Integrating Microsoft Dynamics with Drupal 7!

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At Upbeat we’ve recently been working with a client on developing a new site that integrates data from a backoffice CRM to drive website structure, content, and user interaction. The backoffice system is a Microsoft Dynamics installation.

The Challenge

Microsoft Dynamics

Our client had a website that had no integration with their other systems within the business giving them a heavy administration burden to add content and keep the website up to date.  There was a lot of duplicate entry required for the site to mirror the CRM system.  Our client not only wanted a new website that was much more intuitive for end users as well as internal staff but also wanted several integration points with MS Dynamics to remove the administration and make their processes more efficient.

These integrations included:
Lead generation for new partner organisations
Online user registration / synchronised through to back-office systems
Population, and updating of reference data such as partner organisations, educational establishments, and projects underway.

The Solution
We worked with our client’s CRM provider to determine a suitable integration approach, and to agree which data would be mapped between systems, and how updates to the data would be handled.

The integration works on the basis of a shared Microsoft SQL Server “staging” database which can be used to pull updates from Microsoft Dynamics, as well as feed updates back in. We put in place a solution that ensured that online access wasn’t dependent on availability of back end services, that access to back-office systems was kept secure, and that integration would scale to the data volumes required, as well as ensuring regular, timely updates to data.

The key integration points were around users of the site (students, staff, teachers), schools, activities, companies allowing all this information to be pulled into Drupal from the CRM.

Further developments have already been realised and we will continue to work with the client to build on the integration to allow further process improvements and efficiencies.  For example:  Fully automating the student registration process.

Experience
Through this experience we have grown as a business and built on our existing skills.  This will now allow us to work with more businesses that are facing similar challenges and are looking for a digital partner to implement positive change.