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Microsoft Dynamics GP® Integration Tools – An Overview

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Available Tools

Multiple tools and options exist to create integrations with Microsoft Dynamics® GP (Dynamics) transactions and master records. Below is a summary of the current tools. Additional downloadable documents with detailed information are available from our website. 

 

Factors that Influence the Tool Choice

Four main factors will influence the tool choice:

  1. The capabilities required of the integration
  2. The degree of user interface
  3. The developer’s skills and experience
  4. The underlying costs of the tool

Capabilities Required of the Integration

  • An integration may insert data into Dynamics
  • An integration may read and write data to and from Dynamics and another application
  • An integration may export data from Dynamics

The Degree of User Interface

Users may manually execute integrations, selectively control the integration, or be relatively unaware of automatic read/write integrations.

The Developer’s Skills and Experience

An important consideration in using an integration tool is the degree of the developer’s skills and experience because both factors heavily influence the schedule and cost of development.

For example, Integration Manager is flexible for end-users.  No programming skills are necessary to create and use its routines; however, powerful Integration Manager routines with Visual Basic scripting attached can be added onto a basic integration routine.  If time is of the essence, a simple integration routine can be created to insert data into Dynamics.  As the data is proofed and time allows, Visual Basic scripting can be added to enhance the integration with:

  • Data preparation and cleaning
  • Error checking
  • Scheduling
  • File cleanup post integration

For more complex integrations, many more tools and options are available to developers, including a combined use of several tools.  The goal is always foremost to make these integrations easy-to-use in addition to creating the integrations two-way, live, and with error checking.

The Underlying Costs of the Tool

Several costs should be considered when choosing the tool:

  • Licensing and annual software maintenance plan cost
  • Training cost for the developer
  • Hardware and software environment cost

In a perpetual licensing model, there may be a module cost for the tool plus its annual software maintenance plan.  With Integration Manager, it is supplied at no additional charge for the first 120 days of use with the Microsoft Dynamics® Business Ready Licensing model.  After 120 days, the Integration Suite can be purchased, containing both Integration Manager and eConnect.  Other software tools will require the deployment of an IIS Server of the purchase of Visual Studio.

The training requirements for the tools such as Dexterity, Visual Studio, or Web Services can require training classes spanning days or weeks.  Integration Manager and Extender, on the other hand, may require only several hours of training for the developer or end user.

In larger, complex environments, there may be hardware requirements to enable a Microsoft SQL Server instance with a staging database.

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By Gloria Braunschweig with Computeration, the Oregon Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner.  Ask Computeration how it specializes in ways to enhance your company’s solutions with Microsoft Dynamics GP in Oregon, Idaho, and Southwest Washington, with clients around the world, Computeration makes your implementation successful by offering experienced project management, data integration, training, and consulting services.

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