#1-ranked iPaaS on G2 among 236 competing solutions

On Demand Webinar

Celigo on Celigo: How Celigo automated the customer journey to improve customer experience and net retention

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Like most SaaS companies, Celigo uses dozens of different apps to manage our business and customers’ journey. From the moment a prospective customer interacts with Celigo.com, we are using our integration platform, integrator.io, to integrate customer information across multiple apps so every team from customer service, product, finance, and sales has full visibility into their relevant stops along the customer journey.

Integrated applications include Gainsight, Zendesk, Splunk, JIRA, Slack, LiveChat, NetSuite, Salesforce, FinancialForce, HubSpot, MongoDB, InfluxData, PostgreSQL, and of course, our own integrator.io product. We didn’t approach this as a massive corporate integration project but rather incrementally and often at a departmental level.

In this on-demand webinar, we share the Celigo integration journey towards achieving “Customer 360” including:

  • The challenges of automating the customer journey for SaaS companies
  • Our integration roadmap towards “Customer 360”, and how we prioritized the different integrations
  • How we accelerated our integration roadmap by decentralizing projects, with a spotlight on our Customer Success team
  • The specific integrations that have helped us improve customer experience and our customer intelligence
  • What’s next for Celigo

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Full Webinar Transcript
Good morning, good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to today’s webinar Celigo on Celigo and how we achieve customer 360-degree visibility. With me today are Mark Simon, who is our VP of Strategy and Operations, and Melissa Sarver, who is our Director of Support and Customer Success here at Celigo. We have a pretty full agenda for you today. So we’re just going to do a quick intro to Celigo and then kind of get deep into our Celigo on Celigo story. So we’re going to start out with what our app strategy is and how it influenced our integration strategy, go into what our customer 360-degree app landscape looks like, and then talk a little bit about what that roadmap to that landscape actually was. And then we’re going to go deep. So we’re going to get deep into our customer success team and how they actually achieve customer 360 within that team and talk a little bit about some example results that we have seen. And then, lastly, we’ll end on sort of what’s next for us on our integration roadmap and then head into Q&A. So a couple of housekeeping items. So we are recording the webinar. You will get a recording of it after the event is over. If you have any questions, please feel free to enter them into the Q&A panel. And we’ll get to them at the end of the webinar, which we should have plenty of time at the end for Q&A. So with that, I’m going to hand it off to Mark to start us off.

Very good. Thank you, Kim. All right. Well, jumping in here. It’s Celigo at a glance, a little bit about us and what we are as a company. So at our core, Celigo is an integration-platform-as-a-service company. And the acronym for that is iPaaS. And we’ll through that around here a little during the webinar. And that acronym may be familiar to you all. But many people, too, have never heard of that, either because it’s fairly new and simply that means that our platform is a cloud-based integrations solution that lets you build connections, flows, manage your data from system to system in a cloud-based, as a platform, in a singular manner without having different integrations all over the place, so a consolidated platform for your integration. At Celigo, we’ve really striven to develop a solution that’s both for technical and non-technical users, so something that can be used not just by the IT department, but looking to empower users throughout the org, democratize the integration and flow of data to increase operational efficiency. And through that, we have over 3,000 customers. We have some of those customers globally. We’ve recently rolled out an AMIA team this year and definitely growing rapidly both abroad and in the US. And then, a key part of our platform does, not only do we have the iPaaS that you as a customer build, and with us internally build [inaudible] flows. But also on top of that, we built the capability to create what we call an integration application. And the integration application are they connect two specific applications with a predefined set of flows and predetermined field mapping, so it’s some of our best in-class integration applications, our Salesforce to NetSuite, for example, so you are not starting from the beginning on our iPaaS. So even using the iPaaS alone, you’re a big step ahead from doing something what’s called the traditional manner where you’d have an IET team can code the integration and the movement of the data. Using iPaaS is a big step forward, but then on top of that when you use the integration application you’re getting our collective wisdom and experience working with hundreds of customers who’ve integrated Salesforce and NetSuite before. You’re getting that out of the box as a great starting point, but then you can also pair that with the flexibility of the iPaaS. So whereas a customer, you’re business needs and requirements may differ, you can adjust so you can have the rapid deployment speed of implementing quickly but combine that with the flexibility when you need to do something that’s customized. So when we talk about the integration platform as a service here, one of the key points of this is an intuitive UI. The Celigo team has really striven to develop something that’s very easy to use and approachable. It’s not just designed for a developer. Anyone can get in here and build a flow and use the application, [inaudible] with the ease of use, that ease of use with the power to embed code, do more technical activities when you need to. So one of the things we’ve seen over the years and I’ve personally seen as a lot of us here at Celigo have been working within the SaaS ecosystem and particularly the back office cloud-based ERP space for a long time, 10-plus years for many of us, we’ve really seen an evolution over the years of the thinking around the application philosophy for businesses particularly technology businesses. If we wind back the clock 10 years ago, a lot of companies were trying to do it all with one application so to speak and as we saw more and more companies evolving a best-of-breed scenario out of SAS applications and the proliferation of tools that are very [inaudible] on a [inaudible] business ecosystem, as [inaudible], we saw more and more of movement to a best-of-breed app strategy where your marketing department may be using 5, 10, a dozen, 20, and now is [inaudible] single department with a large number of SAS applications and that’s fantastic. Everyone can have the opportunity to use a specialized tool, but what that’s led to is fragmentation of data and that’s where when you work with a best-of-breed app strategy, you want to make sure that you’re, at the same time, developing a solid integration strategy at the same time or you can end up with siloed and fragmented data and it’s very key, that from the beginning, you’re thinking about how am I going to connect these systems when do I build integration between them and– I think I had and put together a road map for your growth as an organization. So a little bit about back to the concept of Celigo on Celigo. This is a road– an overview, a map of some of the applications, customer-facing applications, that we use. And this is a bit of a summary view. There’s actually quite a few more when we look at all of them. And this is really just a summary level. But it gives you a good example of a best [inaudible] approach that we’ve adopted, we’ve evolved to over the years at Celigo. But with that, when you look at this, and you look at each of the applications, you obviously see a lot of lines. Those lines are connecting and representing the data that is flowing between those applications.

And each one of those lines represents multiple records flowing back and forth between that. And so you can quickly see how the complexity and the reliance upon integration is critical here. And that’s where having a good strategy and plan. Within this map, and within our own organization, we’ve used a mix of integration strategies. So some of these are actually using– even though we are an integration company, we have our own tool at our disposal. We have experts on our own team about building and deploying it, we still in some cases find it to our advantage. Especially for early on when working with a new application to perhaps use a built-in connect they have. But then as our usage with it gets more sophisticated, we then very often migrate on their own, into our own custom iPasS flows that we build.

So again, everyone’s needs are going to differ, but this is kind of a look at our landscape and our approach. So from a standpoint of managing integrations, there’s several different philosophies out there that we see organizations adopt. And we’ve seen our own organization [inaudible] over the years. When often a [integrated?] organizations think about traditional IT-based approach to integration development you have a centralized group. So commonly centralized IT. But it can also be a business systems team. And they’re often viewed as the gatekeeper to integrating applications. So they’re choosing the techniques, the method. When that’s happening they’re using their tools.

And there’s some great benefits to that. You get best practices that are repeated. You get single groups. You build a center of excellence in the organization. But that’s often not the best fit either. That can provide some limits, especially in high growth organizations that can be very challenging. Especially in smaller organizations more of a start-up environment. And organization’s company’s been staffed for centralized IT. Before you built out that capacity that can be a barrier to growth. And so then what we often see in companies is a completely de-centralized development of integration. And by that, we mean often each department or even subgroup in a department is taking on the integrations of themselves and they’re building them out. And that can often be very [inaudible] without the right set of tools. But that can also lead to a very disorganized approach where you end up with multiple integration solutions techniques within an organization that becomes very challenging to manage. And they often see key inflection points, and compliance needs are one that are becoming more of a key point for that over the last couple of years as we’ve seen GDPR, the regulations in California, CCPA, and others have often made a– it kind of a key point where when you see that entering in, it makes it much more difficult in a decentralized scenario to– if you haven’t used the comment tool to be assured that your data is secure and you know where it’s going. And that’s where we get to the third option, and that’s the one that– so [Lego?] has adopted and evolved to which is distributed development with centralized management. And to go with that approach is to give you the best of both worlds. So by that, we mean adopting a single tool, an iPaaS platform for your integration but also pairing that with pragmatism or sometimes you’re using a built-in connector, maybe early on. You have centralized capabilities but you’re working with the departments and the departments are using their resources that are the most familiar with their business process as they develop [up?] the integrations as they need, as time goes on. And we found this to provide a great mix of both approaches, and it’s something that we see more and more with our customers as time goes on.
So when we look at– so Celigo’s maturity and the process we’ve gone through to get to our customer 360 view, we’ve gone through a series of steps, and your processes as [SaaS?] company may be very similar and may differ. There’s some things that you have to do all along the way. But as a general guidance, just kind of looking at what we did, the first thing, the first step in our journey was getting visibility into the customer and opportunity status. So thinking that it’s getting a first part of the [lead cash?] which we early on– so Celigo adopted Salesforce as the CRM. Getting integration between Salesforce and our ERP, which in this case was NetSuite, was the first step in our process, the beginning of that, getting a bidirectional thing so that we could expose information on the backend about the customer upstream to the sales team and vice versa. And we addressed that ourselves with our own Salesforce and NetSuite integration application. And then from there, with that as the foundation, we expanded on and brought in product data, so product activity data. So what’s a customer doing in their accounting? By that I mean, how many flows do they have active? How many connections have they enabled? Bringing in this summary level information from the database that’s driving the backend of our product, bringing that into our a system into NetSuite to give everyone a visibility at high level. And we bring in summary data there just to understand who is using our products, who is bought our product but isn’t using it. So that was kind of a substep there. And moving beyond that, was the project to bring on from a gains side that provide a lot of specialized integration management for customer success and then integrating that data Melissa is going to talk about in few minutes. And then along with that, we moved into to data warehousing and getting a centralized view. And then as we move forward, we start building on this. So getting support integration across the systems, getting visibility into tickets automating movement of NPS scores and all of this builds to optimizing our net retention, which anyone in the SAS businesses knows is kind of one of the very top metrics that we’re all looking at. So pulling all this data together, using the integrations to give us the information where we need it about the customer in order to optimize their experience, which leads to better net retention over time.

So this is all– a little bit of this is our road map to the customer 360. So we talked a little bit about that, the lead to cash process being in salesforce and NetSuite synchronization. Getting the data flowing from there, we moved on to getting that product data, then more customer support information. Another important step in that journey for us was getting [inaudible] our subscription data, so getting that information and moving it from our subscription master, which is the N&R NetSuite ERP system– but getting that upstream to salesforce so that the account executives can have a real-time visibility into what exactly their customers up-purchase, where their subscription status is at any moment in time. And then, after that was the customer success project with Gainsight. And then the final thing for us has been we’re putting reporting and analytics in the end. And that’s really for us sort of a holistic reporting and analytics solution that’s, for us, a lightweight data warehouse to provide cross-platform visibility and reporting. Along the way, each one of these steps has involved its own reporting, as anyone understands the need for data at a modern organization. But it was fairly siloed and required a lot of external joining and very manual effort. And so the last one we’ll talk about at the end is how got to more of a consolidated reporting view across the SAS systems. And so from the roadmap here, what I’d like to do is hand things off to Melissa, our director of customer success, so that she can talk a little bit about the journey we went through as an organization on the CS-side or Gains-side.

All right. Thanks, Mark. Okay. So I just kind of, first, want to give you guys a little bit of background on how we kind of started the journey with customer success at Celigo. And then we’ll dive into how we’ve kind of matured that and scaled that along the way. So when we developed the customer success function at Celigo, we were primarily using NetSuite. As Mark mentioned, that was our hub for all of our customer data. And within NetSuite, there was a lot of flexibility, so we could add custom fields, and we developed new tabs on the customer record, so we were tracking our activities. We had customer risk levels. All of the philosophies around customer success, we had tried to customize within NetSuite. But at the end of the day, we found that it really just wasn’t scalable. Everything we were doing was still very manual. The CSMs had to go and log into all of these other systems to look up information. The data would become very stale very quickly because it’s only as good as it can be when you’re entering it manually. The next day it could be inaccurate. And then it was just– overall, there just wasn’t a lot of belief in some of the data times because we were only updating it so often.

So as we started to mature our customer success model, we started to look at application to help our CSMs become more efficient and scalable while really trying to put an emphasis on improving the customer journey at Celigo. So in line with our best of breed approach, we ultimately chose Gainsight as our go-forward application for our CSM team. For us, Gainsight really stands out when it comes to the customer success function, and they have the ability to provide quick snapshots of customer health, automation of the customer outreach process. You can prioritize tasks for the CSMs, and just they overall have pretty easy tools that you can use for engagement tracking. So if you want to go to the next slide, yup. For those that aren’t familiar with Gainsight CS, just to give you a little bit of insight, I guess. When you kick off your implementation with Gainsight, one of the first things you kind of notice is that the system’s built with very few standard objects. It really is designed to be customized.
The two kind of main objects that are standard within Gainsight are the customer object and what most people would recognize as the contact object, but they refer to it as the person object. So Gainsight does have some native integration, so they are set up to integrate natively with Salesforce because it’s based on the assumption that most people use Salesforce as their customer data hub. We were not one of those people, so we had a little bit of a challenge when we decided to go forward with Gainsight, and I’m sure we were not the only customer that was in this boat. So because of that, we set off, and we had to sit down and map out what our data flow was going to look like. And we actually decided to use both the native Salesforce integration and create custom integration between NetSuite and Gainsight. So our first step in setting up our integration between these systems was just around customer data, so we’re implementing Gainsight CS, and we just need customer data to start because there’s a lot of tools within Gainsight that you can use just based on the fact that you have customer records in it. So we set up a custom integration between NetSuite and Gainsight using Integrator [inaudible]. I am the director of customer success and I set it up myself. So if that tells you how easy the tool was to use, I did have to ask a few questions along the way. But yes, I was able to set it up myself. And with that, we automatically– it was a whole new world for us compared to where we were before where everything was very manual. We were able to build reports and dashboards. I could create automation around the tasks that CSMs had to perform, and all of that. So we couldn’t wait to kind of build off of that. So the next step that we focused on, was building out our customers health score. And the first piece we needed in that was around our subscription data. So because NetSuite is our main hub of customer information and it also stores all of our subscription information and financial data, so it was important for our CSMs to have visibility to what the customers have purchased and for how much so they could be able to have those conversations with customers. So once we had our– once I had those first flows set up between NetSuite and Gainsight, this was a piece of cake for me. I literally just had to go in, I created my custom object in Gainsight, which is very simple to do, and then I just had to add another flow to my customer integration. I already have all of my connections set up in integrator.io, so it’s literally just adding another flow. And so once we had this information in there, it was a huge turn for us again, because now we’re looking at it and we can see reporting and dashboards in this. And I can create more tasks based on, now, the products that they’re using, when the customers are coming up for renewal, all of that.

And then the third step. We started to look at the NPS survey. So this is where we started to dive deep into the Health Scorecard. So we were building out the Health Scorecard the whole time, well, as soon as we started with Gainsight. But the first metrics were a little bit manual. So it’s the customer sentiment and that sort of thing. And then when we brought in the NPS data, it was a little bit of an interesting use case. So we had actually purchased what is now Gainsight PX before it was Gainsight PX. So back before Gainsight acquired them, we were actually already using the product. And around that same time, we had decided to move our NPS surveys from the way that we had been doing them, which was just an email survey that went out. And we move those into what is Gainsight PX. So it means that it’s in-product. When the customer logs into integrator.io now, they’ll periodically, twice a year, get a request to fill out the NPS survey. So because we were one of the first– or the first customer that Gainsight had that was using this newly-acquired Gainsight PX and Gainsight CS, they did not have a native integration between the two systems. So ultimately, we decided to build our own integration. So we were able to pull in all of the NPS data straight into Gainsight, marry them up with those customers that exist, and we had a huge, huge increase in the number of responses that we’ve– [inaudible] response rate, since we’ve changed over to this process. So we’ve been doing this for about three quarters now. And this really, you saw just a huge jump. I mean, we were probably close to maybe 10% response rate when we would email out surveys because I’m sure all customers are like me and sometimes you just ignore those emails [laughter]. But in-product, people are more likely to respond. And so we got a huge increase in the number of responses. And then, it also allowed our CSMs to actually get that feedback in real-time from customers and they were able to react quickly. So if somebody was happy, we could respond to that right away. If somebody was unhappy, we could respond to that right away and we also were able to incorporate that into our health score. So it wasn’t just this customer sentiment or the CSM sentiment at this point. Now we’re having real feedback from the customer built into our health score. And then the other part that we– the next part that we were looking at was really around the support data. So we used Zendesk for our support system. So again, we decided that we needed to bring over all of our tickets and the surveys for their support experience. And as soon as we did that, again, we’re looking at incorporating that into our health score. We also were able to provide better visibility to our CSM team so that when an open ticket has exceeded a threshold on an SLA or something like that, the CSM is notified before the customer even has a chance to complain. So we’re able to be a lot more proactive because of this integration specifically. And then the next– so we had all of these thing in place but this was probably the biggest one that we couldn’t wait to set-up and has had the biggest impact and it’s all around the product usage, right? So people can love you and still not be using your products. So this is really, really important for us to understand and to have visibility around the customers that are using our products. So the way that our data flow works with the product usage data– Mark had mentioned earlier, we were pulling that flunk data into NetSuite and again, it’s not details of exactly what’s flowing through but it is summarized data so we can see the health of the usage.

So it was important for us to bring that over into Gainsight. And when we set-up this integration, again, the flow is going from Splunk to NetSuite and then the data comes over to Gainsight but one of the biggest differences in what we were able to do because of the actual integration was transform the data in a way that was more meaningful for the CSMs. So this Splunk data that comes out. It goes into NetSuite custom records that we created and it’s stored there and you can look at it manually in NetSuite but it’s very difficult to consume, to be honest. And so through the actual integration, I was able to transform it and relate it to things like the actual subscription to the customer records to all of these other ways that the CMSs look at information around a customer and make it much more meaningful for them. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that without this integration. So for us, this was huge. This was probably the biggest game-changer since we launched Gainsight. It again was incorporated into our product health score and we were able to create calls to action for the CSMs based on the data so it was really, really big for us and then COVID-19 hit. And honestly without this integration, we would have been lost. Literally the same day that the country started shutting down, I was able to get on. I could run reports in Gainsight based on usage data that was flowing through this integration and I was able to start doing analysis on the potential risk of what was happening. We also were able to quickly create a campaign for our customer or for our CSMs where we could prioritize the outreach because we now had visibility to see who had a drop in usage from before the shutdown and compare that to what was happening during that week. And we were able to track the impact that COVID-19 was having on our customers, and we’ve reported this information in daily briefings to our executive team. And honestly, none of this would have ever been possible if we did not have this integration. I know that there is– to me, there is no doubt that this saved us from losing customers because we were able to proactively identify a need and quickly react and reach out to our customers that needed help and be able to help them. So this one was huge for us. If you don’t have this, I would highly recommend it that you get visibility to this data in a very meaningful way.
So then the last phase that we’ve actually been working on– we’re in the process of changing this now. The last phase of the integration rollout was really around onboarding and implementation. So we had a pretty good process for onboarding prior to implementing the insight, but it was pretty manual. So we kept a lot of that for a while. We had incorporated some automation, but for the most part, it was still pretty manual. Then we needed to scale. So we decided to integrate all of our project data from that suite into Gainsight. And the other thing that’s important to know is that the onboarding and implementation at Celigo has a lot of different people involved in it from different departments and everything. And so for us, it was important for us to enhance the customer experience and make this process as coordinated and seamless as possible.

So for us, going through this process– just a quick example. Our initiation process– so anybody who has gone through a project with us knows that there’s a set of prereqs that you want to make sure you check off before you start an integration. And there’s different companies that are involved in that– or departments that are involved in that process. And so for us, doing something like setting up the project integration, bringing that data over to Gainsight CS allows us to set up automation and really have the CSM drive that process moving forward. We were able to track things like whether or not prereqs have been completed and set specific actions for the CSMs based on the integration of that data. So before we had this integration, I mean, it would take CSMs hours sometimes to go through all of their projects that were in initiation and onboarding and make sure that the customers were on track. And now it’s down to a couple minutes to be able to move customers forward, which is a huge time-saving and improvement on the customer side as well. So there were little things like that that we were able to change that really allowed our CSMs to be more productive and scale our team. And we are in the process of migrating this over now to a bidirectional integration between Gainsight and FinancialForce, which we’re excited about. This will really help us enhance our automation and scalability even further so, as you can see, our initiation to enhance the customer journey has been very iterative. We have a lot of different cycles and a lot of phases that we’re going through and we’re constantly going back through those. We’re always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and ultimately retain customers so, for us, the integration between these systems is really a necessary part of being able to implement these solutions at scale. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are. So, with what we’ve integrated so far, we’ve been able to have a better view of the customer 360. We can monitor usage to identify at-risk customers. We can now have ticket alerts for CSMs, do the NPS scores and really react to those. We’ve increased the percent of onboarding success and then ultimately reducing churn. I’m going to hand it back to Mark after this because there’s other departments at Celigo that are helping us to improve the customer journey and the Customer 360 through some key integrations that are developed both on the product and the operational side as well.

All right, thank you, Melissa. That was a great description of the customer success journey with data. Thank you. So, onto what has been one of the more recent steps for us in our Customer 360 journey, and that was a revisit to reporting and analytics. So, while we’ve been– from the very beginning as an organization, we’ve striven to be data-driven and utilizing the reporting capabilities of the SAS tools we’ve had. We’ve been pretty much focused on utilizing those tools themselves, and we haven’t had a great capability to report, query, visualize data that is coming from multiple sources. Now, we’ve had a lot of great integration in play, so we’ve been able to have some stuff consolidated, but there’s a certain point where you have a number of SAS applications and we needed a more efficient way to look at that data across systems, and really came– made us aware that we needed a data warehouse. And this is something that I think my recommendation to anyone out of this would be start thinking about this early and work on it earlier than you think. There’s a tremendous amount of value to be gained and insights to be obtained from being able to see as much data as possible across multiple SAS systems in one place. So, when we think of everything that we have, that we know about customer activity, so we have product data that’s stored in non-relational, NoSQL databases that pose challenges to query, for example. We have data there, we have large logging systems like Splunk that contain [area?] data for us, but those on their own only provide so much. So, when we start at being able to join that in with data from our ERP, from what’s happening from a marketing perspective, you gain a massive amount of capability and insight both to understand why things happen to a particular customer, but also to predict where they’re headed in the future. So we went down this route and actually went down the data warehouse route at [a person?] and looked at that, and we were in the process of selection there, or we came to realization. We just needed to get the data in a relational data store. And our engineering team started putting some of the product data into a cloud-based [inaudible] [SQL?] database. Then from there we expanded and brought in data from our ERP and subscription master in NetSuite. We got more data from the product side around Splunk and Time Series usage data. And this for us is the very beginning of the journey here. But so far from this, this has been very valuable where we’re starting to gain more insights. We have an AI and machine learning team. That’s part of our product engineering group. The [inaudible] was added in the last year and they’re able to leverage this data for insights that are going to be incorporated into the product as well. We’re looking at bringing more data, particularly around the pre-customer side of things, so the Salesforce and more of the marketing data in here, so we can see that, analyze that prospect journey and then also customer activity. And be able to utilize that to predict both churn but also predict upsell [inaudible] in advance.

So we’re really excited about this part of it. Just getting the data in [inaudible] part is the first step layering on BI tools on top, but all of this wouldn’t be possible without leveraging integration and integration processes. So right now we have this data flowing in. It’s updated multiple times a day, run up to date queries and get a lot of visibility there.
And then what’s next. The first thing is the journey never ends. There’s always more to refine. And we find that sometimes just going back, we need to revisit our integrations that we built a couple of years ago and refine those. We’re continually working on those, upgrading, refining, bigger things on our roadmap that we’re working on is with our financial force, a professional services automation solution. We’re going to be [adding?] or creating that into NetSuite for the project billing side. We’re going to be expanding the data warehouse with several other system data in there. We also have a learning management system that recently launched SAP Litmos that’s going to be integrated both to Gainsight and Salesforce, to give our team visibility into which customers are engaged and going through our [inaudible] university. Which ones are in there and using it, which ones aren’t, to what depth to provide the– again, feedback on customer engagement.

And then the other area that we’re looking at is, we use a lot of– we have a lot of applications in what I call our sales ecosystems, or sales application ecosystem, where Salesforce is at the center of that. But beyond that, we have more than a dozen applications that sit around Salesforce, that provide great functionality to our sales teams. But often we leverage the built-in integration to those, because they’re highly specialized. It can be an easy way to get those up and running. But what we’ve found is that we’ve outgrown that built-in integration for some of those and so we’re continuing our journey. We’re going to be migrating some of that was onto a customized integrator IO of flows to be able to tweak and fine-tune the way that data flows between those systems to optimize the experience for our account executives. So that’s a little bit of a view, but again, this is only a few points. We could put together a list of 50 or 100 for you guys. Once we see the– and we see this with a lot of our customers. Once you start to see the gains in efficiency, you really want to just keep building and adding in more integrations to when you see the ROI that you get from those. So I hope this has been useful so far for everyone to kind of get an insight into what Celigo does and one small area of the way we use integration today. I think at this point I’ll turn it back over to Kim in case there’s any questions.

Great. Thank you so much, Mark and Melissa. That was really great information for everyone. So we do have a few questions, and I’ll sort of hand them to one of you, but feel free to inject any color commentary, both of you. So we’ll start with maybe this one. So with the integrations to gain sight, were there any– what were some of the challenges you kind of ran into with doing that initial integration, given that they sort of have built a lot of integrations for Salesforce but beyond that not much else? So maybe Melissa, you can take that one.
Yeah, I’ll take that. So we– I think the biggest, probably, challenge was they– so they do have two different APIs that you need to use too [laughter], depending on whether or not you’re integrating to a standard object or a custom object, and some of the– some of the documentation I think may have been a little aged, so honestly that was the biggest challenge was just getting through and making sure that the connections were set up. For anybody who’s built integrations before, especially for this, once you have that set up, it’s simple, right? You can continue to use that same connection every time you build a new flow, every time you’re connecting to a new data object, so I really didn’t run into any challenges, per se, that were kind of showstoppers or that really took any time to resolve once the initial connections were set up.
Okay, great. And maybe one for you, Mark. This is a little bit of a higher-level question. So what advice would you give to someone who’s trying to kind of get started with this? We talked a little bit about the app strategy and then how that influenced our integration strategy, but is there any sort of things that you would advise people to look at before they kind of dive in with both feet?

Yeah, I think the biggest thing is to– you’ve got to balance a little bit of planning with just jumping in and getting started. So it’s important to look at your integrations, your integration needs, prioritize them, put together a plan is extremely helpful no matter how small or no matter where you’re starting, but you also– business environments and your ecosystem are rapidly changing. You [inaudible] to jump in and start somewhere some don’t be afraid of doing proof of concepts. Try things out. Obviously, it’s highly dependent on what you’re doing. You’re dealing with data so you have to be very careful and thorough and cautious, especially when you’re dealing with financial data but also with customer data as well. But with that [inaudible], you can still adopt a very rapid approach to this where you jump in, build some proof of concepts, and just get going. And I think that’s sometimes the biggest hurdle, is just to get started on these, get the systems plugged in together, get things talking at a baseline level. And then it becomes much, much easier to expand those out and you start to be able to– you can build your velocity and your capabilities in-house around building the integrations. Especially if you have a team that hasn’t done a lot of this type of work before, you just got to get through it and get used to kind of thinking through those business processes, getting the systems talking and then going from there. And I would really encourage someone to have that balance. Think through the plan but just go and just try it out because you’ll be surprised by how fast the momentum will build.

All right. Cool. And maybe just to build on that one a little bit, there’s another sort of similar question. And this one, maybe, is better for you, Melissa. So the question is around, it looked like you had, obviously, this road map. You had all of the six steps that you went through. Did you already have that laid out or were there certain sort of event triggers or business triggers that made you kind of get to the next step? How did you kind of think about that?

Yeah. So we didn’t. We had kind of high-level goals, but kind of piggybacking off of what Mark said, we work in iterations and it’s a much more kind of agile approach so we didn’t feel the need to sit down and map out the details of every single step in the process before we started the integration. So for us, it was more focused on, “Let’s get this first phase done.” And so we mapped out, what does the flow of data look like for that? And then the second phase and the third and the fourth. So we had very kind of high-level targets and stuff that we wanted to hit, and initiatives, but we didn’t go through a bunch of detailed mapping of each business flow ahead of time.

Okay, cool. And this question’s from someone who’s sort of trying to figure out how to position the value of an integration platform to their C suites. So was there anything that– I mean, obviously, we’re an integration company so we didn’t have this issue. But is there any tips that you would give to anybody – maybe this one’s good for you, Mark – about how would you sort of position the value of doing these custom integrations versus maybe trying to leverage the native tools?
Yeah. You bet, Kim. And I’m actually going to draw a little bit more on some of my experience prior to Celigo, where I was in the mid-market [SaaS?] space for 12 years. And because we went through this evolution ourselves, and traditionally integration depend on– I referred to it earlier by hand, where you have someone technical. They’re writing, literally hand writing code that’s pulling files or connecting to APIs, transforming that, and then pushing it to the end point system. And every time you need another record moved to another system or vice versa you’re writing new code, and developers– it’s more reusable than others. And that’s sort of the basics, and that’s the way it’s been done for a long time. There’s been some tools over the years, more traditional middle ware which might on-prem which helps out a little bit, and it makes things more repeatable. But it still requires a developer. It still requires someone highly technical. Then there’s iPasS 1.0 which was a step forward in front of that. So if we look at the progression, a good way to do this– I always had this analogous to– when I think back 10 or 12 years ago, I used to work with prospects and customers and they would with a straight face tell me, “Hey, if the SAS solutions we’re looking at don’t pan out for us or we don’t think– we’ll just build our own accounting system or we’ll just build our own inventory management system.” And they would say that with a straight face. We fast forward now 10 years later. No one says that. If we heard that, except for very specialized, very, very microverticalized scenarios, you’re like, “That doesn’t make any sense. There’s a much better way. There’s these customizable tools out there to use.”

And I think if we look integration, we’re going to look at the integration the same way in five years or in 10 years where it’ll be like if you hear that someone’s hand coding integration, you’d be like, “Why on earth are you doing that? That’s the stone age technique.” The technology has evolved so much, and even looking at the old breed of iPads will be considered very, very clunky. So when you translate this into pitching to the C-suite, say this is the modern best practices for integration. But the big ting about it is it simply reduces cost, and it makes it much more maintainable. It makes it dramatically less expensive to put into place in the first point. And then you can bring skills in house that previously relied upon external consultants. And even if you do it in house within an IET team or a distributed or mixed scenario, you can lower the cost of the resources that are doing the work by using a modern iPasS because you don’t have to have developers. The developers maybe are going to do– of all the integration work you do, maybe a developer will be involved for 10% of it or 20% of it, in some cases none. And what that does is that brings the resource expenditure down and let’s you have a broader group and consolidates. You can have users that are closer and have a better skill set. They understand that the business users in the organization better or are the business users like Melissa of a system working and taking part in the integration. And that’s really transformative, and that builds kind of this integration muscle in a company. And it brings in new capability in house across departments and lets a company be very agile and also very optimization focused. You can bring on a new application, be integrating it quickly, be gaining a lot of efficiencies through shared data and through plugging systems into the existing ecosystem. And now when I look at that, that’s one of the transformational things for an organization that the C-suite really needs to be looking at it and thinking about it. It’s a way to build a competitive advantage in your organization through the use of iPasS.

Awesome answer. Thank you, Mark. So that actually gets us to near the top of the hour, and we don’t have any additional questions. So with that, I’m going to thank our speakers today Mark and Melissa for all the great insights that they have shared and thank you all for taking the time to attend today’s session. So thanks very much and have a good rest of your day

About The Speaker

Melissa Sarver

Director of Support & Client Success

Mark Simon

Vice President, Strategy & Operations

Mark comes to Celigo having spent the last 21 years in technology. He started his career as a software developer in 1997, building e-commerce applications and custom integrations for several years. He then co-founded and led technology and operations as CTO for Evo, a successful e-commerce company that grew from $0 to $13M in revenue in three years. He then moved on to start a career in consulting with Explore Consulting, an award-winning Solution Provider and VAR. Mark has worked with clients across several industries including multiple software clients and publicly traded companies pre and post IPO. His efforts for software clients included designing and developing automated processes for sales order processing, subscription management, and provisioning among others.

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