A while back, a client required SMS capabilities within their Salesforce instance. What unfolded as a result was an elegant use of multiple integrations, and native Salesforce functionalities stretched to their limits. It remains one of my favorite solutions to date. For client privacy, I gloss over the actual requirements, needs, and solutions.

I began by narrowing down and understanding the client’s SMS needs. Did they need bi-directional communications? Who were they texting? How do we log the SMS? Did they need mass SMS capabilities? How/when would SMS be sent? Who were the internal system users? What was the goal of the project? How do we measure success? How do we measure system usage?

Then I reviewed the available SMS Apps on the Appexchange. At that time, Salesforce did not have a proprietary SMS solution. Even on the Appexchange, there were very few options. I eventually narrowed the search to a single application which, with much custom configuration, seemed it would meet the project needs.

Thus began a deep dive into said application. To use it, extensive custom work (declarative and code) and automation would be required. It was not an elegant solution, and truthfully did not closely support our use case.

And of course, the question of costs came up and there we met some roadblocks. The App in question has a subscription fee, SMS per-per-use fees, and initial setup costs. We were looking at a step number.

Enter out of the box (err, Appexchange) thinking and we began to look at building a custom SMS integration using Twilio. Understandably, this would require lots of custom code. Until, enter Workato.

Workato is a middleware tool to integrate applications with no/low code. Since the customer was already using Workato, it would be at no extra cost to further utilize their instance. (Please note that Workato has since changed their pricing and this serves as no indication of the current costs. ).

When using Workato, you create a Recipe which is the automation. Similar to an Apex Trigger, you can create and save variables, loop over records, create a list of records, parse data, compute data, update records, create records and more! It’s the full power of code, in a GUI environment. Each Recipe can have one or more Connections which simply said are the applications you are using in the automation.

With Workato, we were able to receive SMS data from Twilio, process the content based on the business requirements, and then take action in Salesforce. In simple terms, the Recipe was triggered by an incoming SMS and then executed a series of steps to determine what to do with it. We were able to update and create multiple Records using this process. We also had a Recipe which was triggered from Salesforce. The Recipe received data from Salesforce and executed specific actions based on parsing the text.

Using Workato opened a plethora of options combining integration and automation. It follows the principles of code, in a user friendly fashions. It enabled us to aggregate functionality in a seamless fashion.

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