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Microsoft Dynamics 365

All businesses today are focusing more on customer and front office to be able to provide higher value-added services and support to them. The reason for doing so is obvious it helps them maximize their ROI, lead to greater customer satisfaction, ensures higher revenue leading to healthy bottom line.


 


And for doing these businesses need effective CRM. There are various factors which influence effectiveness of CRM, and one of the factors is to have a CRM system which unifies your people, systems and processes thus leading to higher productivity for users, profitable relationships with customers and maximum impact on business values.


 


As CRM becomes more strategic, it must encompass more functional areas within enterprise. That means CRM must integrate with an even larger number of systems. And businesses must interoperate seamlessly with diverse in-place systems so then can leverage the substantial investments they have made in those systems.


 


Here I will discuss integration solutions provided with Dynamics CRM to integrate it with other business applications.


 


Integration needs


But before going into it lets first examine the need businesses have for integration.


 


Businesses use ERP system like Dynamics Great Plains for managing receivables, inventory and finance along with other functionalities. And they implement Dynamics CRM to manage relationship with customers, cross-sales and up-sales. With this kind of deployment they need integration between Dynamics CRM and ERP system like Dynamics Great Plains for following purpose: 



  1. Information availability: Retrieve information from Dynamics Great Plains in real time and display it in Dynamics CRM. For example let’s say a sales representative (CRM user) receives a call from customer enquiring about availability of a specific product in a warehouse near one of his office. This information is maintained in Great Plains, so sales representative will need some option in Dynamics CRM to retrieve this information from Dynamics Great Plains in real-time.
  2. Data consistency:  Businesses who invest in ERP like Dynamics Great Plains and Dynamics CRM like to ensure consistency of data in this business applications. And it means doing following:

    1. Data Standardization:  Both CRM and Great Plains allows inventory management, but with this kind of deployment businesses will like to master on Great Plains item so that for every change in product catalogue in back office CRM is updated. But no changes are allowed in CRM.  This implies that CRM user is not able to create/update/delete any product or price, while Great Plains user is able to do so.
    2. Process Standardization:  Pricing Engine of CRM and Great Plains are different and this results in different order value.  Businesses like to standardize on Great Plains pricing engine since they maintain tax and other information in Great Plains. Also back office system provides more flexibility in maintaining price levels. This implies at runtime when CRM user creates Sales Order, Dynamics Great Plains pricing engine is used at real time to compute CRM Order value.

  3. Business Process collaboration:  Businesses want collaboration between 2 separate business applications. Let’s say for each sales order in Dynamics CRM you wish to create manufacturing request in your SAP system.

 


As announced in Convergence’2006 (refer http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2006/mar06/03-27Convergence2006CRMPR.mspx) for each of above need Dynamics CRM will have solutions. Following integration solutions will be available with Dynamics CRM:


 



  1. Web services and post-callout
  2. Real-Time Integration Framework
  3. BizTalk Server 2006 Adapter for Dynamics CRM

 


 


Web Services and post-callout


 


Dynamics CRM provides rich SDK allowing doing server and client side programming. Using its server side programming developers can write integration modules. Using its client programming developers can integrate Dynamics CRM with custom web pages.


For more details please refer http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/?url=/library/en-us/CrmSdk3_0/htm/v3d0microsoftcrmv3d0sdk.asp?frame=true


 


Real-Time Integration Framework (RTIF)


 


RTIF is a framework to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM with other Microsoft Dynamics ERP’s (Dynamics GP, Dynamics Ax, and Dynamics Nav). Out-of-box (OOB) it ensures Information availability and Data consistency between two business applications. It supports both synchronous and asynchronous communication between business applications. Using it in real-time CRM user can retrieve Dynamics GP information like item availability at a warehouse and display it in Dynamics CRM (refer Integration need “Information availability”).


 


RTIF manages links between corresponding records of integrated applications thus ensuring data consistency. User can configure flows between applications. They can make it unidirectional (master record in an application) or bi-directional. This can be done at runtime without affecting its functioning, since it is meta-data driven.


 


It provides tools using which you can deploy any customization into Integration without affecting runtime functioning. You can customize integration maps or transformation logic.


 


For product details please refer http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/crm/product/gpintegration.mspx


 


Watch http://blogs.msdn.com/microsoftcrmconnectors/ for more details on its features.


 


BizTalk Server 2006 adapter for Dynamics CRM



 


Using BizTalk Server 2006 Adapter for Dynamics CRM you will be able to integrate any kind of integration between business applications but we recommend it for ensuring business process collaboration between business applications. So using it you will be able to integrate your ERP like SAP with Dynamics CRM. It will be taking more dev cost to write own code for doing link management if you choose this solution for integration ensuring data consistency. You can use it if you want B2B or EAI integration between Dynamics CRM and your non-Microsoft ERP.


 


More details on it will be available on release. So watch this space for it.


 


 


Summary








Following table summarizes your integration needs and integration options (recommendation) available with Dynamics CRM.


 

























 












  Integration   Options


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web Services and Callouts


Microsoft BizTalk Adapter for Microsoft Dynamics CRM


Real Time Integration Framework (RTIF)


Data Consistency


 


 


           ü


Information Retrieval


          ü


 


           ü*


Process Integration


 


            ü


 


*For applications supported by RTIF only


– Subodh Kumar

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