Armanino Consulting

Does Dynamics AX Have Out-of-the-Box Integration with Salesforce.com?

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This is a question that seems to come up a lot. With Microsoft CRM and Salesforce.com being the two clear leaders in the CRM space, there is a good chance that one of those two CRM packages are being used for the front office operations of the sales and services teams. There is significant value in integration between a company’s Dynamics AX ERP solution and their CRM of choice.

Microsoft CRM has a clear story around the out-of-the-box integrations available with Dynamics AX. Salesforce.com has a number of options that are available – some being more “out-of-the-box” than others. But what exactly does an out of the box integration mean?

The truth behind out-of-the-box AX and CRM (Salesforce or Dynamics) Integration

How many companies are able to buy a system like Dynamics AX and implement in a completely standard out-of-the-box fashion? Answer…very few.

How many companies today are buying salesforce.com without making any customizations to it or adding any force.com applications? Answer…very few.

In fact most companies buy these applications to take advantage of the greatest aspect of them – the ability to customize and tailor them to fit their business specific needs.

So when customers are looking for an out- of- the- box integration for two customized systems, we need to take a step back and review what the real drivers are for the integration. In any CRM / ERP integration project, there are a series of discussions that need to take place regarding:

  • Which system will be the system of record for each of the master records
  • Whether records can be edited by either system indefinitely or locked down at a given state
  • If the integrations will be real time or batch
  • How data transformations will take place such as how part numbers and pricing will be mapped across the systems
  • At what point will records be integrated
  • The types of users of each of those systems and their reporting requirements
  • And the reporting strategy of the company as a whole.

After establishing the baseline integration strategy, the integration methods can be evaluated. Some of the methods we have used are straight integration between sf.com web services and the AIF in AX, middleware packages including BizTalk, Cast Iron, BOOMI, and file based integrations. When evaluating these options, it is also important to understand how these integration technologies fit into the overall integration requirements of the company.

One of the biggest considerations is around the skillset within an organization. Identify either a pre-existing skillset, or one that the company will be investing in by training their employees. Also, what are the other systems – legacy, proprietary or other specialized applications, on-premises or cloud, etc. that also need to be integrated into a company’s core Dynamics AX ERP solution? When evaluating these systems, do these integration packages provide adapters as starting points for those systems that could result in a potential cost savings? What is the initial and ongoing cost of licensing for the integration packages? And finally, what is the cost of doing the integrations, both initially and throughout the lifecycle of the incremental development and/or upgrades, of the various integrated packages?

If you would like to learn more about CRM integration with Microsoft Dynamics AX, contact us.

By Armanino Consulting – the West Coast’s largest Gold Certified, Microsoft AX and GP Partner in Oregon, Washington, and California

 

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