Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Training
Extending and Integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM
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Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Welcome to the Success Portal by xRM. This video is a brief overview of extending and integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Since this is a pretty big topic, this video will be a summarization about what is possible.
First let's discuss extending CRM, specifically configurations. What we mean by this is the default customizations interface in CRM, which allows you as a non-programmer to create entities, forms, fields, views, write workflows, and create business rules. Skills required to do these tasks do not include programming. The Success Portal at xRM is full of videos that provide how-to training for this method.
Next, there is the workflow engine in Dynamics CRM. This would be using the process interface in CRM to create automated and on demand workflow is to create and update data automatically as well as send notifications and emails. This method also does not require any programming experience. The Success Portal at xRM is full of videos that provide how-to training for this method.
Moving on, solutions can be internally created using the first two methods, or they can be downloaded for free or purchased from third parties. Solutions can be installed in your instance of Dynamics CRM without any programming experience.
Silverlight – a method of creating light-weight applications that can be deployed as web resources in Microsoft dynamics CRM. Programming experience in Silverlight would be required for this method.
Plugins – are .NET class code that can be written and registered in CRM to perform CRUD operations and other actions. Plugins can also be packaged in solutions and distributed that way.
The last method of extending CRM lies slightly outside the others and should be classified as portal solutions. A portal is a way by which data in CRM can be exposed in a public facing website, which non - CRM users can authenticate to interact with that data. Data in portals can flow to and from Microsoft dynamics CRM. The software development kit from Microsoft for Dynamics CRM provides what you may need to create such a portal. However, third party platforms are available. Examples are CRM Vertex, ADX Studio, and also Parature, which since being acquired by CRM, is now available as a separate add-on service for Dynamics CRM.
The next topic is integrating CRM with other systems. The very first thing you should do when contemplating the possibility of integrating with another system, is to investigate the need of a connector from that other system. Many ERP, marketing, and other systems have read and native connectors, which usually take the form of solutions that can be downloaded and installed directly in your CRM instance. Examples include Dynamics GP by Microsoft, ClickDimensions, and a Mail Chimp. Before you investigate more complex methods such as the items below, always check for a native connector.
SSIS – SQL Server integration services needs a SQL platform that allows integration at the database level between systems. SSIS Packages are available from third parties that facilitate this method. This method of integration would require a high level of SQL and SSIS skill, unless a third party package is obtained.
Third-party ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools are available from third parties such as Scribe, Jitterbit, and Informatica. Programming experience is not necessary if tools like this are chosen, however, based on our own experience with some of these tools, SQL experience is recommended, and there will be some learning curve in understanding how to use the tool effectively.
.NET programming – This method would be programmatically interacting with the other system using .NET and usually through an API or directly to the database that supports the other system. Then .NET code would be written to use the application programming interface for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The software development kit published by Microsoft provides much of the information that would be required. Programming skills using .NET would be required as well as SQL or other database skills, depending on the system you’re integrating with.
Finally, there is a cloud based service called the Azure Service Bus. Because authentication and firewall issues often complicate the integrations, many companies are now opting to use cloud - based services that Microsoft has provided in Azure.
This concludes the video regarding extending Microsoft dynamics CRM. The following resources are available:
Extending CRMMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SDK
Solutions by 3rd Parties – Pinpoint
Configuration/Customizations using the UI
Integrating CRM with other SystemsSSIS Toolkit
Azure Service Bus
Native Connectors (just a few - there are hundreds)Dynamics GP, AX, etc.