Providing seamless and consistent experiences to customers and partners is one of the major purposes of digital transformation. Data gives context and allows business operations to create powerful experiences. However, when data becomes stacked up and inaccessible, they become silos. The raw data is isolated and locked away from the rest of the organization. This reduces the transparency and progress of businesses.
However, data silos can be broken with API-led approaches. This will keep the application data synchronized in real-time empowering businesses to deliver dependable experiences.
What Causes Data Silos?
In common enterprise settings, a business process is often started off by applications used by customers or customer-facing employees. For instance, a shopping cart can be checked out by a customer service rep on behalf of the customer. This data then travels through one or several specialized departments or applications for continued processing. Towards the end of the entire process, the data gets replicated many times creating data silos and it becomes harder to keep everything synchronized, needing special effort.
Businesses utilize various methods to keep data in sync; including manual data collection and point-to-point custom integrations. However, these approaches are difficult to scale and can be pretty time-consuming. Moreover, they do not meet the real-time business demands of today where instant responses are paramount.
How API-Led Design Breaks Data Silos
To alleviate the data silos, outlining a structured API-led integration pattern that is not only scalable but also reusable across the enterprise is the best way to go. Salesforce can be considered as the upstream application used by account managers to kick-off construction projects on behalf of the business accounts or franchises. The aim is to keep project data synchronized in real-time between these two applications which we can see using these three use cases:
1. The account manager creates a new project in Salesforce which is replicated in Procore.
2. The Project manager updates project details in Procore which is then reflected in Salesforce.
3. Then the Account manager updates the project in Salesforce which is subsequently updated in Procore.
The layered API-led connectivity is used to accomplish the scenarios mentioned above. The System API layer is made to unlock data from systems of record, in this case, Procore and Salesforce. The Procore REST API is consumed by the Procore System API using MuleSoft HTTP Connector Request which then provides CRUD operations on the Project object. In this case, the MuleSoft out-of-the-box Salesforce Connector can be used to build and update the custom Project object within Salesforce.
The middle layer is where real-time data synchronization occurs. The Project Sync API listens to change events from both the applications and once an event is received, the API does the needed data transformation and takes necessary action to keep the other application in sync. Lastly, the Experience layer may shape the data for end-user application consumption.
After Data Silos Are Broken
Government agencies and large businesses contain a huge amount of information or data. When this data is safely unlocked through APIs, they can carry out their goals better and help improve citizens’ lives or improve customer experiences. Innovative governments across Europe are demonstrating how connectivity platforms can result in governments and businesses providing most of the citizens’ or customers’ needs. This can mean things like getting licenses faster, applying for a visa, or booking tickets from a mobile phone at home.
This will have great effects on the future. This is because governments continue growing and keep accumulating data. Adding more data silos will just make it harder for agencies to work with various data streams. Taking an API-led approach will allow agencies and organizations to break down current silos and prevent new ones from getting accumulated.
In other words, using API-led approaches through Salesforce or other means has manifold benefits. It will increase productivity as modifications are implemented in real-time and all management levels have access to crucial functioning data. Moreover, this improves general product quality because constant monitoring promotes ideal operational efficiency and overall equipment effectiveness, allowing managers to actively identify errors. More importantly, it improves operational agility which lowers production downtime and advances the companies’ ability to predict and circumvent potential failures and regulate changes in demand.
Data silos are a frequent side effect when businesses mostly use a number of SaaS applications, which presents a problem for digital transformation. While manual or point-to-point integration can help keep data in sync, it is inefficient, unscalable, and just not practical. An API-led integration pattern to keep Salesforce and Procore project data in sync is just one of the ways where data can be repurposed to other applications across any large organization.