Ever since Salesforce acquired Heroku back in 2010, the two services have worked exceptionally well together. Businesses can use Heroku to build flexible and scalable applications while utilizing Salesforce to manage customer data and drive sales. 

And when you need to share data between these two platforms, there’s a dedicated add-on: Heroku Connect. Heroku Connect is immensely useful and easy to deploy, allowing you to create sophisticated data flows between Salesforce and your Heroku application’s Postgres database with just a few clicks. 

But there are times when you’ll need these two systems to do more than talk to each other. That’s when it’s time to integrate Heroku Connect with an automated data pipeline powered by a secure Extract Transform Load (ETL) process. In this article, we’ll discuss common use cases for integration between Heroku Connect and an ETL, plus offer tips on how to get started. 

Table of Contents

  1. When Do You Need Heroku Connect? 
  2. Five Reasons to Use Heroku Connect with ETL
  3. Getting Started with Xplenty and Heroku Connect

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1. When Do You Need Heroku Connect? 

Heroku Connect is a Heroku add-on with one purpose: to share data between a Salesforce org database and a Heroku Postgres instance. It doesn’t connect to other data sources or perform any other functions. 

Heroku Connect does one thing, and it does it well. You typically implement Heroku Connect in circumstances like these: 

  • You’ve built a customer-facing application in Heroku, and you want to pass new data back to Salesforce.
  • Your Heroku app needs to read data from the Salesforce database.
  • Your Heroku application does all of the above, so you need a bidirectional data flow between the two databases.

One core benefit of Heroku Connect is that it is whitelisted from the Salesforce API governor limits, meaning it does not consume from the bucket of API calls that are provisioned based on your plan type and number of users. It makes it an ideal solution for organizations that have many different applications and services connected to their Salesforce org consuming their available API calls.

You can achieve a lot with this kind of infrastructure. But sometimes, you’ll need a little more. 

2. Five Reasons to Use Heroku Connect with ETL

 

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Heroku Connect is a rigid one-to-one connection between systems. This allows you to create a very fast and reliable connection between Salesforce and Postgres. But what happens when you want to integrate data from a third source, such as a data warehouse or another enterprise application? 

The best solution is to use an automated data pipeline powered by ETL. A data pipeline is secure and easy to configure, offering much greater flexibility with your Heroku and Salesforce integrations. 

Let’s take a look at five of the most common use cases for using Heroku Connect with an ETL. 

360-Degree Customer View

While Salesforce might hold most of your customer data, it doesn’t necessarily have everything. Vital customer information could be hiding in your ERP or your fulfillment system, for instance. If you have an online portal, customers could log in and supply their own data. 

For a full 360-degree view of the customer, you need to assemble all of this information in one place, which could be Salesforce or some other customer success platform. A data pipeline is a flexible solution that allows you to integrate data from multiple disparate sources. 

Replication and Backups

ETL is the optimal way to connect to a data warehouse such as Snowflake or Amazon Redshift. Your data pipeline has standalone integrations with each source, so you can reconfigure these without impacting your main repository. The transformation layer of the ETL then allows you to apply a standard schema to all incoming data so that it will sit neatly among the other data in your warehouse. 

You can connect Salesforce or Heroku Postgres directly to an ETL service like Xplenty if that’s what suits your needs. However, if you want to capture data as it moves between these systems, you can connect the pipeline directly to Heroku Connect instead. 

Detailed Analytics

Your analytics team needs a steady supply of fresh data, and they need it as quickly as possible. The faster you can make this data available, the sooner they can reveal vital analytics insights. 

When you integrate Heroku Connect with an ETL, you can capture data changes as they happen, and then you can make this data available to your analytics team. This can be faster and less resource-intensive than sync data directly from Salesforce or Heroku Postgres. 

Integration and Syncing

Sometimes, you may want to sync data with a third system. For instance, say that you’ve built an e-commerce application in Heroku. When a customer orders something, you’ll send this data through to Salesforce. With an ETL, you can also send the data to a fulfillment system for immediate action. 

It works in reverse as well. For instance, your application may need to pull data from a product management system. With an ETL, you can make this data available to Heroku Connect so that it can complete the transaction. 

Security and Compliance

Your data governance policy might require that you have full visibility of data transactions so you can monitor risk, ensure compliance, and confirm that you’re not exposing personally identifiable information (PII). Heroku Connect is extremely secure, but an ETL can offer a better window into data transactions. 

When you use an ETL like Xplenty, you can rest assured that you’re working with a team that understands and supports your compliance requirements. You can also rely on tough security measures, including field-level encryption, to add an extra layer of safety to your data pipeline. 

3. Getting Started with Heroku Connect and Xplenty

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Heroku Connect does a great job of balancing power, reliability, and ease of use. You can build a stable one-to-one integration in just a few minutes, even if you’re not a database expert. 

This means that if you’re choosing an ETL provider, you’ll want a service that offers the same kind of functionality and usability. Ideally, it should be a platform that only needs a few clicks to integrate with Heroku Connect and one that integrates with other data sources just as easily. 

Xplenty is a natural partner for Heroku Connect, thanks to its innovative low-code interface. The built-in integration library enables you to connect instantly to Heroku Connect as well as Salesforce and Heroku Postgres. 

You can then use the drag-and-drop menu to create sophisticated transformations, even if you don’t know any SQL. This allows you to organize data that’s flowing to or from Heroku Connect, building a reliable and flexible data pipeline. 

Need a tutorial on integrating Heroku Connect with Salesforce? Contact our team to schedule a demo and 14-day free trial with Xplenty.