by Haley Burton | July 22, 2021

Reverse ETL with Salesforce and SQL Server


As data usage grows many organizations turn to data warehousing in order to consolidate data for analytics, reporting, governance and decision support. Modern warehousing solutions are flexible, faster, more scalable, and more economical than ever before. But data warehousing is not without challenges.

In previous articles, we've discussed ETL and ELT, where you can extract data from various data sources (like Salesforce) and load it into a data warehouse. ETL and ETL integration processes provide a straightforward pathway to ingest data into your data warehouse and prepare that data for external consumption.

But once you have gone through the trouble to ingest and prepare data from all your critical systems, how do you fully utilize that data? Analytics and reporting are just the tip of the data management iceberg. Organizations need to be able to operationalize their data.

Today's employees rely on operational data to manage day-to-day transactions, gain customer insights, gauge buying patterns, score leads, and more. All of this information is gathered from hundreds of different apps and platforms, then consolidated into a modern data warehouse with the help of ETL/ELT software. To make use of the data once it's been stored, organizations now need a way to get this data back out of the warehouse to where employees can leverage it – their operational system of record.

Enter: Reverse ETL. In this article, we'll discuss why Reverse ETL has become a popular topic for data-driven organizations, when you would need to leverage Reverse ETL, and how CData DBAmp can help you break the data storage silo.

You've Heard of ETL and ELT, But What Is Reverse ETL?

Reverse ETL is the process of automating the flow of data from your database or data warehouse, back out to external systems and applications.

While the term 'Reverse ETL' might be relatively new, the concept is well-established. Historically, data experts have referred to similar capabilities as 'bi-synchronous integration,' or 'bi-directional connectivity.' Reverse ETL closes the loop that ETL/ELT starts, allowing users to easily access valuable data that's been stored in your data warehouse.

The rise in popularity of Reverse ETL stems from the avalanche of data usage across modern organizations, leading to the implementation of modern warehousing solutions. Employees have recently increased their usage and consumption of data across dozens of SaaS applications and tools. In doing so, they've gained access to critical financial, sales, and operational data.

Storing replicas of data in a data warehouse allows organizations to consolidate massive amounts of information in one place. But storing data is one thing – gaining business value from it is quite another. Line of business workers need to be able to extract and enrich their relevant data and leverage it within their preferred tool.

Reverse ETL in Practice

As volume and demand for data increases, organizations are finding innovative ways to provide employees with access to actionable business data within their operational systems, like Salesforce.

Here are few common examples where operational processing can be valuable in pushing data from a centralized database like SQL Server to Salesforce:

  • Augmenting CRM data with customer data from internal systems to create personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Automating connectivity with Accounts Receivable data to properly invoice customers.
  • Integration of customer usage and telemetry data into sale records to support renewals management or drive product qualified lead storing.
  • Connectivity with AI & ML processing to evaluate customer data across systems and augment customer intelligence.

Reverse ETL can help data-driven organizations reduce the amount of manual work it takes to distribute data across an organization, democratizing operational data and allowing employees to make informed and proactive business decisions.

Universal, Bi-Directional Connectivity with CData DBAmp

Organizations have long trusted CData DBAmp, a leading enterprise data integration tool, to provide real-time, bi-directional integration – ETL and Reverse ETL – between Salesforce and SQL Server. DBAmp gives you the ability to either access real-time Salesforce data with SQL Select statements or make local copies of Salesforce data into a local SQL database.

CORT, a major furniture rental corporation, uses DBAmp to extract data sitting in SQL Server and pull it into Salesforce to and keep their business running smoothly. For example:

  1. Customer data is collected in CORT's National Account portal and stored in SQL Server. They leverage DBAmp to upload that account data from SQL Server into Salesforce nightly so that Sales can access fresh customer data each day.
  2. When users make changes to CORT's SQL Server-based HR system, a Reverse ETL process using DBAmp ensures those changes are immediately reflected within Salesforce.

Don't allow critical data to be siloed and stagnant in your data storage solution. With DBAmp, you can ensure that all your SQL Server data is accessible directly from Salesforce, where your team can easily operationalize it.

Interested in providing your team with universal, bi-directional Salesforce connectivity and supporting Reverse ETL processes? Get started with CData DBAmp, or reach out to a member of our data connectivity solutions team today for help with your systems integration challenges.