Connecting Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Since the availability for MS Dynamics AX2012 in August, Microsoft has released an update of the Connector for MS Dynamics AX2012 and MS Dynamics CRM. Connector for Microsoft Dynamics helps customers who are using Dynamics CRM (either online or on-premise) integrate it with their Dynamics ERP solution. Out of the box, Microsoft provides you with baseline integrations that will help you move customer information, inventory and pricing information and sales order between the two systems. Using a web service to web service integration on a scheduled basis, the data moves seamlessly between the two solutions, helping you keep the two systems in sync. Plus, it’s easy to modify the baseline integrations to better match how you do business. You can easily synchronize additional fields, adjust the length of time between schedules, or do deeper modifications using the Connector SDK.
To date, over 300 Microsoft Dynamics ERP/CRM customers have deployed the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics to enhance their business process integration. With the Connector, Microsoft’s objective is to provide their customers a robust integration that ‘just works’ and minimizes the infrastructure ‘overhead’ required to run.
Connector has a very small foot print and is a very small download (approx. 5MB). It does create a small SQL database that maintains the state of the integrations as well as the currently running maps. Once Connector is installed and the initial data sync occurs, most users find their only interaction with the system occurs when a record fails to integrate and they need to contact the record’s owner.
As mentioned above, the SDK allows you to customize the integration to meet specific requirements. There are several mechanisms built into Connector for Microsoft Dynamics, which allow you to customize your integration, for example:
- Map templates, including using functions to transform data
- Fields not mapped by default in MS Dynamics CRM or MS Dynamics AX
- User-defined fields in MS Dynamics CRM or MS Dynamics AX
- Using constant values or manipulating the data as it is transformed
- Run some maps less often than default settings for maximum efficiency
- Run maps more often than default to support “real-time” business
- Let you know when an exception occurs – Immediately, daily, or weekly
- Log file
- Will retry integration, in situation where error is timing related
- Other errors may require your intervention
- Import/Export maps
- Transfer customized maps to another Dynamics AX company
And finally, if you need to expose customizations to existing entities or if you need to expose entirely new entities for integration, you can follow this process for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Some of the key capabilities and system requirement of the connector:
- Transaction Management: Connector for Microsoft Dynamics provides both exception logging and the ability to retry failed transactions. Administrators with proper security permissions may access log files describing errors and possible resolution steps. Connector also provides a notification mechanism for contacting the appropriate party in case an integration or system failure has occurred.
- Transactional transformation: Connector provides the ability to add logical processing to in-stream transactions. This normally takes the same form as a standard Excel function would.
Multi-Currency: The Connector utilizes the multi-currency features of Dynamics AX and CRM.
Communication Protocol: The Connector is built upon standardized web service integration that also allows for configurable data transformation in stream.
Version Support: The current version of the Connector supports both on premise and on-line version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and 2011 with transactional connections to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 SP1 and AX 2012, Microsoft Dynamics GP 10 & 2010, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2.
System Requirements: Hardware and software requirements for Connector mirror the requirements for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERPs. This includes: Windows Server 2003 SP2 or 2008 and SQL Server 2005 or 2008 as well as .NET 4.0. Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a Microsoft Dynamics ERP are also required and the integrated companies must use the same base currencies and cultures.
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