Data Integration Is Key Challenge for Salesforce Users

A recent Progress Software big data survey indicated that data and application integration are major challenges for users.

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A week after the Salesforce Dreamforce '15 conference, Progress Software announced results of its recent survey of users, which found that data integration is among the top challenges for this group.

The worldwide Progress survey, conducted in conjunction with Dimensional Research, included more than 200 active Salesforce users and professionals from a variety of organizations, industries and regions, and focused on the management of Salesforce deployments by users.

"While Salesforce remains as integral as ever, this survey digs deep into the key challenges involved in continuing to make the most of this critical platform," said Michael Benedict, president of Data Connectivity and Integration at Progress, in a statement. "With 89 percent of respondents pursuing new Salesforce implementations over the next two years, it is clear that data and application integration is and will remain hugely important—requiring companies to seek out the proper tools, technologies and best practices to leverage Salesforce in a more meaningful way."

Fifty-four percent of the survey respondents indicated that application and data source integration is their most pressing challenge due to challenges around on-premises applications (48 percent), legacy applications (47 percent), connectivity (40 percent) and shared data sources (37 percent). Moreover, 63 percent of respondents said integration difficulties result in slower Salesforce performance.

Survey responses indicate that Salesforce integrations are reaching into a variety of applications throughout the enterprise, including support systems (46 percent), ERP, lead generation, marketing, shipping, licensing applications and more. Legacy applications account for 38 percent of all integrations. And 12 percent of businesses surveyed said they currently have more than 10 applications and data sources connected to Salesforce.

Yet, despite the challenges, the benefits of Salesforce range from ease of use to cost effectiveness to competitive advantage. Fifty-six percent of respondents said Salesforce is intuitive and easy to use. In addition, 48 percent said, despite access to real-time data and analysis, Salesforce still increased the effectiveness of their sales teams.

Survey respondents spanned industries including technology (22 percent), manufacturing (18 percent), financial services (13 percent), services (11 percent) and health care (10 percent), with the remaining respondents in telecom, government, retail, utilities, education, non-profit and transportation. Job titles ranged from corporate IT, sales, product and general management, manufacturing and production, finance and accounting and marketing. Eighty-two percent of respondents were based in North America with representation from EMEA at 12 percent, 5 percent from the Asia Pacific region and 1 percent from the Central and South American region.

Progress Software's Salesforce user survey comes a month after the company's survey on mobile application development. In that survey of 3,000 IT pros and developers, Progress found that although interest in using mobile apps among consumers and enterprises continues to grow, adoption of mobile application development is slower than expected.

"The most poignant finding of the survey is that fifty-seven percent of developers have never built a mobile app, indicating that mobile app development remains highly specialized," Karen Tegan Padir, president of Application Development and Deployment at Progress, said regarding last month's survey results. "It's clear that the developer community as a whole needs easy-to-use tools and processes to move forward with their mobile app development efforts in a more substantial way."

That survey also found that user experience (UX) is the most important element to consider when developing mobile apps of any type—whether they are external-facing or used by an enterprise internally for business-critical functions. Forty-four percent of those surveyed indicated UX as the most important part of the apps they build, followed by ease of maintenance (24 percent), performance (15 percent) and security (11 percent).