What makes the best Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics AX integration?
By Henning Lund - May 25, 2016
Once you have invested in top rated CRM and ERP systems such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics AX, you need the two systems to communicate in order to get the most out of your investment (see my blog article about top 4 reasons for integrating ERP and CRM). But do you know how to choose the best Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics AX integration?
And in reality, this is an even broader question, because many companies have more than just one integration, so even though there is an import/export framework in AX, how does this play together with all the other integrations?
5 criteria to choose the perfect Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics AX integration solution
When talking with customers, I like to understand what their most critical needs are and what makes the perfect integration solution in their eyes. Here is a collection of some of the most common criteria to select a Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics AX integration:
“Choosing the best integration solution to connect your ERP and CRM systems is not just the icing on the cake. The integration is the missing link that can take the use of the two systems to a new, higher level and guarantee the return on your investment.”
Proven: when you chose an integration solution, like any other software solution, you need a proof that the solution has been successfully implemented multiple times, preferably at companies with similar integration solutions needs. A good and varied list of satisfied customers can talk more than detailed product sheets about the functionality and supposed benefits of the solution. Take the time to read customer stories, looking for the actual benefits achieved. Do not hesitate to request a list of reference customers and call the most relevant ones. Different software versions contain different integration options, so make sure that the reference matches your situation.
Stable and reliable: You want a product that is stable, flexible and synchronizes fast and seamlessly. You will need to spend time understanding how the integration solution ensures that you are never in doubt about whether or not the integration runs. Make sure that the integration leaves no risk for your data to get stuck somewhere in-between systems. “Staging” of data is often used, but it often involves at great risk in terms of security and quality of your data. Also, check who will be keeping an eye on your integration, monitoring that data is transferred as scheduled, fast and error-free (and how they will do it). Remember, if you don’t get any errors it might be because the integration is not running!
Quick implementation: You are eager to get started and use your newly installed CRM or ERP system. One last thing you need to do: integrate the two systems – you are under time pressure and it cannot go fast enough! Many of our customers have fast implementation as one of their top selection criteria. Remember that you can save a lot of time by choosing pre-configured solutions such as our RapidiOnline Salesforce-Microsoft Dynamics AX integration. Standard business processes are already tied to our pre-configured integration solutions. It might not be 100% suited to your exact needs but it allows you to jump start your project without having to start from scratch. See how Lindab, a producer of Ventilation, Components and Buildings implemented their Salesforce – Microsoft Dynamics AX integration solution in just two days. (Typically a project will take between 5 and 10 days.)
Deep product technical understanding: Find a vendor that has deep technical understanding of your solutions. This criteria cannot be underestimated. Having a thorough understanding of Microsoft Dynamics AX is necessary in order to understand the details of the AX database and the issues that could occur. This understanding is what makes a difference in how integrations are built. For example, this is what has enabled RapidiOnline to develop the Mirror feature, which is very unique to the RapidiOnline technology. The Mirror technology allows us to integrate a large amount of data in an easy, seamless and effective way without having to add extra programming into Microsoft Dynamics AX. It is a powerful feature, as updates in Microsoft Dynamics AX are usually hard to detect without extra programming. This extra little feature was one of the reasons why Readsoft (now Lexmark) chose the RapidiOnline integration. Read the Readsoft case study here.
Good business and process understanding: The technical structure, functionality, speed, flexibility of the solution are only one side of your project. It is important that you find a vendor that has sufficient domain knowledge to understand the how and the why in order to guide you to the solution you need. Select a vendor that has the capability to understand how you need the integration to be done and is willing to dedicate some time to understand your processes and build the perfect integration.
Choosing the best integration solution to connect your ERP and CRM systems is not just the icing on the cake. The integration is the missing link that can take the use of the two systems to a new, higher level and guarantee the return on your investment. It is nothing less than vital to the full success of the strategy behind your investment. Choose it carefully.
About the author
With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.