Gone are the days when one has to write lines and lines of code to integrate multiple seemingly completely disparate applications to solve business functions!! Thanks to Enterprise Solution Bus like the Oracle Integration Cloud Services (ICS), along with its plethora of Out-Of-The-Box connectors, the integration is as easy as 1-2-3. 1. Configure the Connection. 2. Integrate the connections by building a mapping. 3. Test and Publish the Integration.
Take for example Corporation A uses a SalesForce application, which at its core is a CRM solution to maintains information about customers and contacts and other sales related implementation. It uses an Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) solution to house its Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and other financial data. The corporation wants to improve the service it provides to its customers by rendering the most accurate and up-to date information at the fingertips of its sales teams when they need it, in the format they need it in.
Does the sales team need a connected laptop in the field? Do they need to access multiple systems? Do they have to remember multiple authentication information? What if they forget and retrieve the wrong financial information from the Oracle EBS suite? What about the IT support team? Do they have to support the authentication and other details of these multiple systems for different roles of the users? It is one thing to support sales team access to Sales Force and the Accounting team access to EBS, but, if the Sales Team now needs access to the EBS, and only just some specific parts of EBS, then the authentication becomes complicated.
One traditional way of resolving this issue and delivering the data to the Sales Team when they need it and where they need it, is to build a homegrown integration that retrieves the data from either the EBS application (Services) or the EBS database either by going directly to the database tables or calling a stored procedure. One the data is retrieved this way; a custom page is built in the Sales Force application to display the data. We have now added not only 2 – 3 more additional places where the system can potentially fail, we have also increased the complexity of the application by 3 fold making it harder for the IT resources to manage and maintain the system. Not to forget the time and resource need to develop the integration.
Now, let us see how we would implement the same solution using Oracle ICS. The time needed to develop the integration is now cut exponentially. Imagine how easy the integration will be if we could drag and drop our way to the solution. Well, that’s exactly what we found when we used Oracle ICS. After the standard hiccups of setting up the ICS environment, we went through the steps of 1-2-3 and Viola, we had an integration. Let’s examine our approach. We started with a proof of concept (POC) that translates and transforms the customer demographic information from a SalesForce format, and pushes the results into an Oracle Database, that can be retrieved by EBS. Keeping the transformation simple, we wanted to split a text field into multiple text fields. The key here is that we didn’t write one single line of code in ANY language. This took us less than a day to complete the entire POC. Let’s walk through the 3 step process.
Step 1. Configure the Connection
Oracle’s ICS provides pre-configured Integration Objects allowing us to breeze through this step. This step is simply choosing the right ‘connector’, in our case, the SalesForce connector on one side and the Oracle Database Connector on the other side. Prior to configuring the SalesForce connector, we have to get the enterprise WSDL from SalesForce that defines the enterprise interface between SalesForce and ICS. This can be retrieved by the following steps:
- Login to your SalesForce account
- Click on the the Setup section of your SalesForce account.
- Once in the setup, click on Developer in the left hand menu.
- Click on API
- Click Export WSDL
- Save the file.
The SalesForce connector configuration page in ICS looks like the Figure below:
You configure the Enterprise WSDL by clicking Configure Connectivity and following the steps to choose the Enterprise WSDL file downloaded from SalesForce.
The next step is to tell ICS how to login to SalesForce. This is done in the next configuration page that looks like:
And that’s it for the SalesForce connector configuration. It’s that easy. Once you click the test button, a successful SalesForce Connection will look like this:
At this point, ICS will give you a WSDL and an endpoint URL to use in the SalesForce instance. Take a note of it, as you will be needing it in Step 3.
We configure the Oracle Database in a similar fashion. If you are connecting to a database inside the firewall, Oracle provides a special agent that needs to be first installed on a server within the restricted zone, and the agent configured within ICS. Once configured, the agent will show up in the set of configured agents as follows:
We then setup the connection information as shown below:
Now, you are ready to test. The test will complete the configuration and will show up as follows:
Step 2: Integrate the connection
Now, we are ready to integrate the connections together. You simple drag the SalesForce Connection to the left of the integration map and the Oracle DB connection to the right. Once done, the screen will look like this:
When you setup the integration, you need to tell ICS what object this integration is about on the SalesForce side, by importing the WSDL for the object from SalesForce.
Drag and drop the source columns to the corresponding target columns of the right object and will reflect as shown below:
As you see, the ADDRESS1 and 2 are derived from the same field from SalesForce by simply invoking a pre-existing string command as shown below:
And that’s it!!!! You are ready to test the Integration. Once tested, it will look like this:
Step 3: Test and Publish the Integration
The last and final step of this ‘laborious’ process is to go to SalesForce, and configure the Accounts Page to invoke the ICS Webservice that you got from Step 2 when you configured the ICS SalesForce connection whenever you make a change on the address, and the Save button is clicked.
ICS is invoked, the same data shows up in the database on the other side. That’s it. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.