Over the last 10 years both Salesforce and SharePoint have grown to dominate their respective markets. Salesforce is the premier CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution. SharePoint is the premier CMS (Content Management System). Many organizations have adopted both tools.
In our work with Federal Government Contractors it is increasingly common for larger customers to use Salesforce for their business development activity and use SharePoint for proposal development, capture management, task order management, contract management, and program management. Salesforce contains the CRM data about accounts, contacts, opportunities and contact activity, and reports against it. SharePoint contains all of the document oriented work and workflows that drive the actual work.
The result is that you have a gap between the two systems. Certain groups of people tend to work in one system or the other, BD people in Salesforce and proposal writers in SharePoint. They natively lack all of the accurate information they need to be effective. Here are the three basic gaps:
- The Handoff: You enter opportunity information in Salesforce. At a point you want to “push” the opportunity to proposal people to get the work done. Someone has to re-enter the core data and manage the handoff.
- Salesforce Not Up to Date: While you work in SharePoint things happen, like Bid Decisions, Proposal Submittals, date changes for release of RFP. Someone has to alert the Salesforce people and manually rekey the information in Salesforce to get it up to date.
- SharePoint Not Up to Date: Along the way, as BD people continue to work opportunities in Salesforce things change. Say they add new contacts or the probability changes. The people working in SharePoint don’t know what happened.
R3 Eliminating the Gap with 2-Way Synchronization
R3 provides business solutions to Federal Government Contractors that run on SharePoint. Our customers have to either live with these gaps, do double-entry, or make a decision to try and do everything with one system or the other.
We came up with another option, which is to eliminate the gaps using the R3 Salesforce–SharePoint Connector. This tool provides for programmatic, two-way synchronization between Salesforce and SharePoint. There is no human interaction. People just do their work wherever they work. In the background, the connector synchronizes the changes based on the mappings and business rules you define.
The result is that the gaps are eliminated. Both systems have the information they need for people to get their work done. Data entry and update is done by the system. It does not require human intervention.
How it Works
It is very simple. You set how often you the systems to sync, like every 5 minutes. Then, every 5 minutes the Connector synchronizes the data between the two systems. The mappings and business rules are pre-set. After that it just runs in the background with no impact on those working in either system. You change something in Salesforce, 5 minutes later it is updated in SharePoint. You change something in SharePoint, 5 minutes later it is updated in Salesforce. People work wherever they need to work.
- The Connector is installed into the SharePoint environment.
- It uses the Salesforce Data Loader from Salesforce as the “end-point” installed on SharePoint. This is supported by Salesforce by default and therefore is typically already used by most customers.
- The deployment does not require the installation of any application or components into Salesforce.
- You can use the Connector for multiple solutions/scenarios/workloads. For instance, for R3 solutions one Connector is used for Proposal Management and Contract Management integration.
- You can have any fields with any names in Salesforce and SharePoint. They do not have to match. They get mapped during implementation.
- There are business rules so that you can control things like the handoff workflow and control which system controls which data. For instance, you may designate Probability of Win as controlled by Salesforce. So, even if someone changes it in SharePoint, that change will be overwritten by Salesforce.
- You do not have to pay for users of Salesforce. Let’s say you have 50 “core” users in Salesforce. And, you have 500 users in SharePoint. You still only pay for the 50 Salesforce users.
Example: Integrating Business Development, Capture and Proposal Management
R3’s WinCenter is used for Capture and Proposal Management by Federal Government Contractors. It involves alot of collaborative, document oriented work, with many people. Some customers are using Salesforce for BD work and some Capture work. And they use WinCenter on SharePoint for Proposal Development and some Capture work.
The R3 Salesforce—SharePoint Connector brings everything together. BD people work in Salesforce. The Capture and Proposal people work in WinCenter. Within WinCenter they have an Opportunity pipeline that drives the opportunities through a set of Phases of work. It has opportunity data, that was originally input in Salesforce, but is now accessible within WinCenter on SharePoint. When the environment is updated, via WinCenter or via Salesforce, it is updated for everyone.
To see a demonstration of how this example works, click here to request a demonstration.