AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog
How Labra OppSync Integrates CRMs with ACE Pipeline Manager to Enable Co-Selling
By Nishant Rawat, Sr. Product Manager – Ibexlabs
By Yash Kimanti, Software Engineer – Ibexlabs
Every business has unique ways of approaching the sales process. One commonality, however, is the importance of customer data to drive a successful sales process.
To help businesses get the most out of their customer data, customer relationship management (CRM) tools are widely used to manage data throughout the customer journey.
Organizations need to update the CRM with customer data to keep track of sales opportunities. It’s a daunting task, and some businesses keep a dedicated team to maintain it. The challenges become even more cumbersome when dealing with multiple CRMs simultaneously.
In that case, the data exchange of data between two CRMs should be seamless and glitch-free. This requires a level of technical proficiency to regularly update CRM customer data. The selling opportunities, in the form of fluctuating data, need to have a single source of truth between two systems.
For AWS Partners, the ACE Pipeline Manager is an exclusive benefit for participating members in the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) program. It provides organizations with full-service management of their pipeline of AWS customers, allowing for joint collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) on those engagements.
This post will discuss how various AWS services support Labra OppSync, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution by Ibexlabs for sales pipeline integration management to optimize and automate CRM integration with the ACE Pipeline Manager.
Ibexlabs is an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner and Managed Cloud Service Provider (MSP) that provides next-generation solutions for customer for success on the AWS platform. Ibexlabs is also an AWS Security Competency Partner helping many SMBs and startups in their cloud transformation by focusing on security and compliance.
Challenges in Synchronizing Two CRM Systems
It can be challenging for businesses to ensure continuous data syncing between two CRM systems. When there’s an update on one of the CRMs, it doesn’t show on the other despite an integration, you need manual efforts to correct it.
Other challenges may include:
- Lack of scalability: While scaling, downtime may cause a delay in syncing up. Additionally, scalability often involves several steps from the user’s side, such as coding, software updates, and monitoring.
- Improper administration: Maintaining two databases is a tough experience and may require coding to access a database at a technical level.
- Downtime: Duplicate and mixed-up data may cause inconsistencies that require additional time and effort for cleanup, resulting in downtime.
- Security: Lack of industry-standard encryption may threaten a user’s critical data.
- Syncing inconsistencies: It’s a challenge for users to maintain the data lifecycle and for end-to-end integration.
- Unable to share data pipeline: Businesses unable to share pipeline data seamlessly may lose shared opportunities.
CRM + ACE Integration with Labra OppSync
A sales pipeline offers an opportunity to visualize sales operations by focusing on potential buyers in progressive stages of their purchasing process. A sales pipeline enables the team to measure its effectiveness in turning leads into customers. This data-driven process may require a third party to integrate two CRM systems.
Designed using AWS services, Labra OppSync from Ibexlabs integrates a partner’s existing CRM with the ACE Pipeline Manager without partners having to invest development time. Users are instantly notified whenever there is an update in either CRM systems. OppSync doesn’t save any data and applies security measures supported by AWS services to ensure user privacy.
AWS Partners can download a detailed report anytime. Additionally, it’s a no-code solution, so partners do not have to expend effort on its maintenance.
AWS Services Powering Labra OppSync
Ibexlabs designed OppSync with the help of AWS services, overcoming several obstacles. In the diagram below, you can see the core architecture of OppSync and how AWS services such as Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), AWS Lambda, and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) were used to build the pipeline integration platform.
AWS security services such as AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS), AWS WAF, and AWS Secrets Manager helped to ensure a strong security foundation for the protection of customer information.
Figure 1 – Overview of AWS services behind Labra OppSync.
Amazon ECS is a container orchestration platform that allows you to deploy any containerized workload in a serverless environment easily. You don’t need to maintain a control plane or node infrastructure common in other container orchestrators.
Early on, OppSync deployed most critical workloads on Docker through Amazon ECS. The normal compute model provided by AWS Lambda did not fit a use case where Ibexlabs needed to continuously communicate with the many third-party systems for which OppSync had integrations for.
AWS Fargate, when used with Amazon ECS, is a fully managed compute engine that can be scaled up or downsized as needed. This elasticity is especially relevant to OppSync’s core engine as it needs to process and transmit variable amounts of data periodically to third-party systems through the supported integration.
Another essential important feature of ECS that OppSync leverages is the ability to deploy as many instances of a given service as needed. This allows OppSync to distribute the requests between the replicas and ensure that no single service gets overwhelmed with requests to and becomes a single point of failure.
Features such as high availability, elasticity, and concurrency led Ibexlabs to use Amazon ECS to deploy core parts of the OppSync solution, and drove the team to leverage Lambda for other critical system needs.
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers and runtimes. It continuously scales, maintains a consistent performance at any scale, and optimizes for cost-efficiency.
OppSync uses Lambda to deploy several data processing pipelines that need to be run concurrently to transform and transmit massive amounts of data ingested from various sources into other target systems.
Additionally, to enable the synchronization capabilities between ACE and users’ CRMs, OppSync uses Lambda to process data generated in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for many different users. This data can vary in size for different users and is a great use case for parallel processing.
Another important aspect of this workflow is loading the data extracted and transformed from ACE into the different CRMs. Using Lambda, OppSync can easily parallelize this workload and have each invocation process other datasets for different AWS Partners simultaneously without disrupting the service.
The Ibexlabs team can iterate faster because Lambda supports sharing code between different functions by packaging it into a .zip file and uploading it as a Lambda layer. This lets OppSync share a common framework and toolset between functions, thus allowing developers at Ibexlabs to focus on writing the actual business logic of the product and not reinvent the instrumentation and abstractions they have already defined and previously tested.
Amazon SNS and Amazon SQS
Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) are fully managed messaging services that implement a pub/sub communication and queueing system, respectively. Ibexlabs uses both services extensively to integrate various services and Lambda functions.
Combining SNS and SQS allows Ibexlabs to compose different services to create event-driven architectures that scale seamlessly. Since both services are fully managed, they can allocate resources as needed.
The key SNS feature leveraged by OppSync is the ability to spread messages to numerous consumers to process messages in parallel. This allows the tool to effeciently batch and transform the data between supported integrations.
To ensure resilience and apply backpressure when processing data is sent through SNS, OppSync leverages SQS to buffer messages. Because of this, a given service does not become overwhelmed by request bursts as it processes one message at a time. To add another layer of redundancy, OppSync leverages SQS dead-letter queues to reprocess requests that failed to reach their destination.
Overall, SNS and SQS are fundamental pieces that let Ibexlabs build scalable and resilient architectures while driving down costs to a fraction of the usual price when compared to managing such infrastructure ourselves.
Amazon RDS is a managed service that enables OppSync to provision, manage, and scale a relational database. Ibexlabs chose Amazon RDS during early planning due to its ease of use and the ability to create high-performance replicas. These could be leveraged to offload reads easily.
A key aspect of RDS that works in conjunction with replication is the ability to scale resources up and down with minimal disruption. This makes for an ideal disaster recovery setup, as OppSync can quickly promote a replica to be the central database and scale its resources in a matter of minutes to maintain our services.
Lastly, the ability to isolate databases within a virtual private cloud (VPC) and encrypt data at rest and in transit makes it ideal for this use case. Customer data privacy is a top priority for Ibexlabs, including the metadata stored on their databases.
AWS Key Management Service
Security, privacy, and regulatory compliance are top priorities for Ibexlabs. Users’ confidential business data cannot be compromised. For this, the team leverages AWS KMS, a fully managed service that makes it easy to create, manage, and use cryptographic keys across multiple AWS services.
Data encryption both at rest and in transit is important because users trust Ibexlabs with sensitive business information. The team leverages KMS to generate encryption keys for all of the services where data are stored. Ibexlabs can audit the use of those keys by leveraging AWS CloudTrail’s integration with KMS and meet regulatory requirements.
Web Application Firewall
AWS WAF is a managed firewall solution that helps secure applications against common attack patterns such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting. It allows you to create your own rules to block and filter traffic, and also provides a monitoring dashboard where you can have real-time visibility into your application’s web traffic.
Ibexlabs leverages AWS Managed Rules for AWS WAF extensively to guard OppSync against OWASP Top 10 security risks and other less-known ones. Since it provides robust monitoring and altering capabilities, Ibexlabs has set up alerts for any unwanted traffic pattern to help detect such traffic patterns and can enact an immediate mitigation plan if detected.
Ibexlabs also enjoys the ease of use by which they can add or delete rules to block requests from certain regions or specific patterns detected, such as bots performing automated spamming.
The right technology empowers businesses to connect with potential buyers and convert them into opportunities. In the sales pipeline, a buyer goes through various stages of the purchasing process, and every step has corresponding data. CRM systems manage this customer data, but sharing data between CRMs can be routinely difficult.
Ibexlabs applied various AWS services to develop the Labra OppSync platform which enabled the integration of users’ CRMs with the ACE Pipeline Manager with near real-time data syncing capabilities. This process helps AWS Partners to eliminate duplicate efforts when managing two sales pipelines.
The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
Ibexlabs – AWS Partner Spotlight
Ibexlabs is an AWS Competency Partner and MSP that provides next-generation solutions that equip customers for success on the AWS platform.