Integrating Systems with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

More and more implementations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM have a requirement to integrate with other systems.  Examples are:

  • Websites – to capture leads or provide a customer portal.
  • Accounts software – to provide sales people with summaries and status information.
  • Partner data sources – importing supplier data.
  • HR Systems – to ensure user information is up to date.

This post will introduce some concepts and considerations when thinking about integrating systems and future posts will delve a little deeper into some of these ideas.

Master Data and Reference Data Management

In a nutshell these relate to business wide data and naming conventions.  If implemented correctly they allow for updates to certain information to be made in only one chosen system with these changes copied to other systems using the same data.

An example of Master data management implemented by KMS was required to help manage a complex product structure across multiple systems including within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Business Process Data

Think of your CRM system taking you so far along the process but then another system needs to take over, perhaps to create a pricing estimate or invoice a sale.  Rather than manually re-entering the data (which could require greater skills/training and use up more licenses) the data can be passed across in the background, reducing effort and eliminating keying errors.

Real Time Access

A typical use of this is to see CRM data on an intranet or customer portal.  In addition to reading data from CRM, it may be desirable to interact with it – allowing a customer to update their own case information for example.

Get Connected (Securely)

In the past, many systems and databases were closed “black boxes” having no access beyond the client application.  Now however with technologies such as ODBC, web services and the Microsoft Azure Service Bus, connecting up systems is much easier.  However, this means that connecting securely and ensuring that only the required information is accessible is a key consideration.

KMS have developed the KMS System Connector to allow us to handle many of these scenarios without having to re-invent the wheel each time.  This product can be configured to manage scheduling, secure connection, data transformation and error handling.  As new scenarios arise, we are able to bolt on different technologies – we have recently developed libraries to connect an Oracle Java product to Dynamics CRM.

If you have integration requirements that you want to explore further, please contact us… we love a challenge!