An Admin’s API Integration: External Services and Flows


An Admin’s API Integration: External Services and Flows


Automation is a game-changer. Work that once required hours of manually entering data can magically appear and get updates in real-time.


As part of her client onboarding process, a wealth management advisor named Bianca enters information about client-owned real estate to calculate net worth of all assets. 


The onboarding process is daunting for Bianca. In addition to entering profile information about client household and income sources, she has to manually research property values and enter the data in Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.


Luckily for Bianca, her firm is ready to update to Lightning Experience while making sweeping changes to the org. Among those upgrades is the addition of integrations for external services.


After the upgrade is complete, Salesforce Financial Services Cloud will automatically gather property value information from Zillow so Bianca and her clients can see real-time property value estimates on their dashboards.



Solving Salesforce Puzzles

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Relaying data requests


Perhaps the unsung hero of our connected world is the Application Programming Interface (API). An API is the messenger that takes requests from users and then tells a system what the users want to do. The API then returns the responses back to the users. 


Think of an API as a behind-the-scenes digital assistant that systems can use to ask each other questions and make requests to do things.


In the case of Bianca’s wealth management firm, APIs are useful to automatically populate data fields in Salesforce as they pertain to client information. Using the Zillow API, Bianca clicks a button that allows her to see the current ZestimateⓇ for her clients’ real estate assets in Salesforce Financial Services Cloud.



Building integrations in Salesforce

Seeing automatically populated Zestimates is pretty exciting for Bianca. However, her wealth management firm’s Salesforce team had behind-the-scenes work to do before she could see the update. 


Here’s how Salesforce admins can use integrations for external services and flows:



Understanding Salesforce Integrations


Before you start your integration, determine which method is best for your particular project. Salesforce offers a variety of ways to integrate to external systems. Here are the most common:



  • Standard Platform APIs

  • Apex Callouts

  • Apex SOAP and REST Classes


  • Data Loader

  • Mulesoft

  • External Data Sources/Remote Objects

  • External Services


  • Workflows

  • Process Builder

  • Flows



Process Builder Overview


For a situation like the one at Bianca’s wealth management firm, the Salesforce team started with the Process Builder.


Step 1. New Process



Step 2. Choose Object and Specify When to Start the Process


Step 3. Define Criteria for this Action Group




Step 4. Select and Define Action




Flow Builder Overview


Step 1. New Flow





Step 2. Adding Actions


Action Examples



Step 3. External Service Actions






Label and Description



External Service Actions - Input Values


External Service Actions - Output Values



Step 4. Update Records



Label and Description


Finding and Updating the Account




Setting the Value(s)



Using External Services

Connecting your Salesforce org to external services exponentially enhances an already robust system. You have the power to pass information between your org to remote systems with ease.


Using external services allows you to:

  • Leverage external APIs.

  • Integrate systems with little or no coding involved.

  • Configure as a Salesforce Administrator.


Schema Definition



Title and Description




Describing an Action












Save Results




Prerequisites for Using External Services


Authentication Providers

Some external systems require authentication to connect with your Salesforce org. For example, Google Drive integration requires the system to pass through an authentication process.


This is a declarative solution for authentication handshakes (OpenID Connect, OAuth), token management (access, refresh), and permissions.


Named Credentials

How do your Salesforce users leverage authentication providers? Named credentials may be the key. Are your credentials per user, company-wide, or anonymous? This is also similar to Google Drive integration.


Dreamforce 2019 Session

CRM Science's Ami Assayag and Kirk Steffke presented An Admin's API Integration: External Services and Flows at Dreamforce 2019


Solving Salesforce Puzzles

Need help with your Salesforce org? Click here to contact us.


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