Extending the Power of Salesforce Products with Heroku

Salesforce has a wide and diverse ecosystem of applications to support many common businesses practices. Understanding which is the best fit for your business is crucial to ensuring that you get the return on your investment you need. Some solutions may bring you 80% of the way but is that enough? When do you need to extend the capability of an out of the box product and when do you need to look at a more customized approach?

“First, solve the problem. Then, write the code.” ~ John Johnson

Salesforce Community Cloud

Community Cloud allows you to create branded sites to connect customers, partners, and internal users with the CRM data housed in Salesforce. It is perfect for enabling collaboration between groups and is a powerful way to allow your customers and partners to interact with your business.

Within the Community Cloud umbrella there are two options: Partner Community Cloud andService Community Cloud.

Partner Community Cloud is sales-orientated and is most often utilized by large companies to provide CRM access to resellers of their products. The owning company creates private, portioned licenses within the larger Salesforce organization. Within this abbreviated, partitioned instance, the reseller can perform many of the same functions as those internal to the organization. The partnered reseller may create cases and run marketing campaigns and interact with the same data seen by internal users.

Extending Partner Community Cloud

As your organization grows and acquires other businesses that are operating a Salesforce Partner Community, combining the two into a single instance may seem like a logical step. However, this can slow processes and increase the complexity associated with managing what was once two distinct entities.

Developing a solution in Heroku enables executive teams to get reliable data on the entirePartner Community without slowing down your teams by doubling the data within their Community. Feeding data from all of your Partner Communities into a meta record that is accessed by Heroku enables streamlined reporting to the executive team while maintaining simplified interactions with the CRM for your teams.

Service Community Cloud is your customer-facing, service orientated solution. It allows your customers to create service tickets to log help desk requests and your internal users to manage customer support orders. However, the cost associated with managing high-user volumes can overwhelm budgets.

“The cloud services companies of all sizes…The cloud is for everyone. The cloud is a democracy.” ~ Marc Benioff, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Salesforce

Extending Service Community Cloud

Consider a solution built on Heroku if your business processes demand customized objects, tables, and metadata or interaction with non-CRM data (such as order fulfillment tracking, project management data, or time keeping).

Polluting your CRM with non-CRM related applications and functions, such as purchase order line items, operations data, back office information, and manufacturing data is not cost effective and could make your Salesforce instance unwieldy, driving down user adoption.

For businesses with high user volume, a solution built in Heroku is often simpler, more flexible, and cost effective. Within a Heroku solution, it is easy to assign unique access levels without creating many, slightly different, profiles. As your user volume increases, the solution easily scales to meet the increased demand without increasing the complexity of the system by generating additional profiles.

Flexible businesses need solutions that flex to meet changing needs. Often, slight changes implemented within the Salesforce ecosystem creates ripple-effects throughout the organization. Building a separate, yet connected, solution in Heroku prevents this from happening while maintaining the flexibility of the organization.

High user volume means a large number of licenses, each with an associated cost. By contrast, a Heroku solution is often more cost effective over the long run for businesses that need or anticipate needing unique logins for a large number of users. Further cost savings are often realized through the long term maintenance of the solution. Heroku-based applications are developed in common languages, such as Node.js or Java. Instead of hiring a Salesforce expert to code on Force.com, your application can often be maintained by your own internal IT team.

Analytics Cloud

Analytics Cloud is a business intelligence platform that provides data visualization. It has an intuitive user-interface and provides all of the reporting needed for many businesses. Analytics Cloud can interact with other applications to pull in data from several sources. Although this approach requires careful maintenance of fields across many applications.

To streamline analytics reporting, consider consolidating data into a master layer in Heroku and sending that data to Analytics Cloud. Centralizing data allows you to build customized dashboards and effectively manage your business based on sound reporting.

What if you want to integrate your Salesforce data with another business intelligence tool? If you are utilizing another data visualization solution, such as Elasticsearch or Kibana Charts, leverage Heroku Connect to pull data out of Salesforce and into your chosen solution. Heroku based solutions can bring data out of Salesforce to manipulate in another application or push data into Salesforce to marry it with your CRM data.

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” ~ John W. Tukey

Where is your truth?

If you are struggling to find a single source of truth to define the health of your business, your business intelligence system is not working like it should. Operating several disparate systems — one for quoting, another for human resources, and a distinct CRM solution — makes it difficult to understand how data is related. Instead of forcing non-CRM data into your CRM solution, create a master data layer that stores and manages the information from all of your business systems. Leverage the information within this layer as your single source of truth for decision-making.

IoT Cloud

Perhaps the most interesting and the most potential-filled Salesforce product is IoT Cloud. Leveraging the power of the Internet of Things within your business — whether to facilitate on-demand maintenance, track logistics, or gain next-level field performance data — is a game changer. The IoT Cloud taps into your Salesforce database to connect sensor data with CRM data.

A custom application in Heroku can further extend the capability of IoT Cloud by acting on that data. While your sensor in the field is pulling in performance data and IoT Cloud is connecting that data to a specific customer, your Heroku solution could be generating cases within Salesforce based on the data collected by the sensor. For instance, your sensor may alert to a maintenance condition, with a Heroku solution that connects to the data in Salesforce, your customer will receive a customized notice of the condition and an option to schedule the service.

Operating within the Salesforce ecosystem provides your business with a wealth of tools to engage with customers, understand business operations, and extend the capability of your service offerings. Maximizing and augmenting the features available within Salesforce and bringing together your Salesforce products with other business applications utilizing a Heroku based solution allows you to further increase your Salesforce ROI, increase the flexibility of your business and streamline complex business processes.