to automate workflows and financial forecasting.
This integration is the next step in digital transformation for your organization, giving you a clear view of all aspects of your business in one unified platform. Get started with a Salesforce SAP integration to bring your entire business together and get the insights you need to drive growth.