Old Friends and Disconnected Systems

Old Friends and Disconnected Systems

Recently I had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend who I had not spoken with in quite a long time! He told me he was thinking about me and decided to give me a call. I listened to his voicemail and felt bad that I had not called him first! When we finally connected and caught up with one another on our personal lives then our conversation drifted to what we were both doing at work.

As usual, our professional lives were busy with meeting deadlines, getting reports, data and the ever present spreadsheets up to our bosses. My friend shared a story with me how getting a quote to a new prospect required looking up historical sales numbers in different software systems and why the IT folks could not finally get to his project. I said we were not high enough on the food chain to warrant getting a project done in our lifetime! He laughed and said that was probably true but offered to bribe the IT folks with donuts! I didn’t offer any solution to my friend’s problem, but silently agreed with him.  In the meantime he was left to fend for himself crunching numbers working way past 5pm on many nights to meet the ever present deadline.

This made me think about how many companies throw bodies at problems rather than looking at the productivity loss and cost to the company about the next new software system that’s going to “solve every problem we have, promises a great adoption rate and make your coffee! Then the reality sets in that like every system requires training, maintenance, data cleansing, integration, etc, etc…

There has to be a better way to integrate systems than field mapping and writing custom code. Our efforts to connect socially have taken leaps and bounds forward, but our business systems still use methods developed in the 60’s and 70’s to connect! We can communicate easier with our social system that did not even exist a decade ago! We are more connected socially than ever. We can talk, text, chat, post in ways we have not thought of a decade ago but our business systems still require us to use methods from generations past! There has to be a better way.


At the end of my phone conversation with my old friend, we promised we would try to do a better job staying connected, and we agreed to keep each other honest in keeping that promise. I left the conversation feeling better that I had reconnected with my old friend, I went back to my consolidation spreadsheet not holding out much hope that my systems would stay connected.

Managing across On-Premise and Cloud based Software Applications

Managing On-Premise and Cloud based Software Applications

Managing a complex software landscape of On-Premise and Cloud based applications is now a fact of life.

As we have moved into a new year it’s now commonly known that many companies have seen the benefits of having some of their software applications live in the cloud. From the smallest to the largest of companies now have a mix of Cloud and On-Premise applications! We are now asking our employees to jump from a desktop, to a browser to an in-house application. We ask them to do this with less time, less coworkers, be more productive, get it done faster, but we heap upon them more disconnected systems! Or we have point to point interfaces that are rolled out on a schedule that is probably less than desirable.

Business and back office support don’t always move at the same speed. Business needs and requirements change much quicker than the “corporate roadmap” of IT projects! This increase in complexity increases operational costs, lowers productivity and impedes the ability to quickly respond to competitive pressures.

Let’s take an example of a prospect looking to get a quote from your company on a product or service. Your CRM system is cloud based, your logistics system is an on premise ERP system and the prospect wants a simple quote. Let’s think about the workflow of tasks that you are asking your sales team to handle.

1.      The cloud based CRM system contains a lead, contact, opportunity and other information from this prospect.

2.      The ERP system does not contain any Customer Master data on this prospect (it’s a prospect!)

3.      The ERP needs certain master and transactional information in order to create a price quote.

4.      Once the employee has entered this information into the ERP and has generated the price quote the data has to be transferred to the cloud based CRM system to keep this system updated.

5.      All of this information needs to be handled in a timely manner otherwise the prospect will just move on to another supplier!

If the business unit is asking for this integration the IT department thinks of this process as another requirement that needs to get prioritized and scheduled for some future date! Does this sound like your organization? Do we need to rethink how we approach integration of Cloud versus On-Premise software systems?  

In the past these types of interfaces were designed to replicate data from one system to the other.  This approach requires middleware which must talk to either system and involves a big IT project.  This type of integration is complex and costly with constant administration needed to keep the duplicate sets of data in synch. 

In the new world of cloud based platforms, the better alternative is often to utilize web services to allow one system to talk to the other.  This is a real-time call to the other system, eliminating the need for complex data replication.  Modern web services follow universal standards so there is no dependence on a single IT vendor’s proprietary technology.  Web services can be implemented quickly and at much lower cost than middleware.  Web services can enable “mashup” apps, or composite applications which allow the user to see real-time information from multiple sources on one screen.

Now reimagine our prior business scenario where the salesperson creates a new prospect in their CRM system and with the click of a button immediately obtains real-time product price and availability from the company ERP system.  The prospect is so impressed with the level of service, they may place their order on the spot!

Salesforce 1 Lightning Connect to SAP - Part 2 – Debug your Connection

Salesforce 1 Lightning Connect to SAP - Part 2 – Debug your Connection

As a follow up to my previous blog Salesforce 1 Lightning Connect to SAP - Step by Step Guide  I wanted to give salesforce developers / administrators the ability to debug the Lightning Connection they had setup. Before we get too involved in the debugging aspects of Lighting Connect you should understand that salesforce has built this based upon the industry standards of the oData protocols  http://www.odata.com. Please understand that the URL string that you are defining in salesforce Lightning Connect has 3 primary components they are:

SGC Enterprise Mashups for Oracle Sales Cloud Now Available in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace

SGC Enterprise Mashups for Oracle Sales Cloud Now Available in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace

 SGC SOFTWARE, a leading provider of software applications that accelerate the speed of
 business and a Silver level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), today announced that
 SGC Enterprise Mashups™ are now available in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, offering added
 value to Oracle Sales Cloud.  SGC Enterprise Mashups™ can enable Oracle Sales Cloud
 customers to access critical ERP information directly in Oracle Sales Cloud screens.

Salesforce 1 Lightning Connect to SAP - Step by Step Guide

Salesforce 1 Lightning Connect to SAP - Step by Step Guide

OK, so your company has SAP on the back end and getting data to your salesforce.com instance has been a series of data loader exercises or waiting for someone on the middleware team to get to your integration request…Well that’s about to change big time! Salesforce 1 has been making a very big push to allow for direct system to system integration and you will no longer require the Data Loader or other middleware tools to connect the 2 systems. You can directly write APEX code or create a report and the external data looks like a custom object in the salesforce.com system.