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Our flagship Extensible Assessment Manager (ExAM) Salesforce AppExchange product is great for helping you collect data whether that’s in web forms, surveys or via inspections or compliance activities. Yet, most enterprise use cases require integrating outside information into other systems, or sharing it between ExAM-enabled organizations.

There are many ways to do this within the Salesforce ecosystem: (1) custom builds using APIs; (2) tools like MuleSoft; and, as of April, ExAM Connect. As the name suggests, “Connect” makes it easier for you to exchange the data you collect in ExAM to other Salesforce apps, third-party systems, and external Salesforce organizations.

Potential Use Cases

  • Connecting ExAM-based work order systems to vendor systems, or ExAM to third-party work order systems
  • Connecting ExAM-based inspection solutions to vendor systems, or ExAM to third- party compliance solutions
  • Connecting ExAM web forms to third-party solutions (like loan processing systems), or case management solutions

How it works

Within Salesforce, Lightning components can be configured and then dropped onto page layouts, enabling granular control of permissions as well as the data that is sent and received.

More technically, ExAM Connect runs through a post to a configured available web service that is listening with a REST-enabled Apex Class to support processing. Irrespective of whether it is Salesforce-to-Salesforce or working with a third-party system, the service works the same.

HUB & Spoke Model: Salesforce/ExAM to Salesforce/ExAM
HUB & Spoke Model: Third Party and Salesforce/ExAM

Benefits

  • Accelerate data exchange. Since “Connect” is fully integrated with ExAM’s data model, all you need to focus on is the type of data you want to exchange.
  • Custom built to connect our app to Salesforce/ExAM/third-party systems.
  • Enables the highest degree of flexibility and responsiveness over time. The prebuilt data exchange/ExAM data model infrastructure enables you to focus on evolving data structures and protocols.
  • ExAM Connect provides the fastest time to market. Because both sides of the exchange are well understood, it’s a simple matter of configuring ExAM Connect and determining which ExAM data to share.

Sample Use Case: HUB & Spoke Model

MB&A’s Hub & Spoke security model for was developed first to support our Salesforce inspections customers. The model is really just a natural extension of Salesforce’s approach to security formalized into a versatile model for our inspection customers with complex work environments that required for example internal staff, external vendors and a patchwork of internal and external stakeholders, whose work or services required granting differing levels of access to information. While this model remains hugely popular, it was typically confined to users within a single Salesforce org.

This changed about 7 years ago, as we realized that many of these same complex customers’ greatest challenges was that the Hub & Spoke Model really needed to extend beyond the boundaries of their single Salesforce instance. These customers needed to get data to flow back and forth easily between our system and third party systems that were a part of our customer’s business processes. This meant that we spent quite a bit of working with APIs and tools to exchange data.

Over time we realized that while their were many tools in the market to service these data exchange needs in a general purpose manner, we were still spending a lot of time and customers money building integrations and configuring tools to support integrations. We had done it so much we had it down to a formula, at which point we realized that we could and should just build a re-usable service to make these connections turn key and with that idea ExAM Connect was born. ExAM Connect enables broader participation in decentralized data collections, field services, or inspections, without having to support additional staff in using their own licenses. Users can simply create a data exchange standard in JSON that both sides of the exchange can adhere to.

In this way, “Connect” makes MB&A’s popular hub-and-spoke model accessible to customers who need to share data across separate platforms or Salesforce orgs.

Example: Hub and Spoke based inspection model using ExAM Connect