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The Connector for Microsoft Dynamics

Dynamics NAV and CRM connector

UPDATE!

Connector for Dynamics v2 Rollup 1

This month saw the release of the v2 rollup 1 version of the connector, promising a host of much needed bug fixes and … improved error messages!

Currently I’m not seeing much in the way of improved error messages, but that’s probably because I’m not seeing much in the way of errors. The rollup seems to address a few of the previous issues and now seems a little more robust. It’s still as user friendly as a bramble broom handle, but if handled with care is OK.

My current challenge is what to do with Company contacts – an important part of the CRM architecture in NAV but does not really have a place in Dynamics CRM. The connectors resolution to this problem is to completely ignore them, this way you do not have to worry about what happens when a prospect becomes a customer. This is not an ideal solution but I have some ideas and will keep you posted.

Having spent most of the last week battling with the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics, I can tell you that I’m not yet a fan!

For those of you who are not sure what it does, the Connector is effectively an application that looks for changes in your Dynamics ERP solution (in our case Dynamics NAV) and Dynamics CRM and synchronises any changes between the two. The installation is relatively straight forward, taking care to avoid all the pitfalls in terms of user setup and security, and configuring the adapters can be a little fiddly for the novice user, but if you follow the yellow brick road, you will reach Oz – or in the Dynamics Connectors case … the client!

The client itself needs a bit of work, it’s been written by a techie for a techie and it isn’t pretty, but then I work with someone who isn’t pretty but they get the job done!

You can map fields in Dynamics NAV to fields in Dynamics CRM, specify a sync frequency and set a map to active and it works. You can also make modifications both in Dynamics NAV and in Dynamics CRM, configure the adapters to accept those changes and link custom fields between the two. This is where it has started to go wrong and is proving to be a little flakey when you ask it do something that was not shipped as standard.

The connector does not handle deletes from custom entities too well either. The standard maps also need a bit of work, with only a couple of the address fields being mapped as standard, so much so that you should ensure you allow more than the Friday afternoon to get it fully installed and configured. There are logging options that you can set in config files (I said it was for techie’s) to log any issues, and whilst you can see what call has caused an error it’s not very good at telling you why it was making the call or what fields it is failing on - this does make correcting errors without a techie on hand a bit of a nightmare.

That said, it does show promise and with a bit more customer feedback and development time it could be a good product by version 4.

In conclusion, the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics will be very nice when they’ve ironed out the wrinkles - and there’s probably still hope for that colleague I mentioned earlier!

Tom Jenkins

Tom Jenkins is the Managing Director at Dynamics Consultants. As well as having a strong product knowledge, his strategic knowledge of industry and the business landscape helps him to provide thought leadership to a range of vertical sectors. 

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