How to Use Connectors and Integration Platforms with Your Dynamics 365

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How to Use Connectors and Integration Platforms with Your Dynamics 365

 

Unlocking the full potential of Dynamics 365 often entails seamless integration with other systems and applications. This is where the roles of connectors, namely a Dynamics 365 connector, and integration platforms, become pivotal.

What is an Integration Platform?

An integration platform offers a more versatile software environment for creating custom integrations between any two or more systems. For a deeper dive into integration platforms, check out this comprehensive article.

What is a Connector?

In the simplest terms, a connector enables two or more disparate systems to communicate with one another. Specifically engineered for particular systems, connectors act as a liaison between the integration platform and the target systems like Dynamics 365 and Salesforce.

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Connectors and Integration Platforms

Think of connectors and integration platforms as a lock and key mechanism; the connector serves as the lock, designed for a specific system, while the integration platform functions as the universal key, adaptable to various locks.

How Dynamics 365 Admins Can Benefit

Administrators can leverage connectors and integration platforms to:

  • Establish connections between Dynamics 365 and other platforms like Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle.
  • Streamline workflows by automating data transfers between Dynamics 365 and other systems.
  • Enrich Dynamics 365 by integrating it with e-commerce platforms, marketing automation tools, and other third-party applications.

Advantages of Using Connectors and Integration

Platforms in Dynamics 365

The benefits of employing connectors and integration platforms in Dynamics 365 are multifold:

  • Enhanced Data Integrity: These tools ensure consistent data synchronization between Dynamics 365 and other systems, thus elevating the accuracy and reliability of your data.
  • Automation of Workflows: The duo can also automate a range of workflows between Dynamics 365 and external systems, thereby augmenting operational efficiency.
  • Unified Business Processes: By connecting Dynamics 365 to diverse systems and applications, you can create a more streamlined, integrated business process. For instance, integrating Dynamics 365 with your e-commerce platform could automatically populate customer orders in Dynamics 365.

Example: Using Connect Bridge to connect to Dynamics 365

Let’s see how you get all this to work in a specific example. For this example, we will use the Connect Bridge integration platform and the Dynamics 365 connector for this platform.

Diagram explaining the Role of the Dynamics 365 Connector in Software Integration

How to Use Connect Bridge with the Dynamics 365 Connector

Prerequisites

  1. A valid Dynamics 365 license
  2. Your Dynamics 365 credentials
  3. A Connect Bridge license that includes the Dynamics 365 connector
  4. A machine or a VM (Virtual Machine) for installing Connect Bridge
  5. Knowledge of SQL, namely of SELECT statements

Steps Involved

Here is a quick summary of the steps involved.

  1. Determine whether you need solely the Dynamics 365 connector or additional connectors for other systems.
  2. Install and activate Connect Bridge.
  3. Configure the Dynamics 365 connection settings.
  4. Utilize code or SQL Server Management Studio Linked Server for integration.
  5. Test your setup thoroughly.

Most of the “magic” is in step 4. If you are curious about the details, here is a Codementor article explaining how you would do it if you were coding in Python Wanted: Microsoft Dynamics data in Python scripts. By the way, any programming language that can work with ODBC, JDBC, or Web services can be used for the integration.

Once you have the basic setup done, you need to know what data you want to collect and explore Connect Bridge Management Studio to design the query for it. But just to give you an idea, if you wanted to select thirty entries from Dynamics's accounts that have an e-mail address, the query would be

SELECT accountid, accountnumber, name, emailaddress1

FROM account

WHERE emailaddress1 IS NOT NULL

LIMIT 30;

As you can see, this looks like a normal SQL query, but the connector and the integration platform would turn it into API communication.

Examples and Use Cases

Here are three examples of how organizations have integrated Dynamics 365 with other business applications to improve overall operations.

Conclusion

The strength of Dynamics 365 lies in its data capabilities. Connectors and integration platforms like Connect Bridge amplify this strength by gathering data from a myriad of platforms and databases—whether on-premises or online—into Dynamics 365. With this data integration in place, you can improve customer service, support decision making, and refine business processes. In short, you can push the boundaries of what Dynamics 365 can do for your business.

Interested in leveraging Connect Bridge with Dynamics 365? Tell us what your challenges are, and we'll be glad to assist.

 

Talk to Us - Connect Bridge & the Dynamics 365 Connector

 

Want to learn more about Connect Bridge on your own? Here are some resources to get you started:

 

Ana Neto - Connecting SoftwareArticle by Ana Neto

Software engineer since 1997, she is now a technical advisor for Connecting Software.

Connecting Software is a producer of integration and synchronization software solutions since 2004. We operate globally and we are also a proud “Top Member” and "Top Blogger" at CRMSoftwareBlog.

 

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