It is not easy to maintain that edge and stay one step ahead of the competition.
This is the story of Noah Walker, a CRM consultant, that wanted to find a way to help Oliver Smith, production manager at a manufacturing facility, stay ahead of his competition.
Oliver initially approached Noah because he knew of his excellent track record with CRM implementations that were a bit out of your standard CRM implementation.
He was hoping Noah would be able to handle one of his main requirements: getting info from specific sensors and production machines in real-time. He wanted this info from the machines to be part of his dashboard.
Being in a decision-making position, he wanted to have a real-time dashboard for effortless remote monitoring. That would then allow for predictive maintenance and production planning.
"OK", said Noah, "I think we can implement an XRM solution with an IIOT integration".
What is XRM?
Oliver had not heard of XRM before, so the first question that popped to his mind was "XRM? Don't you mean CRM?" Noah explained how the concepts are related, but the X stands for endless possibilities: "It is not complicated - XRM is 'anything' relationship management".
"Let's say you take Dynamics 365 and use it as a platform for building an XRM system", he further explained.
"This is something I do it on a regular basis and you do get a solid base on which you can build line-of-business (LOB) solutions. Everything can be customized to meet the organization's needs and integrate seamlessly with other critical systems.".
Getting these customizations and integrations off the ground involves careful planning and requirements analysis and even more careful follow-up during project execution. You don't the project to turn into a never-ending project and the X to stand for "nothing" relationship management!
XRM projects vary quite a bit depending on what kind of X you are working for, but there is one thing in common: data needs to be collected, analyzed, stored, retrieved and acted upon, seamlessly.
As Oliver's company works with a variety of sensors and production machines, then that is a great place to collect data. For Noah, who will be implementing the project, though, including the data from the sensors is not a trivial requirement. He wants to include this in the project without making it super expensive and lengthy.
Faster and Far More Affordable XRM and IIoT Projects
This is where Connect Bridge comes in for Noah.
Developers complete Connect Bridge projects 2 to 10 times faster than projects that use the API directly. The more complex the requirements are, the bigger the time savings are. Of course, time is money, so that means cost savings as well.
Connecting Software launched the Connect Bridge integration platform 10 years ago, and Noah finds it reassuring that companies worldwide use it. Noah doesn't know about it, but actually Connecting Software itself also uses Connect Bridge. All Connecting Software market-leader products were built using Connect Bridge.
Getting a Proof of Concept running for the project
To show Oliver what he could do with this tool, Noah asked for a free trial of Connect Bridge with the Dynamics 365 and the OPC UA connectors activated.
As soon as he got his trial license, Noah follows the tried and true process for Connect Bridge projects:
- Install Connect Bridge
- Activate license
- Configure an account for each of the connectors (Dynamics 365 and the OPC UA in this case)
- Using Connect Bridge Management Studio, run test queries and find which of the pre-built stored procedures you can use for the project
- Get all he got into his code. Noah is using C#, but he actually could use whatever programming language he fancied: as long as it supports connecting to a database via ODBC, JDBC or Web services, it automatically supports Connect Bridge.
Of course, that at a Proof of Concept stage, he does not go in too deep. The idea is just to show Oliver how the XRM and IIoT integration would work.
Noah knows he can simply take it from there when they move on to the actual implementation of the project: his initial work will not be lost.
For Oliver, our production manager, the greatest thing about this project was that it fit the requirements flawlessly. Moreover, the project it was up and running quickly. He was also happy to know that Connect Bridge will handle all the future upgrades - the forward compatibility warranty is a very welcome benefit.
For Noah, our consultant, it was good to have Connect Bridge give him a head start in this XRM and IIoT integration project. He noticed how his code was much more straightforward and less error-prone.
Would you like to see if
Why don't you
By Ana Neto,