Why Salesforce Should Not be Used as an iPaaS: Limitations and Drawbacks

Salesforce, the renowned customer relationship management (CRM) platform, is widely adopted by businesses for managing customer data and enhancing sales and marketing processes. However, using Salesforce as an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) is not the best approach for your organization’s data integration needs. Sure, Salesforce is a robust customer platform, but an integration solution it is not.

A market study from Business Wire revealed that 89% of companies struggle with data and system integration and that this in turn is driving iPaaS adoption, as it should. 

“Organizations simply cannot keep up with the integrations they need as new applications are introduced or swapped out, and as resources turn over,” says Andrew Graf, Chief Product Officer at TeamDynamix and one of the conductors of the study. “The struggle is to keep up with the pace and to sustain the integrations.” The study reveals that 27% of companies have already invested in iPaaS and another 66% have plans to do so in the next 12 – 24 months.

iPaaS is clearly a hot topic, so let’s discuss why Salesforce is not the optimal choice for advanced data integration. In fact, trying to bend the software into an integration platform is oftentimes bending the software’s capabilities too much. If iPaaS is a necessity for mid-market and enterprise companies, should they consider Salesforce as an iPaaS solution? Or, should they look for something more purpose built?

Let’s find out!

Salesforce Data Routing vs. iPaaS Data Orchestration

Many companies do use Salesforce for basic data routing to other systems. However, this limited use case falls short when it comes to more advanced data orchestration requirements (which most companies have, even if they’re not currently aware of it). While Salesforce can copy data from one place to another, it lacks the depth and sophistication necessary for intricate data orchestration and complex integrations. It is, at its core, a CRM system, not a full-fledged integration tool. Every mid-market and enterprise company should think of integration as a stand alone value-add to what the CRM provides.

Related: Enterprise Level Integration for Salesforce, Integrating Multiple Salesforce Instances, and Marketing Automation Strategies for Success

Lack of Advanced Transformation Capabilities

Salesforce is excellent at managing customer data, but it falls short in terms of advanced transformation capabilities. When it comes to real-time data transformation or complex data mapping, Salesforce struggles to meet the demands of intricate integration scenarios. Some of these use cases include custom objects and fields, conditional logic, data polishing en route, and multiple instances of Salesforce. This limitation can significantly hinder your organization’s ability to streamline processes and adapt to changing data requirements.

Customization Challenges

Let’s face it, no matter the CRM you use, customization is inevitable. After all, your CRM needs to work for you, not the other way around. There are three key levels of customization that most companies consider.

  1. Basic-Level Customization – Your CRM admin typically makes simple changes like adjusting system settings or configuring values for pick lists. General users make personal changes like configuring their own dashboards with “drag and drop” features.
  2. Mid-Level Customization – Customization of features including creating workflows, new forms, custom fields, custom objects, and implementing light coding.
  3. Advanced-Level Customization – This takes the basic and mid level customizations as the foundation and then hands certain features to a group of developers to build functionality with the original source code. Technical teams must also perform various and periodic QA, regression, and analysis testing.

No matter the level of customization, an iPaaS solution that can adapt to these customizations is critical. Salesforce’s primary focus is on CRM functionality, which means its customization capabilities cater primarily to CRM-related processes. When you try to use Salesforce for integration purposes, you may find yourself wrestling with the system to bend it to your needs. This can lead to frustration, increased development effort, and patchy workarounds that can be time-consuming and prone to errors. 

Don’t bend your systems or your business processes into an iPaaS solution; instead, bend your iPaaS solution to meet the needs of your business! This is where a highly configurable, best-of-breed iPaaS solution truly separates itself from Salesforce’s out-of-the-box integration functionality. 

Orchestrating Complex Workflows

Sophisticated data integration often requires the ability to orchestrate complex workflows involving multiple systems, databases, and endpoints. Salesforce’s capabilities are limited in this regard, making it an impractical choice for orchestrating intricate business processes that span different platforms and applications.

Related: Data and Salesforce Enterprise Integration: How to Make It Work

Scalability and Performance

As your organization grows, your integration needs will likely become more complex. Using Salesforce as an iPaaS can lead to scalability and performance issues, as the platform may not be equipped to handle the increasing demands of a growing business. This can result in delays, downtime, and potential data bottlenecks.

Cost Considerations

While Salesforce is a powerful CRM, it can be cost-prohibitive when used as an iPaaS. The licensing fees, implementation costs, and maintenance expenses can quickly add up. 

World class iPaaS solutions, on the other hand, are purpose-built to automate and create efficiencies. Allocating these resources to an iPaaS solution specifically designed for data integration is likely to prove more cost-effective in the long run. The most recent data states that adopting a best-of-breed iPaaS boosts growth by as much as 50% for businesses that implement it. 

The Bottom Line

While Salesforce is a robust CRM platform with many valuable features for managing customer relationships, it’s not an ideal choice for advanced data integration. Attempting to use Salesforce as an iPaaS can lead to numerous challenges, limitations, and overall frustration. 

To effectively address your organization’s integration needs, it’s advisable to explore dedicated iPaaS solutions that are designed to provide the flexibility, scalability, and advanced data transformation capabilities required for complex integration scenarios. By doing so, you can ensure that your data integration efforts are efficient, agile, and capable of adapting to your business’s evolving needs, all while avoiding the pitfalls associated with using Salesforce as an iPaaS.

Vertify offers a broad suite of automated data integration and hygiene solutions, complete with data cleaning tools and automated multidirectional integration between platforms, including multiple CRM integrations at scale. Vertify is the system of record and has the best service for revenue operations professionals across the globe. Get a grip on your data silos by getting started today!