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Connecting Software

Connecting a legacy system to Dynamics 365

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We all know companies that have a legacy system for a long, long time… longer than we think they should. How can we, as consultants or partners, help them move on?

The first question that pops to mind is: "Why don't they just get rid of that old software?". You can see the legacy software doesn't integrate well with the organization's newer hardware and software systems. It cannot be updated easily, if at all, and there aren't many persons that they can turn to when assistance is needed.

The truth is that legacy software exists because of its usefulness to the organization. Users have been working with it for quite a while, and it has served the organization well. The organization's IT team has become familiar with its limitations and knows all its quirks. This is a software that certainly has paid up for itself, and the whole organization is somehow comfortable with it.

However, there will come a time, in which the organization will start to look at their legacy software from a different angle. They begin to notice that

  • It is isolated as if it were an island in the middle of the modern software of the organization
  • It fosters outdated processes and somewhat getting in the way of the company's growth
  • It is costs them too much time and resources

At this point, there are two possible ways of tackling the problem: integration or migration. Let's say the organization already has Dynamics 365 or is interested in starting with it. How can they handle these two options?

Legacy system integration with Dynamics 365

Systems integration means ensuring the legacy systems work with new elements of the infrastructure, in this case, with Dynamics. It is a wise compromise solution if the legacy system handles particular situations, and the company wishes to keep it, at least, for the time being. Essential information, such as information about Contacts and Accounts, can be in sync by going ahead with an integration project.

This kind of solution is often a stepping-stone for future migration, which means it gets the organization closer to letting the old legacy system go, without doing so for now.

If the company has not worked with Dynamics 365 before, it gives them time to get adjusted to the new software. If they have already worked with Dynamics 365, that they will be able to move the features like in their legacy system over to Dynamics.

Legacy system migration to Dynamics 365

It is common that the legacy system used to handle what the organization now can handle with Dynamics 365. In these cases, they want to do one-time migration and then will shut down the legacy system for good.

The more complex item of the software migration will be the data migration, that is, the process of transferring data from a legacy system to the new system. The organization needs to plan, allocate resources, estimate effort, and track progress carefully for data migration. Keeping a close eye will avoid future problems like finding a whole section of the data was never migrated. It will also prevent that it turns into a never-ending story, as it is often the case.

How can an integration platform help?

A great way to tackle both integration and migration projects that involve Dynamics 365 is to build your custom application that handles the specific needs of the project. Having a custom application helps with both legacy system modernization approaches because it is the only way to make sure that the important features and data are still available for the users in the end. The problem with the building a custom application is these projects have deadlines and budgets, usually tight ones.

What if you could build an application to handle that integration or migration? Connect Bridge can "talk" to almost all software from the last 40 years using its 400+ connectors. If you need to "talk" to a software that does not have a connector yet, building a new connector is an option.

Connect Bridge is a software integration platform - it allows you to build your custom integration software in any language with much fewer lines of code. How can it help?

Here are the key advantages:

  • Simplicity - Connect Bridge eliminates the need for using Dynamics API by using standard SQL syntax instead. It uses its connector to translate the SQL statements into API calls. Development teams master Connect Bridge within hours, which is much faster than what it takes them to master the API.
  • Speed - By starting from a pre-tested solution, you will need fewer lines of code, and you will significantly reduce the number of errors.
  • Analytical features– Having the ability to view the target system as if it were a database is very helpful for organizing the data migration paths. Having a Query tool to test out possible queries will allow you to leverage the full power of the SQL language.
  • Maintenance– Connect Bridge guarantees forward and backward compatibility, which means when there is an update for Dynamics, that update is entirely handled by Connect Bridge. You won't have to worry.

We have been discussing integrating and migrating to Dynamics 365, but the same solution works for many other types of software. As long as you have access to the software's code, no matter what the programming language is, you can use Connect Bridge. Its database-style connection and wide array of 400+ connectors can be used to connect to virtually all packaged software.

The Connect Bridge connectors cover the following areas:

  • CRM/ERP/DMS/Accounting
  • Emails/Tasks/Calendar/Notes
  • Database
  • OData connectors
  • OPC UA connectors

Takeaway

Integrating a legacy system with Dynamics 365 is not a trivial task or one that you should take lightly. However, if such integration is successful, it can make a difference. To simplify that integration and make it faster, you can turn to an integration platform such as Connect Bridge.

 

By Ana Neto, Connecting Software, a 15-year-old producer of integration and synchronization solutions. Connect Bridge is our primary solution, on which we have built our successful market-leader products. We have 1000+ installations, and 250 000+ active users on all six continents.

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