For companies that subscribe to both NetSuite and SalesForce, integrating the two platforms isn’t a matter of if but when. And when that time comes, it’s important for the project managers to ask the right questions to ensure their business is working with a partner that can do the job right…the first time. A messy NetSuite Salesforce integration can set companies back months and can take a long time to fix, even when another consultant is brought in to resolve the issue. Making sure the consultant you select to do the integration is capable and experienced, should be a top priority for any project manager.
So we have created a list of questions that NetSuite/SalesForce customers should ask any development consultant offering to integrate your ERP/CRM.
1.Which API will you be using?
When specifically integrating these two platforms, there is an option to use the SOAP or REST API’s, and each API has its specific uses. SOAP is available out of the box, for NetSuite, and is great for batch or near real time processing. REST, on the other hand, requires custom development but is better for real time processing. There are other examples, but I think you get the point. Your consultant should be aware of these differences and be able to use them to build you a more efficient application.
2. How will you be integrating the data flows?
Most records translate easily across the two systems. Accounts are accounts and customers are customers. But, what if you want to empower your sales staff to be able to tell their customers when their orders have been fulfilled? SalesForce doesn’t have an object type for fulfillment’s, how would you get that information to sales reps? There are a number of situations like this that can occur depending on the specifics of your project. Make sure the consultant can handle your specific requirements!
3. How will you be developing the integration?
Years ago, this wasn’t a question that customers had much say in. The NetSuite SalesForce integration would be entirely hand-written, which takes as much time as it sounds, and made integration projects much more cost prohibitive. Today, things have changed. Platforms like Jitterbit, Boomi, and Mulesoft have made integrations much more efficient and accessible. Additionally, a number of NetSuite Salesforce specific “connector” applications exist on the market are designed to set up simple integrations in remarkably low turnaround times.
Depending on your requirements you may need a platform subscription, a custom application built from scratch, just a connector, or perhaps a combination of options. The salient point being that it is important that your consultant has knowledge of the new advancements in the industry and uses the most efficient tools available. Otherwise, you may be paying them to reinvent the wheel.
4. How will you be sure the application is ready for “go-live?”
Consultants should be familiar with creating “test cases” that mimic the desired outcomes specified in the requirements. Once they have passed all the pre-planned test scenarios its safe to assume the application is ready to go-live.
There is also something to be said for error handling. The consultant should be able to describe a process for creating detailed error messages and notifying the user there is a problem.
It is also important for the consultant be able to create and test the new integration application in a sandbox-type of environment rather than the production environment, to not hinder new development. The consultant should be able to describe a plan or process to move code/logic from the “test” to the “production” environment in order to kick off “go-live.”
5. What kind of Support do you offer?
Support is a box you will want to check and then double check when selecting a partner to work with for an integration project. With complex software integrations, things will go wrong, you will have questions, and things will stop working! When all of this happens, you’ll need someone to turn to, and the support teams and SalesForce and NetSuite won’t be able to help you, now. Make sure the consultants you choose have an internal process capable of keeping up with your project and have the bandwidth to give you the support you need to feel comfortable.
Jeremy McCourt is an content producer in the enterprise software industry that focuses on NetSuite and related cloud-based software solutions.
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