Implementing SmartConnect: Introduction

eOne SolutionsThis post is part of the series on Implementing SmartConnect, an integration tool from eOne Solutions, which can take data from any source and integrate it into Microsoft Dynamics GP (and other systems such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Sales Force amongst others). It has a drag and drop interface to make creating integrations quick and easy for all users rather than just developers (as many integration tools target).

SmartConnect provides an alternative to Integration Manager, which is part of the Microsoft Dynamics GP Customisation Pack. While Integration Manager allows users to create and run integrations on an ad hoc basis, SmartConnect provides much more functionality, such as the ability to schedule integrations, poll a folder to load all files within and load data from many different data sources including Excel spreadsheets, transform data and provides a web service which can be called from any application.

There are three types of integration which can be created in SmartConnect:

  • Bulk Data Sources – Bulk data sources are configured to look at fixed data locations (such as a particular file or folder). The SmartConnect Scheduler can be used to define a schedule on which bulk data source integrations should be run.
  • Change Data Sources – A change data source will track all data changes since the map last ran successfully; based on the schedule, it will execute a SmartConnect map to integrate the data.
  • Real Time Data Sources – Data is integrated in real time from any Microsoft Dynamics GP window or direct from Dynamics CRM to any destination.

Supported data sources in SmartConnect are:

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Salesforce.com
  • XML
  • SQL Server
  • ODBC
  • OLEDB
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Comma Separated Values
  • Text Tab Delimited
  • SmartList Builder
  • Extender
  • InfoPath
  • WebService
  • Websites

Available destinations adaptors in SmartConnect are:

  • Microsoft Dynamics GP – SmartConnect provides a layer over eConnect for Microsoft Dynamics GP to ensure that all data is validated and mets the business application logic. SmartConnect can integrate with custon eConnect nodes (eOne Solutions also provide a Node Builder product wich can be used to build eConnect nodes without the need for a developer) and Extender from eOne Solutions.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM – SmartConnect can write to every entity, including all custom entities, by using the Dynamics CRM web services.
  • Salesforce.com – SmartConnect can integrate into all SalesForce objects.
  • XML – SmartConnect can generate XML output files for other systems to integrate (such as for passing a file to a supplier or customer).
  • Excel – Export data into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
  • Text – Export data into a text or CSV file.
  • SQL Table – Export data into a SQL table (not recommended for any system with an integration process or API.
  • SQL Stored Procedure – Export data by calling a SQL stored procedure.

From the work I have done with SmartConnect so far, it seems to be a much better option for integrating data into Microsoft Dynamics GP than Integration Manager; on the surface it seems more complicated (and the install is), but the level of functionality available far surpasses that of Integration Manager.

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