One of the most talked about things at PSC, with justifiable pride I must say, is PSC’s strong background in building integration solutions. In my long tenure at PSC, I have rarely seen a project of decent size that didn’t integrate multiple technologies/systems, especially in recent years. Everybody at PSC appears to just love and excel doing such work. And why not — in today’s IT marketplace, integration is one of the most important keys to success, and companies that don’t integrate well are more likely to lag behind than others.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to work on an interesting project that involved building custom integration between Salesforce and an external website running on Ruby on Rails. One of the nice things about the application was that though the two systems were completely independent entities, the entire website user management, among a lot of other things, was built right into Salesforce. Real seamless integration.
PSC put together a case study around this work which I am happy to share to here.
If you are interested in learning more about this and similar work we do, please leave a comment or email me.
When: Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Time: 2 to 5PM
Where: Citigroup Building
500 W. Madison, 3rd Floor Conference Room
Chicago, IL 60661
Salesforce.com will present on the following topics:
In addition, there is going to be a discussion on Chatter best practices, tips and tricks.
For those who have never attended a Chicago Salesforce User Group meeting before, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed if you attend. This is a very lively, active and helpful group. Come and check it out!
To join, click here and select Chicago in the drop down. It is of course free to join!
My post last week about cost savings with salesforce.com led to some interesting conversation off the blog. One of the readers questioned the cost benefit of salesforce.com, particularly the cost of integration, and declared that moving to salesforce from an on-premises system simply moved the integration costs.
I agree to an extent. Moving to cloud doesn’t eliminate the integration costs. Nobody ever claimed it would. Costs do get moved, but those costs are very likely to be significantly less. It has not only been my direct experience but also of several folks I’ve interacted with. And there are of course several case studies here. I don’t have enough reasons to believe they are falsified.
There is no debate about the fact that the days of siloed IT systems are gone. Systems must co-exist and integrate to provide any value. Whether you are in the cloud or not, you are going to have to build integration. As is the case with any technology, Salesforce.com cannot solve every business problem. In fact, it will be a total misfit in certain situations. The key to success is aligning business needs and available technology to deliver the optimum solution for your specific needs. More likely than not, this solution involves multiple technologies, and how they integrate can prove to be the real difference between success and failure.
And this is one of the key areas where salesforce.com leads the pack. Just take a look at the number of integration middleware available in the market. And if they don’t meet your specific needs, you can write your own without sacrificing an arm and a leg. More than 50% of the traffic on salesforce.com is integration-related. Force.com API today is one of the most popular APIs around. Not without a reason, I am sure.
Before we get too hung up on the cost factor, a word of caution: The real role of IT in any enterprise is not of saving costs for the company. Just like any support service, its primary role is to provide tools and technologies that make the users more efficient and more productive so they can help grow business. If you are picking solutions purely based on cost, you’ve got it all backwards! With salesforce.com, the cost benefit is only incidental, a huge added bonus you get because of the way it has been architected.
Way too often, IT departments’ lack of agility proves to be an obstacle for businesses. How many times have you had to wait weeks if not months before your IT department delivered what you asked for? Not because they don’t care, it’s just that they are too busy doing stuff they shouldn’t have to be doing. If this situation is familiar to you, maybe you should seriously consider salesforce.com.
One of the questions I get asked a lot by folks who are just getting acquainted with Salesforce.com is “does it really save you money?”
Fair question, because obviously they have seen the pricing chart. Anybody can tell that Salesforce/Force.com licenses are anything but cheap.
But my short answer is always: “Yes it does.”
You see, when you talk about cost, it is not always the license fee that burdens you. On-premises infrastructure consisting of disparate systems with different hardware/software requirements, different upgrade cycles and the necessary logistics is almost always going to cost you more money in the long run.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at what IDC found:
Having built custom applications on various platforms, both on-premises and cloud, I can tell you that it is way faster to build applications on salesforce/force.com. If you have questions or want to know more about Salesforce.com, let us talk!
Your IT infrastructure is in the cloud, your apps are in the cloud, your data is in the cloud. So it is quite reasonable to wonder why your app development tools are not in the cloud! Sure, you can do quite a bit of development using force.com’s web-based development UI (including writing triggers and apex classes) but it is nowhere close to what a decent developer would expect.
And with Salesforce.com actively pushing eclipse as their sole IDE for serious development, a cloud-IDE was most likely not going to come from them. Not that I was asking for one!
But it appears there will be a cloud IDE afterall! Not from Salesforce, but from BrainEngline Systems:
Having been a hardcore eclipse user for years (I use it for all my java and force.com development), I confess that it will take a LOT to make me move away from eclipse to any other IDE, let alone a cloud IDE. But I’m very curious to see how it will look/work. I am definitely looking forward to giving it a serious try.
And till the invitation arrives, back to eclipse.
Apropos my previous post where I talked about the need for a public gallery showcasing a variety of enterprise applications that have been built on Force.com platform, I wanted to provide a link to a gallery of web sites built using Force.com Sites (which runs on Force.com platform). While this gallery is restricted to ‘web sites’ and doesn’t address the need I was talking about, it should give you an idea about the potential this powerful platform holds.