How Puppet Democratized Integration Ownership with Workato

Puppet is a configuration automation software company with offices in 8 cities around the world. With a user base of more than 40,000 companies—including more than 75% of the Fortune 100—it sets the standard for configuration and software lifecycle management. Its products allow users to use a central server to control what’s installed, when it’s installed, and how it’s configured on thousands of other servers.

As a rapidly growing organization, Puppet continually seeks ways to refine its internal processes and make them more efficient. This makes integration and agile automations important across the company. Every department has systems and business processes that need to be optimized, and Workato allows Puppet’s Business Applications (BizApp) team to take ownership of their own automated workflows. This includes a Salesforce Administrator, Marketo Administrator, and Business Systems Analyst at Puppet who all participate in creating their own integrations in Workato without working with developers.

With Workato, Puppet can:

  • Sync engineer’s Salesforce schedules with their personal Google Calendars
  • Standardize data between Salesforce and Marketo without APEX code
  • Use in-house developer resources more efficiently and deliver itnegrations to business teams more quickly
  • Scale company processes as the business grows.

John the Salesforce Admin: Scheduling Professional Services in a Unified Environment

As a software company, Puppet relies on professional engineers to deliver services at client sites. Some of these engineers are full-time Puppet employees; others are outside contractors. Regardless of their title, these engineers rely on transparent, accessible scheduling to let them know when they need to visit clients or work on projects.

Puppet uses a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool to create these schedules in a Salesforce event format. But most engineers don’t use Salesforce frequently, making it inconvenient to check their schedules inside the app. Additionally, the Salesforce events didn’t offer all of the functionality that Puppet wanted in a scheduling tool.

John Athitakis, a Salesforce administrator at the company, knew he needed to find a way to integrate the PSA tool with the engineers’ Google Calendars. “We wanted to create a unified reality for them,” he says. Athitakis explains that, while there are many plug-ins available to sync Google Calendar to Salesforce, there aren’t many tools for syncing events in the opposite direction. “Going the other way is tricky. The tools have all sorts of limitations,” he continues.

In his search for a solution, someone recommended Workato. Athitakis soon decided to experiment with the platform as a potential solution. “The support team was very informative and helpful; they helped me write my first recipe,” he recalled. “They walked me through how Workato works with the Google API and how I could set up the automation.” The project took about two weeks to complete, he says, including the time it took for him to master the Workato platform.

The end result? An elegant, straightforward integration that seamlessly syncs Salesforce events to engineers’ calendars. “We produced an automation that works incredibly well,” says Athitakis. “And it doesn’t require APEX code, which would have had lots of limitations and would have taken 4x the amount of time.” In addition to bypassing the hurdle of creating custom APEX code from scratch, he appreciates how simple it is to build truly agile automations. “We’ve made a few edits to account for time off and other scenarios,” he says, “and maintaining it has been a dream.” Those same changes, he adds, would have taken a week to create with APEX. “With Workato, I did it in an afternoon. The proof is in the pudding.”

Grant the Marketo Administrator: Standardizing Lead Data in Marketo

Connecting Salesforce and Google Calendar was just the first step in Puppet’s adoption of Workato. “After John discovered Workato, we soon realized that Workato could help us solve other problems and inefficiencies,” explains Grant Booth, a Marketo Administrator at Puppet.

One such scenario is a problem many marketers are deeply familiar with. Puppet uses Marketo as their marketing automation tool, but leads come from many different sources. In order for the marketing team to have useable lead information, all inputs must be standardized so that their Marketo leads are consistent. “When a new lead comes into our database, we want to make sure that fields like the country, state, and industry are all consistent,” Booth says.

But leads frequently write their information in different formats. “For example, one person might write their state’s entire name out in a form, but we might use state abbreviations internally,” he continues. “It’s crucial to normalize that data.”

Using the Workato platform, Booth created a workflow that automatically massages data into the correct format. When a new lead is created in Marketo, it triggers a webhook to Workato. Then Workato checks the data value against a variety of lookup tables. It reassigns a value if the original value is incorrect, and then the massaged data is synced back to Marketo.

The value of using Workato as a solution was immediately clear to Booth. “To approximate this workflow without using lookup tables, we’d have to build a lot of ‘if-then’ logical steps in Marketo Flow Choices,” he says. But that solution isn’t easily scalable to handle 200+ country options or countless postal codes. It would also increase the wait time between syncs. “To just be able to upload an input and instantly get an output back was really helpful for simplifying the process,” Booth continues. Now, the marketing team can get leads into Marketo and Salesforce much more quickly with agile automations, which means a leaner, more effective marketing funnel overall.

The implementation, he adds, was extraordinarily quick. “Once I wrote my first recipe, it became much easier. The biggest learning curve was mastering Workato’s syntax, and even that took me very little time.” And that fast implementation has proven invaluable as Puppet continues to grow. “Being able to set up agile automations—without any developers or programmatic knowledge—is very important to advancing projects quickly,” says Booth.

Kyoko the Business Systems Analyst: Seamlessly Moving New Leads Into Zendesk for Better Customer Care

Puppet has also expanded its use of Workato to its customer support processes. As a software tool, Puppet’s products are offered through the AWS marketplace. Every support signup must be created in Salesforce (their CRM) as a contact and in Zendesk (their Customer Support app).

Puppet uses a custom internal app to move contact data into Salesforce. From there, however, contact information must be mapped to Zendesk’s nomenclature. Instead of accounts and contacts, for example, Zendesk uses organizations and users. That’s a lot of mapping to do manually!

Initially, Puppet staff considered building a custom integration to move the information. But Kyoko Zuch, a Senior Business Systems Analyst at the company, explains it just wasn’t a realistic solution. “Like any company, we have limited development resources. To be in compliance, we needed an automation tool,” she says. “Ultimately, the key was speed. We needed to get this built out quickly, with minimal drain on our developers.”

Puppet happily uses Zendesk’s native Salesforce integration, but Zuch needed to trigger the sync from Salesforce to Zendesk with an API update instead of with UI actions like manually checking a box. With Workato, Zuch created an automated workflow that moves Salesforce contacts into Zendesk in real time. Whenever a new Salesforce account or contact is created by API, Workato automatically pushes the lead’s information into Zendesk to create organizations and users.

“We definitely saw immediate results,” Zuch says about adopting Workato.

Zuch also created and implemented the workflow in much less time than it would have taken if she’d gone through the development team. “As a growing company with so many initiatives, having Workato as an option [for building agile automations] is a great advantage,” she continues. It enables non-technical staff to create integrations, rather than waiting for developers who are already burdened with a backload of projects.”

Real Time Data Syncing Across All Departments

One great benefit of adopting Workato has been reducing the manual data entry or bulk uploads required by many business processes. For example, the marketing team used Workato to integrate Marketo and Eventbrite. “It truly saved us a few hours every week, because before the integration we had to bulk list upload every week,” comments Booth. Similarly, Puppet used Workato to sync Salesforce data with Intacct and Concur. “The master data is housed in Salesforce,” explains Zuch. “Without Workato, putting it into Intacct and Concur it would require a lot of manual updates!”

Enabling Lines-of-Business Users to Create Agile Automations

Regardless of which department requires it, Workato has allowed the Puppet BizApp team to scale their processes as the business grows. “The greatest ROI is simply being able to automate more processes that were previously done manually,” says Booth. “I really enjoyed creating the right combination of formulas and logic to get the arrangement of data I was looking for. Learning to use Workato brought out my inner ‘marketing technologist geek’ and made me feel more empowered in my job.”

Athitakis echoes this sentiment. “Workato has saved hours of my time,” he comments. “It would also cost a lot more if we had to continually ask developers to build integrations for us.”

He also appreciates that Workato allows even non-technical users to troubleshoot integrations with ease. “Any time there was an error, I could just go through the Workato logs and see what was wrong. Its error-handling is among the best I’ve ever used of all the tools I’ve encountered.”

Booth agrees, saying that Workato’s elegant error handling allows him to get jobs back up and running as quickly as possible. “I can just look at the failed job, look at the JSON object, see what I need to change, and then re-run the job.”

On an organizational level, Workato plays a big role in getting projects completed on time. “For any initiative, what’s truly important is making the project timeline,” explains Zuch. “With Workato, we can meet project deadlines more easily.”

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