Enterprise Automation with Box, Salesforce and DocuSign APIs
This post is a continuation of my previous post of Reimagining the customer on-boarding experience with Box, Salesforce, DocParser, Twilio, and Stamplay
The low-code platform I used in the original post, Stamplay was actually acquired by Apple in March of this year, and as far as I can tell, the talent / technology has made its way into shortcuts and personal automations in iOS. There is something to be said for that. Despite all these mobile apps out there, we can even be more productive if we can run seamless logic across them all.
Taking a look at the software landscape for enterprise-sized businesses: the average employee actively uses 36 cloud services at work, exponential year-over-year growth of APIs (currently 22,000 APIs listed on ProgrammableWeb), and pressures to transform business processes to digital which has created the need for more automation. This introduces challenges across interoperability, modality, security and compliance disciplines that are not easily solved. With the right tools, these challenges can be largely addressed, which I’ll illustrate with best of breed SaaS applications and APIs.
At Box, we realize the content experience is broken today across applications and systems. That’s why we invest in integrations with other a best in class SaaS applications like Office 365, Slack, Salesforce and DocuSign. The joint experience of these integrations is superior to that of incumbents. Not only that, but the pace at which best of breed solutions innovate at outpace incumbents as well.
Many SaaS applications have their own workflow tools to operate within the confines of their own solutions. At Box, we released the all new Box Relay which is making it easier for all Box users to build document workflows right within the Box application experience. The reality is we have been running content-centric workflows ever since we had a public API. Box Relay has just made workflow accessible for everyone to build and deploy. We see a need for both approaches and customers should embrace both.
SaaS integrations and their native workflow tools are built for the lowest common denominators across widely applicable use cases and that has proven to be beneficial. Take, for example, Box’s very successful Salesforce and DocuSign integrations which are horizontal in nature. As attractive as it may sound, Box will not build specific integrations for Salesforce Financial Services Cloud or DocuSign Rooms for Mortgage, because we cannot build an integration to satisfy every unique individual deployment. These platforms have best in class APIs, SDKs, and developer toolkits to solve for these scenarios. The focal point of this blog post is to say that orchestrating logic across best of breed APIs is not only a good thing, it’s advantageous.
Despite more and more fragmented architectures coming our way as a result of multiple cloud apps and new APIs being introduced at an unprecedented pace, there’s lingering hesitation to fully adopt multiple platforms as a solution strategy. Over the years, I have noticed some barriers that are preventing organizations from fully adopting this approach.
1) The “one stop shop” buyers’ mentality
What vendor can meet most of our needs vs. What technologies do we need to fit our strategic roadmap. Most RFP processes and procurement vehicles still favour a single vendor approach to solve everything. In my experience, I come to believe that those who have adopted the best of breed approach are even more concerned about the future rather than just the immediate benefits of putting a particular solution in place. It’s about having a stack that can deliver solutions at a greater velocity. The trajectory a technology is on is often overlooked when making decisions.
2) API literacy
I am not accusing people of not being able to read APIs. However, there does seem to be a deficit at the decision table of people who can understand a business problem or opportunity and connect it to a solution built by several APIs across platforms.
3)The “pipe fitter” mentality
You are my File Synch and Share solution; you fit here.
You are my ECM solution; you have always have fit here.
You are my CRM solution, hopefully, you are adopted here.
You are my AI/ML solution, I don’t know where you fit yet.
Systems that should work together are typically chosen and managed separately. In addition, new technologies are forced to work with existing investments in legacy systems which often results in disconnected processes and bad experiences. However, the digital experiences organizations want to create requires workflow across all of these. Telling our employees, customers and partners that the process is disconnected due to separate systems is no longer acceptable. Whether it’s cloud-to-cloud or a mix of on-prem and cloud applications, the need for more automation and process orchestration remains. As a result, at Box we are having conversations with our customers’ collaboration, digital workplace, digital client experience, ECM, CRM, compliance and security teams to name a few.
I built a robust on-boarding case management solution that’s document centric leveraging Box, Salesforce, DocuSign and a custom app to assist my customers in these conversations. I did not leverage any of the off the shelf integrations between the applications. I modified the Salesforce data model, user interface and leveraged an integration platform called Workato to run seamless workflow logic across the platforms resulting in more automation and better user experience.
Here’s a short video of the solution I built
The benefits of the solution:
Reduction of cycle times for on-boarding clients by having:
- Structured (CRM) and unstructured (documents) data in one place
- No dead space between otherwise manual steps thanks to API (webhook) notifications.
A single source of truth of documents with granular security and audit trail throughout the on-boarding process.
Built in governance
Records management retention schedules built right into the process as opposed to manual steps prone to human error.
Workato is an intelligent automation platform. They are recognized by Forrester as a leader in iPaaS. Their impressive customer list includes Visa, Goldman Sachs, Cisco, eTrade, Salesforce and Box. Security — yes, reliability — yes and scalability — yes. The whole interface is point and click sequential ordering and looping of if-then-else logic across API calls of multiple applications where variables returned from one API call can be used in the next regardless of which platform API set it’s from.
My goal is not to give you a step by step tutorial on how to re-build what I did because what you will want to accomplish may be something different. My goal is to make you think differently about the real potential of leveraging APIs across best of breed platforms.
Don’t just take it from me, read our customer stories like ATB Financial who wrote a great article linked below how they leveraged Box, CRM and SAP APIs to build what they call “the layer cake” of multiple systems and referring to APIs as the icing bringing it all together.
If you want to learn more about this approach, feel free to leave a comment.
Baking a Layer Cake: Deliciously Automated Records Management: https://alphabeta.atb.com/article/baking-a-layer-cake-deliciously-automated-records-management/
Box and DocuSign Integration: https://www.box.com/partners/docusign
Box and Salesforce Integration: https://www.box.com/partners/salesforce
Box UI elements: https://developer.box.com/en/guides/embed/ui-elements/
Workato and Box recipes: https://www.workato.com/integrations/box