Salesforce Lightning Connect Introduction
Salesforce has long been the go-to CRM sales tool for organizations large and small. A big reason why is that it can easily integrate with other platforms, giving enterprises the data that they need without having to reinvent the wheel.
One of the biggest innovations from the Salesforce team in recent years is the Lightning platform. This has opened up a new wave of possibilities for IT teams to get the best real-time information into the hands of decision-makers.
Read on to find out Salesforce Lightning Connect and how you can set it up in your organization.
The Lightning Platform
The Lightning Platform is a set of developer tools that let you integrate data, automate processes, and build pages from one place.
You can build or use one of the many developer apps in existence to improve your systems and be more efficient with your sales processes.
What is Salesforce Lightning Connect?
Normally when you look at data in Salesforce, it’s only data that’s stored within the Salesforce System. If you wanted to have access of another database, you’d usually have to copy that database into Salesforce and update that database regularly to ensure the information is accurate.
It’s not an ideal situation because you have to ensure the integrity of the database.
Enter Salesforce Lightning Connect. Salesforce Lightning Connect lets you connect to external databases so you can view the information in real-time.
That’s a complete gamechanger for many enterprises and IT departments. Instead of managing a slew of different databases in Salesforce, you just connect to the external database and view the data. No need to fumble with integrations and code.
This is great for all types of organizations that have data in different locations. For example, if you find that your sales team needs to see invoice information for customers, Lightning Connect lets you do that.
You set up Lightning to connect to the database where your invoices reside, and that information will appear when the sales team makes a query. The information will refresh with each page load, so information is accurate and reliable.
You can connect to Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and other back-office systems.
The one thing that’s important to note is that you have access to view the data alongside your data in Salesforce. You don’t have access to change the external databases, only view them.
How Does Lightning Connect Work?
What you need to do is to set up an external object in Salesforce. It’s actually pretty easy to do and it doesn’t require hours of coding. Instead, it just a few minutes of clicking.
For starters, you’ll want to make sure that you’re set up to use the Lightning Platform. It may be an additional cost in some versions of Salesforce.
Note that you can only have up to 100 external objects in Salesforce. This is plenty for most organizations.
One other thing to keep in mind is that Salesforce uses the OData protocol to access data. This is the Open Data protocol that’s already used by Microsoft and Oracle. This means that you Salesforce connects to the external data, it doesn’t show as a series of symbols because there’s a miscommunication between data sources.
The moment you connect your external database to Salesforce, it’s treated as a native database. It’s like you created a custom object in Salesforce, the only difference being that the object is pointing to an external source.
Since these objects are treated equally by the platform, users can interact with the data in a similar way. They can be viewed on mobile and desktop devices.
That’s huge because it gives your team a way to view critical information from just about anywhere, whether in the office or at a client’s site.
Making the Connection
How do you connect your external database to Salesforce? Start by going to Setup. You’ll then select External Object and click on New External Object.
You’ll then fill out some data about the external object, such as the database URL, type of OData (2.0 vs. 4.0). You’ll then validate and sync the database to Salesforce.
In the sync, Salesforce Connect will pull the metadata (name, address, contact information, etc.) from the database.
You’ll pick the ones that you want to appear in query results and complete the sync.
When the sync is complete, you’ll see that Salesforce created the external objects based on the parameters you set, and it’s matched up with fields in Salesforce.
This is the first step in creating an external object in Salesforce. Your next step is to create a relationship to the existing data within Salesforce. For example, if you wanted to link an invoice to a customer, you’d create an external lookup relationship.
Salesforce Lightning Connect Changes How You Do Business
In sales, you need every slight advantage that you can get. The more information you have at your fingertips when you’re meeting with clients, the better.
When you use Salesforce Lightning Connect in your business, you can change how you access information without a lot of headaches. It’s easy for your IT team to set up external objects, so your team can view critical information in real-time, even if that information isn’t native to Salesforce.
It makes like a lot easier and gives your team a leg up on the competition.
Do you want to know more about how you can integrate Salesforce with other platforms? Reach out to CloudFirst Labs and find out how we can help today!