As Dynamics 365 users know, one of the biggest advantages of utilizing the suite of D365 business intelligence apps is the ability to easily connect your ERP and CRM solutions. Because Business Central utilizes a shard Dataverse with D365 Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service, data is able to flow seamlessly between the applications, making it simple to track and report on transactions from quote to revenue without the need for costly third-party integrations or manual data migrations.
The most common method for connecting Business Central with a D365 CRM environment is to use Microsoft’s out-of-the-box connector which integrates the applications through the Dataverse using a low-code configuration. It’s a tried-and-true method that, for many businesses, is by far the most effective and efficient option for connecting their solutions. However, over our years of working closely with clients, we’ve found that for some businesses, this connection method has certain drawbacks.
Specifically, certain processes require finance users to take manual action on data that comes from CRM when using the out-of-the-box connector. For instance, when contacts or accounts are created in CRM by sales teams, those accounts are not automatically created as customer records in Business Central. Instead, this integration method relies on a staging table that allows finance users to review the CRM data before manually creating the customer records in Business Central. This same manual “coupling” process applies to the creation of sales orders when using the out-of-the-box connector. A salesperson that creates a sales order during their sales processes using Dynamics 365 CRM will not create that sales order in Business Central. Instead, a finance user is notified of the new CRM record and must oversee the creation of their Business Central record themselves.
For many businesses, this type of workflow is no problem at all and adds only a small amount of manual record creation time to their finance team’s day. For businesses working in a low volume but high value sales environment, this process can actually be advantageous. It allows finance teams to stay on top of new customer acquisitions and acts as an added layer of review and approval on potentially complex customer financial records. In many ways, this process makes perfect sense. Finance teams are the ones keeping track of and reporting on financial records, so they should have final control of how those records are created.
On the other hand, for businesses that operate in a high-sales-volume environment, this type of manual oversight and record creation by finance teams can be a major bottleneck. That’s where the Catapult custom-built connector comes in.
What makes our connector different?
Created with this type of business in mind, our team’s custom-coded connector removes the process of manual Business Central record creation entirely. Instead, customers and sales orders are automatically created in Business Central based on customizable filter rules. Using filters, businesses can apply their own logic to the creation of records in Business Central based on their own internal business processes rather than relying on a manual effort. For example, a business may want contacts created in their CRM to automatically become customer records in Business Central, but only if those contacts are listed as “billing contacts.” This could easily be done using the filter logic. By relying on a set of rules based on their own internal processes, businesses can eliminate the need for manual record creation in Business Central.
On top of that, the Catapult custom connector also provides a more in-depth audit log for troubleshooting any errors that occur. While the Microsoft out-of-the-box connector does provide error messages for conflicts or issues that arise, the more detailed audit log provided by our custom connector allows support teams to spend less time identifying the source of issues and address errors more quickly.
This custom integration uses a layer of custom code along with a Power Automate configuration to establish a connection between the apps. And, while establishing this connection requires more expertise than the out-of-the-box integration’s low-code configuration, the difference in set up time and effort is minimal from a user perspective so there’s no trade-off to consider. The custom connector simply provides our clients with more options for building workflows that save time and fit their business processes. It’s yet another illustration of our consulting team’s commitment to understanding our clients’ businesses and building tailor-made solutions that fit their unique needs.
If your team would like to learn more about our custom connector or is interested in new ways of making your Dynamics 365 solution work more efficiently for your business, get in touch today to find out how we can help.