Given we at eOne are selling more SmartConnect than ever for Integrating CRM and GP I thought I would dig into why people were not really taking the Microsoft Connector for GP seriously:
The biggest issue with the connector is that it is seriously limited to a single function – integrating between CRM and GP. For most organisations this is just a tiny part of their integration needs, and reality is not as clean and simple as Microsoft are making out.
The reason a company invests in Dynamics GP and not QuickBooks is because GP is so Configurable and Customizable to fit your business. The changes to GP may take the form of third party addon’s, configuration with eXtender or custom development within GP. The CRM connector is not going to be of any help within any of these scenarios.
The CRM connector for GP provides only integration between a predefined object to a predefined object – which is great for the simplest of integrations but does not always match reality. From experience we find people want complex data source going to complex destinations. For example – you may want to take an order in CRM – grab all the order data, the customer data, the customer address data and roll it all into a single map that creates the customer, the customer address and the order in GP at the same time. If you add to that the 3 eXtender fields you need populated you are going to miss the mark with the out of the box Microsoft connector.
When you move to a new CRM system you will need to load your existing CRM data into the new CRM system. The out Microsoft CRM connector is not going to assist with this. There are standard import functions within CRM – but this requires you producing spread sheets in the right format. I recently moved eOne from using Sales Logix to Microsoft CRM and used SmartConnect for all our migration. I was able to read the data directly out of the Sales Logix database (transform the data on the way via entity lookups, translation tables and calculated fields) and push it all right into the exact spot in CRM. One integration tool all opportunities, opportunity lines and associated notes right out of Sales Logix and created them all as opportunities in CRM.
Nobody has the exact same needs as any other company. Some companies require immediate integration between CRM and GP, some want to run integrations every hour, others want to run integration manually at a time that suits them. There are other companies that want to review the data before it integrates allowing them to reject records or even modify them before integration. All of these options are viable options with SmartConnect.
Remarkably I think Microsoft, Many CRM and ERP resellers as well as end customers have forgotten the reasons why you would integrate your CRM and ERP? I see so many people trying to simply move data from one spot to another. For example move a list of inventory items in GP to a list of products in CRM? Woohoo how exciting.
Does Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrate with Dynamics GP with the ‘free’ connector. Yes absolutely if you want to move one single record form one place to another. This is a very good thing and is an essential requirement of taking these products to market.
The functionality probably covers about 15% of most businesses integration needs so really misses the spot. In addition this functionality is limiting the creative and real benefits available by integrating the back and front office. So you can go free but as a result you miss out on all the business advantages waiting for you.