MuleSoft, an arm of Salesforce focused on data integration, last week unveiled a tool that promises to make it much easier for users of its parent company’s customer relationship management (CRM) to pull data for external sources without having to write code.
Based on the Anypoint Platform data integration platform that MuleSoft already makes available, MuleSoft Composer is embedded capability within Salesforce to make it easier to pull data from, for example, a finance application into Salesforce using a point-and-click interface.
Salesforce acquired MuleSoft in 2018. MuleSoft has since emerged as the primary tool Salesforce recommends for pulling data into and out of its applications. MuleSoft Composer is designed to make it simple for administrators of Salesforce CRM applications to pull data into Salesforce without the intervention of an internal IT team being required, says Liam Doyle, senior vice president of product management for MuleSoft. It comes with pre-built connectors for NetSuite, Salesforce, Workday, Slack, Google Sheets, and Tableau, another arm of Salesforce.
“Administrators might discover an interesting piece of data for the sales team in NetSuite and now they can just copy it into Salesforce,” says Doyle.
Administrators can also construct workflows that automatically update Salesforce using data collected from external applications, adds Doyle.
MuleSoft plans to make editions for MuleSoft Composer available for other application platforms, said Doyle. However, the level of integration achieved within a Salesforce application environment is going to be tighter because of the level of depth MuleSoft can access Salesforce code, notes Doyle.
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The Self-Service Debate
Data integration for most IT teams is a thankless task that often takes a lot of time away from initiatives that may have a greater impact on the overall business. The more end users can fend for themselves the more time there is to focus on, for example, a digital business transformation initiative.
CRM applications are, of course, at the core of many of those initiatives. Organizations of all sizes have implemented CRM applications as part of an effort to more accurately predict revenues and maximize the amount of revenue generated per customer whenever possible.
Naturally, finance teams want access to CRM applications to gain visibility into the sales pipeline, while sales teams often want more insight into finance applications that are used to determine compensation. Those needs create a lot of demand for integration that, historically, internal IT teams had to set up and maintain. Increasingly, however, end users are self-servicing their own data integration requirements.
IT teams are, of course, conflicted about the level of self-service being enabled. As a rule, IT teams have generally preferred to set up self-service portals through which they make data available to end users that has been fully vetted.
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Data Integration Challenges
The challenge is end users don’t always know what data they want to integrate until they see it and the amount of time they are willing to wait to gain access to that data is dropping to near zero. Tools such as MuleSoft Composer may, for better or worse, effectively reduce the level of control IT teams may have over data integration to basically implementing the connector. In fact, they could in some cases sharply reduce the need for IT teams to set up a separate data integration platform for Salesforce applications altogether.
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