Integration tools can be used to incorporate data from a variety of sources into Dynamics GP. They can also export data from Dynamics GP into many different file types such as text, Excel and XML. For some integrations, you will simply be moving data straight into Dynamics GP. For others, you will want to convert or manipulate the data prior to integrating it. Simple or complex, integration tools can make the whole process easier!
The backbone of these tools is eConnect, a set of SQL stored procedures that can be installed for Dynamics GP. They are used to accept data and integrate it into the appropriate database tables. The eConnect stored procedures use business rules to validate the data before integrating it to GP, thus protecting the integrity of the data and only allowing you to insert valid data.
Using eConnect without integration tools can be a complicated process. Which of these stored procedures should I use? In which order? What fields are required? How do I implement error handling? I’ve written integration processes with only eConnect. Using one of these integration tools is, by far, a better way to go!
A few of the available tools:
- Integration Manager
- Dell Boomi
- SQL Services Integration Services (SSIS)
These tools can streamline the whole data integration process. You can transform data, and, in some cases, load and process multiple files. The ability to create scripts can also add flexibility to your process. I am very impressed with the power and possibilities of these tools!
This blog will take a look at each of the tools above and how they differentiate.
Integration Manager is offered as a separate application with Dynamics GP. It has been designed for ease of use – no programming skills required! While any user can run integrations that have already been defined, Integration Manager is considered by some to be a great power user tool for development of integrations.
SmartConnect’s easy-to-use toolset has transformed the integration process to allow users to import and export data to and from Dynamics GP, Dynamics CRM and Salesforce (using the Salesforce API). The ability to test a Dynamics GP integration by setting its destination to a Dynamics GP file is absolutely invaluable. This capability allows you to view, in XML format, exactly what data would be integrated into Dynamics GP. It’s a great way to test any customization you have done prior to actually sending it to GP and has helped me when doing complex integrations!
The Boomi AtomSphere integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is a 100% cloud-based integration engine that can connect to a large variety of data sources. It supports real-time integration and scales to meet high volume needs. Accessed via a browser, it provides a great visual interface that enables use of its many connectors and processes. Familiar point-and-click and drag-and-drop tools make this an easy graphical environment. Coding is not required but can be used to transform and customize data.
Scribe is an agile data integration software platform. There is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) cloud-based platform as well as an on premise version. It provides a robust suite of ready-to-use adapters and an intuitive interface to handle custom requests by both developers and business analysts.
SQL Services Integration Services (SSIS)
SSIS is a powerful tool that goes beyond data integration. As a component of the Microsoft SQL Server database software, it can be used to perform a broad range of tasks, including data integration, and the creation of extract, transform and load (ETL) packages. SSIS also migrates (copy or move) files from one location to another. Developers that create or maintain SSIS packages use an environment that is based on Microsoft Visual Studio and allows for drag-and-drop of its many tools.
Which GP integration tool is best for my company?
Incorporating data from outside sources into your GP system, or exporting data from GP into different file types, doesn’t need to be difficult! Microsoft and the ISV ecosystem have created tools to make it easier for you, as presented above.
Not sure which tool is best for your solution and requirements? Reach out to FMT Consultants by filling out the form below to learn more.
In the future, I will be providing more in-depth looks at many of these tools, so keep checking back!