It took less than six weeks for Columbus' Solution Architect Niklas Larsson to build one of the first integration templates between the Salesforce CRM system and Infor M3 CloudSuite. Here is the true story of how it happened.
To get a comprehensive picture of your organization, customers and your data, you usually need more than one system. The most common is to have one business system, such as Infor M3 CloudSuite or Microsoft D365, and then build on with more systems for example CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or Business Intelligence.
But it is not always easy to get two different systems to 'talk to each other'. In the worst case, you may have to manually move data between them, which, unsurprisingly, is both time-consuming and increases the margin of error. This is why IT consultants like Niklas Larsson are needed: He makes sure that your systems are integrated with each other and work together smoothly. With ready-made templates or integrations, it is also possible to reduce the implementation time.
Niklas' latest project was to create a solution that was, to say the least, in demand. During six weeks, he built a template that simplifies the integration between the CRM system Salesforce and the business system Infor M3.
"The best career choice I ever made"
When a template like this for integrations is to be built, it is important to have knowledge and understanding of both systems, says Niklas. He took his knowledge of Infor M3 with him from his previous workplace, where he worked as a Solution Architect. And it was the drive to find more challenges to solve that led him to Columbus - and the unique chance to be involved in building something completely new.
- Salesforce was a completely new area for Columbus, and the opportunity to be involved and start something from scratch sounded incredibly exciting and progressive. It's the best career choice I've ever made, says Niklas and explains further:
Salesforce was a completely new area for Columbus, and the opportunity to be involved and start something from scratch sounded incredibly exciting and progressive
- If I don't get to solve challenges, I stop developing my skills and then my motivation disappears. With this project, I get to focus on integrations and thus get challenges served to me, he says.
Since he had only worked with Infor M3 before, the first step was to learn Salesforce and how integrations to the system work, he continues.
- Trailhead is Salesforce's own educational tool and it is the best I have come across in the world of IT. When I got an overview of how everything worked, it was fairly easy to move ahead. ￼
Sends data between both systems
Step two was to get the systems to start 'talking to each other'. Something which, according to Niklas, was relatively simple. He found four approaches and then chose the one that should work best together with Infor M3 CloudSuite.
Integrated customer registers are the basis of everything. They must be synchronized, otherwise you have to add customers manually in several systems and risk making many mistakes.
The most difficult thing was to ensure that all data was sent over correctly to Salesforce. To be able to do that, he needed to dig deeper into Infor M3 to understand how it all came together. After some research, Niklas was able to continue building on the integration template, initially with a focus on creating synced customer registers.
- This is something that many customers have between, for example, Dynamics 365 CRM and their ERP system, and therefore we wanted to do something similar with Salesforce. Integrated customer registers are the basis of everything. They must be synchronized, otherwise you have to add customers manually in several systems and risk making many mistakes. Then it is enough to write the wrong letter somewhere for everything to go wrong.
With the new integration template, it is possible to have the "master", i.e. the customer's main file, in Infor M3 and then send it to Salesforce. Another option is to create the customer file in Salesforce and when it is complete, it is then sent to Infor M3, which builds a more flexible customer journey.
The next step in Niklas' journey is to continue developing the integration template, now with a focus on financial information. Something that is more difficult than a customer register.
- I have reached a level now that if Infor M3 can send or receive certain data, I can definitely build an integration for it.
Is an integration or template ever finished, or will it always be up for further development?
- No, it will never be ready, because there are always more things that can be improved and developed. I tend to think of it as a tree with branches: You need to create the bigger branches and the trunk first before you can expand more. The foundation might be ready, but there will eventually be a lot of small branches to investigate further!
Facts about Niklas
Name: Niklas Larsson.
Occupation: Solution Architect.
Education: IT- & System Development at University of Gävle.
Lives in: Sandviken.
Interests: Building webpages and coding with Python.
Photos: Hasse Andersson.