Implementing SmartConnect: SmartConnect vs. Integration Manager

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).

For providing clients with integrations, we’ve typically used Integration Manager, which is part of the Customisation Pack. Having recently taken a look at SmartConnect from eOne Solutions, I rapidly came to the conclusion that while Integrating Manager is easy to use and integrations are relatively simple to create, it lacks a lot of the features of SmartConnect.

Feature Integration Manager SmartConnect
Easy to create integrations
Schedule Integrations to run automatically  
Use Excel XLSX as a data source  
Connect to almost any datasource  
Integrate to any eConnect node  
Integrate with custom eConnect nodes  
Extend integrations programatically VBA VB.NET or C#
Chain integrations to run one after the other  
Schedule export of data to other systems  
Robust when integrating large datasets  

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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.

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Implementing SmartConnect: Who Are eOne Solutions?

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).

I’ve done a small number of posts before on eOne’s SmartList Builder previously, but this is the first series of posts I’ve done on one of their products.

I’m sure everyone using Microsoft Dynamics GP is aware of who eOne Solutions are, but in case you don’t, eOne are a Microsoft Dynamics GP ISV (Independent Software Vendor) based in Fargo, North Dakota, and with offices in Texas and Australia.

They have created a number of products which either install into Microsoft Dynamics GP or which integrate with it:

  1. SmartConnect – the subject of this series is an integration tool which allows you to integrate lots of different systems with Microsoft Dynamics GP.
  2. Extender – allows you to create new windows and forms for Microsoft Dynamics GP, without needing the services of a developer.
  3. SmartView – provides an alternate, fast and flexible interface to the existing SmartLists.
  4. Node Builder – allows easy creation of new eConnect nodes to be created without the need for a developer.
  5. Flexicoder – allows you to automatically recode Sales transactions with configurable rules and references.
  6. SmartPost – automates the posting of Microsoft Dynamics GP batches.
  7. SmartList Builder – enables both the creation of new SmartList objects or modification of existing ones. Up to 32 tables can be linked and tables can be standard GP tables, any Third Party (ISV) tables, any SQL table, SQL views or SQL Scripts, other SmartLists or Extender resources.

I’ve worked with many clients using SmartList Builder and it has proven to be a very popular tool with them for the ease and flexibility of creating new SmartLists. In more recent times, I’ve also done work with Extender, SmartConnect and NodeBuilder. In this series, I am going to be focused on SmartConnect, but over the coming year, I’ll also be taking a look at some of the other products.

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