All posts by Walter Dewildt

Amnet achieves sales automation with Salesforce

amnet_logo

AMNET provides responsible and effective data driven display advertising, performance marketing and brand campaigns. We fuse smart Demand Side Platform technology and data to improve our service delivery to clients by buying highly targeted multi channel media.

Challenge

Sales Automation was a key challenge for Anmet in early 2015 with many sales processes being handled in outdated tools. Management visibility into new sales and renewals was not accurate which made forecasting revenue difficult and time consuming.  With a complex sales model finding an off the shelf product was not an option, so a solution was required that could be customised to fit the specific needs of the Sales team. The solution needed to be flexible and customisable to handle changes to process and or product as they occur.

Solution

The choice of Salesforce.com as the leading sales automation platform was not a difficult one. Choosing the right partner who could plan, customise and deploy the initial release was critical. Amnet chose WDCi as the implementation partner. Together we designed and released a successful Sales Automation process that included the following key features:

  • Tracking of Campaigns, Advertisers and Insertion orders
  • Quote templates that were created automatically from the platform
  • Tracking of revenue projections by channel or advertiser
  • Handling rate calculations
  • Automated renewals

Since launch in 2015, Amnet has expanded its use of SalesForce to manage client billing as well as to become the source of truth for all business intelligence for the company.

Vikki Pearce, Head of Commercial ANZ noted that “Salesforce has enabled us, as a rapidly growing and ever-changing business to build a stable and effective platform from which to deliver our business objectives and provide a robust and accurate data set. WDCi have been fantastic in supporting us customise the platform to our needs and as we continue to evolve we hope to continue working together closely.”

Taking your Business Mobile – to the cloud or not?

Thinking about getting access to your business data while mobile, but confused about the Cloud. Which service?, which cloud?, do I need to change my business process to match?

One of the challenges that cloud vendors have is that to drive consistency, everyone needs to act the same, but not all business processes are the same.  Many businesses struggle to fit into the cloud model without significant change to business process, but customising business processes in cloud platforms is not always straightforward.

Taking a cloud offering and deploying to a business without ensuring that access to existing data and process is catered for is a sure recipe for failure. Sometimes you need to step back and remember again, why you wanted to move in the first place. Perhaps you want better tools without the headache of managing the platforms they run on. Or perhaps you want cheaper tools. Perhaps it is the new UI and replacing old green screen type applications that interests you.

Whatever your reason, here are my top tips for checking that you are ready, have the right motives, and the right team for a successful move to the cloud.

1) Know why you need to move. Determine your top 3 reasons for a move to the cloud and evaluate each option against all 3.

2) Understand that clouds work best and are cheapest when you conform to the common use cases. If you can adapt your business processes then you will get superior tools at cheaper prices than custom ones.

3) Know what other data and systems need to be migrated or integrated for the new tools to work.  Your staff will hate the new tool if they cannot get the data they need to do their job. You may need to look at integration right up front. Take a look here for the WDCi integration planning Guide: http://www.wdcigroup.net/rio_planning_guide.html

4) Know who is helping you. Getting it right can be tricky. Not all clouds are equal. Some are more customisable and support integration easier than others. Make sure you are comfortable that your partner/implementer knows your full requirements and can help you meet them.

5) Understand your exit strategy. In the perpetual licence days if you stopped paying maintenance you were no longer supported, but when you had not had an issue or bug with the system for the last 3 years, that often was not an issue. Stop paying and the service kept running, until you were ready to turn it off. In the cloud you don’t own the tools, and may lose access to data if you stop paying. Make sure you own the data, and that you have a way to extract and use it if you need to move.

 

There are many benefits to moving into the cloud, but also many pitfalls. If you would like to chat more about what you need then feel free to look us up at WDCi. http://www.wdcigroup.net/contactus.html

 

 

 

Microsoft Dynamics AX integration

Dynamics AX integration may seem like a daunting task. Suppose that you have a SaaS based Sales Automation tool like Salesforce, or a CRM system like Netsuite or RightNow. Integration in real or near real time to your AX Financial system could provide huge benefit to your business.

WDCi have recently integrated to Dynamics AX using Boomi technology and a web Services connector that we created for the task. Integration of Accounts, Contacts, Sales Orders etc is certainly possible, and within reach of SME clients, not just Large Enterprise.

If you would like more information contact us at WDCi

Calling an on-premise web service from a SaaS platform?

If you are, then you no doubt have encountered the security team of your company. If you are small enough to not have a security team, then you probably can get by with opening some firewall ports, but otherwise you may be in for a long wait, and a few lively discussions.

Typically,  security teams do not like to trust “SaaS platforms” and open up firewall ports for inbound connections.

A common problem I see is that while even the most flexible organisations may have infrastructure to deal with this in a secured zone like UAT or Production, most of us have development servers on our internal domain, and getting that opened through the firewall for inbound services is very unlikely to happen. If it does it will most likely require expensive services and additional routers ensure the path through is secured.

So how can you get around this issue?  Dell-Boomi the leader in SaaS integration has a neat solution. Outbound connections and webServices are a dime a dozen, and when they happen through a regular port (443 outbound) then they are simple.

What if you could get a platform like Salesforce.com or Rightnow or Netsuite to call an internal service, that  was proxied  through a firewall friendly connection.  E.G. a Salesforce.com sandbox calling an internal service running on your Dev server without opening a firewall port, all secured by an enterprise ready integration platform.

This is available today, and probably at a fraction of the cost and effort to get your security team involved in opening firewall ports.

if you want to know more, come talk to us at WDCi. We can help you get set up in days, not weeks.

Integrating Salesforce in real-time just got easier…

Lets say that you have a database internally that holds some of your key data. You have just implemented a CRM in Salesforce and you want to be able to reference (lookup) this data in real time.

You have a couple of choices:
1) Copy all the data into Salesforce and keep the two systems synchronised. This is ok, and if you need the data frequently may be the best way to go

2) Keep the data in the database, and just look it up from there.

For option 2, this used to involve a fair bit of setup and a bit of custom coding to get it to all work nicely, and more importantly to work securely. A couple of recent features to two products has just made this easier.

Firstly, Salesforce.com has introduced a new feature to allow you to generate your own certificate to securely call a web Service inside your company firewall and be sure that the originator of the request was in fact your own Salesforce instance. See the following write-up for more info.. http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/Making_Authenticated_Web_Service_Callouts_Using_Two-Way_SSL

Secondly, Boomi has released a feature to expose a database query, or Stored procedure as a web Service that can be called in real time. This release from Boomi has opened up a whole range of possibilities to quickly and securely expose internal services to SaaS based applications.

For more information on this or other integration stories give us a call at WDCi..

SSO demo – Liferay Portal & Salesforce SSO with PingFederate

Warm the set and cool the tinnies, it’s time to check out our latest video.

I know, our timing is bad.  The oscars are over and here we are releasing a potential blockbuster – the day after.  Speculation in the office is rife that we felt the competition was too steep (and this ain’t no Avatar), but you can be the judge of that.

This time it’s SSO using PingIdentity’s PingFederate.  We’re doing SSO to a Liferay Portal plus Salesforce CRM & Portal.  Check it out: http://www.wdcigroup.net/video/Liferay-Salesforce_SSO_demo.html.

Want more details?  Contact us for more information on how to simplify your identity management challenges.

Want to do salesforce.com single sign on?

Single Sign on (SSO) for salesforce.com can take various forms.

The Winter 10 version supports SAML2 for salesforce.com and the Salesforce partner & customer portals. It does not support SAML2 for Salesforce Sites yet. (Sheduled for a coming release).

When setting up SSO here are some issues you should consider:

  • What is your User or Identity store? Is it an internal store such as Active Directory, Oracle access Manager or a Custom LDAP? or do you want to use a cloud based store like Salesforce, or Google to manage your user identify information?
  • Do you have more than one user identity store?
  • Do you want to auto provision (activate/create) the Salesforce users (Just in time) or do you have an existing provisioning process?
  • Do you want to allow deep linking to URLs? or always force people to login via a “home page” or “dashboard” ?
  • Is SSO for your internal users or your customers/partners.  Do you have separate data stores for each?
  • Do you want users to keep existing usernames & passwords or get a new “single” username/password?
  • Should I use salesforce.com’s Delegated Authentication model or the SAML2 SSO?

Sounds like a lot to think about.

The reality is that there are many variants and solutions to meet your specific requirements.

At WDCi we have been looking at these issues for a while and using our partnership with Ping Identity to provide solutions to  Single Sign On requirements for Salesforce.com and other systems.

Take a look at the Identity pages on our website or contact us for more information on the right solution for SSO for your company.

LDAP connector for Boomi

We have built an LDAP Connector using the Boomi Atomsphere SDK.  The requirement was for Active Directory (AD) to Netsuite application integration for the synchronisation of Contact and authentication information between the client’s AD implementation and their Netsuite customer portal.  We chose to build an LDAP Connector for the solution. The Connector  can create, modify and activate users. It also can create Active Directory OU’s and groups and add the users to the groups. The connector supports SSL as well as non SSL communications

With the LDAP connector we can now integrate LDAP with other hosted or on-premise solutions such as SalesForce, RightNow, Sassu and many more.

For more information contact us.

15 minute Integration anybody?

So, you thought integration took weeks, and you had to mortgage the house and sell the family cat to afford it?

How does 15 Minutes sound?  In less time that it takes you to watch your favourite TV show you could have your Sales orders integrating with your Accounting package. MYOB, Quickbooks, Saasu just to name a few have standard interfaces that lend themselves to the new Boomi Widget Technology.

Leading analysts are blogging about widgets, and the potential they have to open the doors for SaaS applications to flourish. WDCi are leading the way with widget technology to bring affordable integration into the Asia Pacific market.  If you want to test drive and see for yourself just how quick and painless integration can be then drop us an email at getinfo@wdcigroup.net

Forgot my password again? aarrghh

SaaS is great isn’t it?  The only glitch is that sometimes it feels like you are back in the 90s when you had to login to every app you used, a problem which was long ago solved for on-premise applications (think LDAP and all those single sign-on technologies).

Then along comes Ping Identity and Google, lucky for us.

You may have seen the Google latest post re the OpenId API availability for Premier and Education accounts.

What’s so cool about this is that corporations can utilise their Google Apps credentials to authenticate them to their SaaS applications.  Even better, using PingConnect (which utilises the Google OpenID API) you can utilise your Google Apps login details to get access to Salesforce and just about any SaaS app available.

Sound like technobabble?  check out this login demo on the Ping site, it’s so simple even I can understand it.