Eric D. Schabell: Integrating with SaaS Applications - Example CRM Connector Integration

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Integrating with SaaS Applications - Example CRM Connector Integration

integrating with SaaS applications
Part 4 - Example CRM connector integration
The previous article in this series looked at a SaaS CRM integration example.

The foundation for this logical diagram was researching a use case where customers were successful with a portfolio solution.

It's a starting point for the generic architecture that rises from several customer solution that were researched.

Having completed the outline of the architectural details and the resulting logical diagram elements, it's now time to take a look as specific examples.

In this article we'll go a little deeper than the previous example integration with a SaaS customer relationship management (CRM) applications, exposing how a connector can be tailored to your specific integration needs.

Architecture scenarios

As a reminder, the architectural details covered here are base on real customer integration solutions using open source technologies.

The example scenario presented here is a generic common architecture that was uncovered researching customer solutions. It's my intent to provide an architecture that provides guidance and not deep technical details.

This section covers the visual representations as presented. There are many ways to represent each element in this architecture, but I've chosen icons, text and colors that I hope are going to make it all easy to absorb. Feel free to post comments at the bottom of this post, or contact me directly with your feedback.

Now let's take a look at the details in this architecture and outline the solution.

Integrating using connectors

integrating with SaaS applicationsThe example architecture shown in figure titled Example: External CRM Integration outlines how to integrate an external SaaS CRM application in to your architecture. Note that this diagram is focusing narrowly on the aspects related to integrating with an external SaaS CRM application, therefore it's detailing a small set of integration components.

While it's common to represent a collection of integration microservices as the point of contact for your external CRM systems, it's not clear how that's done. While the specific details of connecting to a specific CRM system goes beyond the details of this architecture, it's not out of scope to expand one level deeper and expose a specific integration connector.

The example shown in figure titled Example: External CRM Connector Integration shows how a specific integration connector has been implemented. This specific connector is tied closely to the external SaaS CRM's provided API and can ensure data and communications with your organizations internal applications.

For example, if you are connecting to an external CRM such as Salesforce, you could find that your integration needs are more specific than the existing microservices collection can handle. In this case it make sense to facilitate the specific integration needs with a specific Salesforce connector.

integrating with SaaS applications
Implementation details are left up to the reader to quantify as each organizations needs and usage of a specific SaaS CRM can not be captured in a generic architecture beyond the above.

What's next

An overview of the series on integrating SaaS applications portfolio architecture can be found here:
  1. An introduction
  2. Common architectural elements
  3. Example CRM integration
  4. Example CRM connector integration
  5. Example 3rd-party platform integration
  6. Example processes and 3rd-party platform integration
Catch up on any articles you missed by following one of the links above.

Next in this series, taking a look at integration with 3rd-party SaaS or SaaS-like platforms.