I attended a webinar today hosted by Touchstone’s Dominic Houlbrooke-Bowers, about Smart Connect for Dynamics GP
There are two ways to summarise this product from this demo (i’ve not yet read more);
Replacement for integration manager using eConnect to enforce the busines rules, providing a richer and much faster experience than integration manager.
A power user graphical user interface for eConnect
It has some very powerful extra features too like push from internet placed excel or info path forms to web services and into GP.
Smart connect is a replacement for integration manager written by eOne Solutions. No GP licence required unlike integration manager. It is much much faster than integration manager when running integrations (isn’t everything though).
Much like integration manager it can take sources from excel, text files and xml. Or database connections much as you would expect from an integration tool. Then allows users to set up a mapping of the fields. However it seems to hide a lot of the complexity that integration manager users have to deal with, such as joins to detail level records.
Other features include; Scheduling, emailing, intercompany postings, create transactions, GP triggers from events in GP (e.g. automatically create purchase order from sales orders).
Uses eConnect as back end so business rules enforced by econnect. Looks like it uses windows scheduling manager to do scheduled imports.
Event driven creation of records in GP is possible so you can create entities from other entities, very, very cool! Sales order automatically creates a purchase order etc. Almost any event driven/triggered record creation is possible.
During integrations if errors occur, simply click fix button to fix the lines that are wrong in the source and change them then resubmit them – easy, easy, easy!
Mapping between source fields and GP is really easy with drag and drop mapping of fields presented in a way power users can use.
Gets rid of need for header then join relationship child tables, also makes mapping much easier. All windows look like GP windows.
100 line integration example used in demo takes much longer in integration manager at 10 mins vs smart connect at 16 seconds for sales invoices import.
Real time integration with GP triggers.
Management console shows all the integrations and status. History of failures shown. Can easily re run them using the edit and submit system.
Push integrations across internet/vpn connections possible from excel or info path. Demo was given of the classic expenses submission (how many times have we seen that example used…?)
Supports active directory, very granular control over permission to companies and entities by user or groups. – nice.
Supports scheduling integrations. - useful.
Dynamics GP versions 9 and 10 supported.
Supplied mapping files
Supplied mapping files are provided. The following page lists the CRM ones available. This looks promising for CRM integration (real time!).
SmartConnect Templates for Dynamics CRM Integration