11 May 2016
Firstly, my apologies to any Star Wars fans for the title of this article, being effectively the 4th version (version history), and given the trials that could be had with the previous version, the force really needed to be with you or you would find yourself turning to the dark side (paying for your connector).
For those of you who did not experience the previous connector, or are adept at blocking out nightmares, you may want to refresh yourself by reading one of my previous articles – ‘The Connector for Microsoft Dynamics’, paying particular attention to the second to last paragraph.
There are a number of tools that can be used to integrate Dynamics NAV with Dynamics CRM, some such as the Dynamics Connector will not cost you anything (other than time), others are more flexible but have an actual cost. Whichever solution you use, it should make use of the web services to ensure that it runs the native business logic and does not blindly add data to your system.
NAV has its own set of contacts (both Company and Person) and CRM functionality, and depending on your requirements, the Dynamics NAV CRM module could fit your requirements and has the advantage that it is already fully integrated with the ERP. However, Microsoft have put their eggs in the Dynamics CRM basket so I doubt the NAV CRM solution will evolve any further (except for partner add-on solutions), and may even disappear over time.
The Dynamics Connector as standard does not integrate NAV Company Contacts. The Connector seems to have been written from the perspective of a Dynamics CRM user adopting
The Dynamics Connector, despite its usability issues, is starting to gather a little momentum, due mainly to its flexibility and price tag. As the Connectors popularity grows, it is inevitable that you will sooner or later come up against something that it really was not designed to do, in my case this was to integrate with a version of Microsoft Dynamics® NAV prior to NAV 2009 or more specifically in this instance - NAV 5 but the same principles would apply to older NAV versions although with a little more work to get the Pages to fit.
You still need to be running the Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 client and middle tier as it is this that provides the architecture for the Connector to communicate with the Dynamics NAV data but providing you are up to date with your enhancement (BREP), or at least were at the time that NAV 2009 was released, then this is an FOC update and just requires installation of the new client and setup of the middle tiers. You then have a handful of Pages, a
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