Introduction to Integration - Salesforce Admins (2023)

Editor’s note: This post was updated on June 1, 2023, with the latest information and resources.

When you implement Salesforce (or take over an existing implementation), you often need to integrate Salesforce with other systems. In this blog, we’ll discuss what integration means, why customers choose to use integration tools, and how you can get started with integration. Keep reading for our introductory guide to the tools available as well as an overview to help you explore the right integration solution for you.

What does integration mean?

When we talk about integration, it means to create a connection between a specific Salesforce instance and another database or system. The connection can be inbound, outbound, or bi-directional, and you may be connecting to another database, another Salesforce instance, or another cloud-based data source. Integrations might focus on sharing data between systems or continuing a business process automation from one system to another.

Why do customers integrate Salesforce?

Salesforce is a very powerful tool because it helps companies create a 360-degree view of their customers and their business. Integrations with additional databases can bring even more value and information to your Salesforce environment. As Salesforce Admins, we can make important data accessible to our end users, and we’re often in the position to make decisions about which integrations would benefit our company. Here are some of the most common use cases for integration.

Bring External Data Into Salesforce

A very common integration use case is exposing data from an external system inside of your Salesforce environment. This approach can help establish Salesforce as the single source of truth for your company data.

Reference external data inside of Salesforce

Although this use case sounds similar to the one above, it’s slightly different. You may want to centralize your user experience on Salesforce, but not import and manage that data inside of Salesforce. In this use case, your users can be informed and act on records from other systems, without the data management overhead of importing and managing potential data replication issues.

Transform and enrich Salesforce data

In this use case, you’re developing and executing complex queries on Salesforce data. With the power and flexibility of the Salesforce Platform, many customers are able to accomplish data transformation with fewer resource demands.

Extract insights from Salesforce and external data

Consolidate your data from Salesforce and external systems for comprehensive analytics. In this use case, you may want to centralize all of your data onto Salesforce and use Salesforce tools to augment and manage your data.

Salesforce multi-org consolidation

Some of our customers have many Salesforce environments and want to consolidate the data for consistency across channels—and build custom apps and experiences that leverage all of their Salesforce data.

Data integration/sync data across non-Salesforce systems

This use case is applicable if you have a collection of disconnected cloud and/or on-premise systems that need to share data with one another. There are data integration use cases across systems that do not include Salesforce; however, the tools we highlight below focus on solutions for Salesforce integrations.

Publish/subscribe integration model

For scalable integration patterns that will grow with your data structure, some customers leverage an event-driven architecture to integrate across their systems. When events in one system take place, other relevant systems should be able to immediately recognize those events and carry out subsequent actions, such as updating a case or restocking inventory.

Third-party application needs to integrate with Salesforce environment

In this scenario, there’s a business need to make your Salesforce data or processes available to external or third-party systems.

What tools does Salesforce have for integration?

Now that we’ve identified some of the business use cases for integration, and what integration means, let’s identify the tools you can choose from. There are several alternatives and choices available—this list is meant to provide some initial guidance on which tools to explore for your use case.

Many of these tools can be used together to design a complete integration solution for your business use case. Some integration solutions do require programmatic development initially; however, they can often be extended within Salesforce with declarative tools, like Flow.

Admin/no-code low-code tools

  • MuleSoft Composer: With this app in Lightning App Launcher, you use clicks to compose connected integration flows between Salesforce and external systems like Workday, NetSuite, Slack, and more.
  • Private Connect: This tool directly connects Salesforce first-party data centers and Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions. It allows for secure, private communication across clouds. After you create a private connection between your Salesforce org and your data hosted within AWS, you can easily route HTTP/s traffic through, shielding it from public internet threats.
  • External Objects: If the data source you want to connect to supports the OData standard, you can define an external object which can be treated like a custom object even while living in a different system.
  • Flow and External Services: Connect Salesforce to external business actions and build process integrations without custom code. External Services can be invoked directly from Flow for easy no-code integrations.

Mixed build (code required, but low/no-code management)

  • Platform Events: Integrate in real time across any business process with an event-driven architecture. Use event-driven workflows to augment your data.
  • Change Data Capture: Replicates data without custom code so you can keep external systems in sync when Salesforce data changes.
  • Salesforce Flow: Connect your flow to an external database with Platform Events, external objects, Lightning components, Enhanced External Services, or Apex.
  • Salesforce Connect: Offers low-code data integration without data import. The data never leaves source systems, but you can create and change the external data right in Salesforce.

Developer tools

  • Apex: Apex is capable of making custom callouts or leveraging existing external services to handle integrations. Apex methods can also be made available to flows for more powerful automations.
  • Platform APIs: For integrating back to Salesforce, the platform offers a robust set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers to access. Customize and control the Salesforce experience by augmenting interfaces, workflows, and metadata for your business use case. Every part of Salesforce, from data to metadata, is accessible programmatically through APIs.
  • Pub Sub API: This is a publish/subscribe gRPC-based API from Salesforce that allows developers to work with Salesforce data using an event-based model. Offers a performance increase over the standard REST APIs, HTTP2 support, and bidirectional data.
  • MuleSoft Anypoint Platform: MuleSoft Anypoint Platform is an integration and API platform that lets customers connect their data, devices, and customers, and abstract away the complexity of backend systems and processes, front-ending them with scalable, governable, and reusable APIs.
  • Heroku Connect: Heroku is a managed platform built on AWS that’s ideal for app development in any language, is highly available, and has push-button connectivity with Salesforce. Heroku Postgres is a highly-scalable database that can be deployed easily and managed without significant overhead, allowing for data sync and transformations but without the integration/API management capabilities and prebuilt connectors found on MuleSoft.

Get started with integration

Salesforce Admins are at the heart of the user experience. You build pages, apps, data structures, automation, analytics, and more to bring your users the business processes and data they need to be successful. Integration design follows many of the same principles you’ve mastered as an admin: Discovery, Documentation, Innovation, and Collaboration. Take the first step by learning more about Salesforce integration solutions and how they help you build immersive experiences for your users.

Watch the Trailhead LIVE Episode for more information on how to get started.
Introduction to Integration - Salesforce Admins (1)


  • Trailhead: Use MuleSoft Composer to Integrate Systems
  • Trailhead: External Services
  • Trailhead: Use External Services With a Flow
  • Trailhead LIVE: Admin Best Practices: Get Started with Salesforce Integration
  • Salesforce Admins Site: Integration


What is needed for Salesforce integration? ›

Code-based Salesforce Integration

Salesforce integration is also performed by using a programming language. One of the most common examples of code-based Salesforce integration is the use of Apex. This proprietary programming language has a syntax that is similar to Java.

How to do Salesforce to Salesforce integration? ›

There are four key steps when setting up a Salesforce to Salesforce connecting using REST API:
  1. Building the REST API Endpoints (Org 1)
  2. Creating the Connected App (Org 2)
  3. Configuring the Auth Provider (Org 2)
  4. Creating Named Credentials (Org 2)
Apr 13, 2022

Which of the following skills does a Salesforce admin need? ›

Required Skills

Communication - Collaborate with business and technical stakeholders to design, configure, and implement Salesforce. Problem solving - Solve business problems using the Salesforce Platform. Security management - Proactively set up processes to manage and protect customer and business data.

What is the integration approach in Salesforce? ›

Salesforce integration is basically the process of connecting Salesorce to your business' internal software, enabling you to leverage the combined powerful functionality of all the connected platforms.

How long does it take to learn Salesforce integration? ›

“With proper dedication and training courses, it may take three to four months to learn Salesforce Admin skills, five-plus months to go through Salesforce Developer training, and six (or more) months to learn Salesforce Consultant skills.

What is the average cost of Salesforce integration? ›

The average cost of Salesforce Implementation depends on complexity, size, level of customization, number of users, and many similar factors. However, according to standard industry estimates, a mid-sized business's average cost of implementing Salesforce ranges from $75,000 to $200,000.

Can I implement Salesforce myself? ›

If you are entirely new to Salesforce we do not recommend doing this by yourself. While this option may seem tempting with the admin-friendly back-end interface that Salesforce offers out-of-the-box, you run the risk of implementing a solution that may work for today, but is not done in a scalable way.

What is the Salesforce role for integration user? ›

An integration user is a unique user created and managed by a Salesforce admin. Integration users are required for authentication and accessing external integrations with a Salesforce org. We recommend that all integration users be assigned the Salesforce Integration user license.

How do I integrate two orgs in Salesforce? ›

  1. Step 1: Create a Connected App in Target Org.
  2. Step 2 – Create an Apex Class in Target Org to Create Account Record Same as source Org. ...
  3. Step 3 – Create a Remote Setting on Source Org. ...
  4. Step 4 – Create a Trigger to make an asynchronous call from source org to target org.
Oct 10, 2022

Is Salesforce admin easy or hard? ›

The Salesforce Administrator exam is not a cakewalk. It requires dedication and hard work. However, you can ace the certification with a systematic study plan which will take approximately 3-4 weeks, spending at least 2 hours daily.

How difficult is a Salesforce admin job? ›

No, Salesforce admin jobs are not easy.

This can be challenging because the end-user or customer often does not know what they want or need.

How hard is it to get a Salesforce admin job with no experience? ›

Getting your first Salesforce admin job can be difficult. The reality is that most employers are looking for experience. But there are absolutely opportunities for you to build your experience (and your resume) before you land your first paid Salesforce admin role.

What are the 4 integration styles? ›

  • File Transfer.
  • Shared Database.
  • Remote Procedure Invocation.
  • Messaging.

What are the 3 models approaches in integration? ›

MODELS OF INTEGRATION. Drake (2014) created categories for understanding the different levels of integration to help teachers make informed decisions when designing a curriculum. They include (a) multidisciplinary integration, (b) interdisciplinary integration, and (c) transdisciplinary integration.

How do I test integration in Salesforce? ›

  1. Track the Delivery Status of an Outbound Message.
  2. Add a Time-Dependent Action to Your Workflow Rule.
  3. Workflow for the User Object (Beta)
  4. Considerations for Time-Dependent Actions and Time Triggers.
  5. Workflow Terminology.
  6. Associate Actions with Workflow Rules or Approval Processes.
  7. Create a Workflow Rule.

How do I set up an integration user in Salesforce? ›

Best Practices for Configuring Your Integration User
  1. Allocate one user per integration. ...
  2. Remove permissions from the Salesforce API Only System Integrations profile. ...
  3. Assign the Salesforce API Integration permission set license. ...
  4. Exercise user management best practices to extend access. ...
  5. Test, test, test, and do more testing!
Jun 6, 2023

What are the system requirements for Salesforce software? ›

For the fastest and most stable experience, we recommend:
  • An Octane 2.0 score of 30,000 or greater.
  • Network latency of 150 ms or less.
  • Download speed of 3 Mbps or greater.
  • At least 8 GB of RAM, with 3 GB available for Salesforce browser tabs.

What are the hardware and software requirements for Salesforce? ›

As Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM system, (which means you don't need any fancy hardware or servers etc) it has no minimum system requirement, it just requires an internet connection. Most businesses will run the system from a desktop/ laptop set up, however Salesforce runs just as well on an Ipad or phone.

What is the need of API in Salesforce? ›

Users get many great built-in capabilities, but since no company can build the perfect, customized platform for every single user, Salesforce uses APIs. By offering APIs, Salesforce customers take all the technology available to create the capabilities they need for their own platforms.

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