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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kolodner

Actual Free Stuff! Five No-cost Integration Users Announced at TDX23

Good news nonprofit Salesforce users: We’re getting more free stuff!

Actually, everyone’s getting this free stuff, not just nonprofits. 🎊

In response to a question at True to the Core during Dreamforce 2022, Salesforce has granted five free integration user licenses to every Enterprise Edition org. And just so nobody’s confused, let me stress that these are free like a beer! 🍻

If you’re integrating more than five systems and need additional licenses they are very cheap, costing just $120/year (list price). Nonprofits will get the regular 75% nonprofit license discount, bringing these down to just $30/year.

Why is this important?

I mean, any time we’re getting more for less, I would consider it important news, considering my personal inclinations.

But this announcement in particular means that all orgs can improve security and auditability for integrations without cost being a factor. I think that’s something to celebrate! 🎉

What is an Integration User?

An integration user is simply a dedicated login account for an external system that is going to integrate with (“talk to”) your Salesforce instance. It's going to communicate only using the API, not the user interface for humans. Think:

  • Fundraising Platforms (GiveLively, Click&Pledge, Classy, etc…)

  • Webform providers (FormAssembly, JotForms, GetFeedback, FormTitan, etc…

  • Middleware (Zapier, Workato, etc…)

  • Email Marketing Platforms (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc…)

  • Event Registration Platforms (EventBrite, etc…)

Let’s use a fundraising platform like GiveLively as our example. Once you set up your GiveLively account, you are going to have it log into Salesforce to add new users and donations. I (and others) strongly encourage that you do not have GiveLively log into Salesforce as you. And I don’t want GiveLively to log in as your development director either.

I want GiveLively to log in using an account specifically dedicated for GiveLively. (Usually First Name “GiveLively,” Last Name “Integration,” or something like that…) There are many benefits to this, among them:

  • Don’t make me guess whether that record created at 3:13am was actually the development manager working in the middle of the night! Probably not, but why work on assumptions?

  • If a record is created or modified during the workday it’s really hard to be sure it was the integration and not the user whose account it had logged in as!

  • You can set up the integration user with the “principle of least privilege,” meaning that the GiveLively integration user should only have access to the objects and data that it needs, and no more.

  • When someone leaves the organization you won’t be deactivating the account that makes the integration work.

  • When you are no longer using the integration you can shut down its user access and know for certain that it won’t be touching your data anymore.

I hope you’re convinced that having an integration user is a best practice. And it should be equally clear why the true best practice is to have a single user for each integration. You want to be able to distinguish between the data changed by a person, by GiveLively, and by FormAssembly, even if they all made edits to the same contact around the same time!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Kudos to Salesforce for their response to the question from Alon Waisman at True To The Core during Dreamforce 2022. Alon noted that having a dedicated integration user is a clear security best practice. But by requiring a full license for those users, Salesforce was making organizations balance security with cost. And when that’s the situation, security doesn’t win. Co-CEO at the time, Brett Taylor, agreed that should change.

What’s in it for me?

How much this is actually going to save you depends on the size of your Salesforce instance and on the timing of your contract. Salesforce generally does not allow you to reduce your contract size mid-year, so if you are going to see savings, that won’t happen until your contract renewal. And at that point you will have to directly ask to have the number of licenses reduced before the renewal date. By default Salesforce is going to renew all the licenses you currently have active (whether they are currently being used or not).

For Small Nonprofit Instances (P10 Licenses Only)

If you currently are not paying for any Salesforce licenses at all (you have just the ten licenses granted under the Power of Us program), this might not mean any dollar savings. But it does mean that you can now have more human users before you will have to pay Salesforce any money. You’ll be able to have up to ten human users and up to five integration users, for a total of 15 licenses, before you need to buy anything.

For Nonprofits Over the P10

If you are paying for a handful of licenses right now (your 11th and up), this should save you up to five licenses (that you’re paying $432/year for). For most nonprofits I would expect a savings of two or three licenses. Yay!

For Organizations That Do Not Get License Grants

If you work for an organization that doesn’t qualify for the Power of Us grant, this could save you quite a lot of money. Let’s assume you have just three integrations and that you are paying list price ($1,800/year) for all of your licenses. That’s $5,400 that just came off your Salesforce bill with no effort! Most organizations pay a bit below the list license price, but probably also have more than three integrations. The savings add up pretty quickly.

It's a Pi Day Gift! 🥧

The licenses are set to go live on 3/14, the same day I’ve set this blog to publish.

Happy Pi Day everyone! Enjoy some of the delicious baked kind. 🥧


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