Skip to main content

Estimating the Cost of Dynamics CRM Implementations: Part 4 -- Integration

If you have been following this series, part four takes us from the relatively clear formulae of software licensing and the function-driven, gap analysis of customization, into the wilds of software integration.   The cost of integration cannot be derived from the number of users or even the complexity of the xRM solution.  It can only be determined with a thorough understanding of the systems to be integrated and the nature of the integration that is required.

We often encounter implementation solicitations that include integration requirements.  Usually, there is a line in the long list of requirements that says something like "integrate with our accounting, timesheets, federal systems, etc." We always say that the price of an unspecified feature cannot be specified.  In order words, without a detailed definition of how two systems will be integrated, an estimate of scope is useless. That little et cetera often found in requirements is of course the worst three letters you could include in a fixed price RFP.

When forced to bid on integration without specifications, conservative companies will bid high to cover the risk inherent in the ambiguity.   More aggressive companies will bid low and place a bet on a combination of optimism and use of change orders once the deal is done.

Here are some of the details that can help derive a better estimate for integration:

  1. Provide documentation for the systems to be integrated, including the data models and options for integration such as web services.
  2. Define functional requirements for the integration.   Spell out how the scenario would work, where the data would be entered, how it is processed in each system, and where it ends up.
  3. Choose the direction of the integration (one-way or two-way).   Which is the authoritative system in the event of a conflict?
  4. Spell out any tools that you would prefer for data integration.   Do you own middleware or enterprise application integration software that would help.

If you are starting from scratch with an xRM application, you may want to hold off on including the integration requirements if they are subject to change based on how the xRM solution itself is developed.    You may even save money by having one vendor implement the solution and another perform the integration.

Dynamics CRM provides a modern, web services interface to allow integration.    You may want to assign the integration task to developers who are proficient in the other system with which you are integrating, especially if it uses a less open and modern architecture.

See our Dynamics CRM implementation cost calculator

Popular posts from this blog

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…

Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

One of InfoStrat's most popular solutions is Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors (GovCon).



Here are some answers to frequently asked question on this solution:
Can I add new fields to the solution?  -- Yes, the solution is fully customizable and you can add your own new fields to any form, view or report.Does Dynamics 365 for GovCon work on mobile devices?  -- Yes, Microsoft offers mobile apps for all the most popular platforms including iPhone, iPad, and Android phone and tablets.Does Dynamics 365 connect with bid data systems such as Deltek and Onvia?  -- Some information services, such as Onvia, offer integration with Dynamics 365.  Others require third party solutions such as the InfoStrat integration with Deltek GovWin IQ.What do customers typically customize for their unique requirements? -- Not all contractors follow the same steps in the capture process.  Most clients will tailor the business process to add or remove steps in order to match their sales methodology.  Of…

Understanding Microsoft AppSource and Dynamics 365

On July 6, 2016, Microsoft announced the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Scheduled to be available in the fall of 2016, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow new ways for customers to consume Microsoft's current CRM and ERP cloud offerings based on business functions such as financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project management and customer service.

Microsoft AppSource will be an online store for cloud services from Microsoft and third party providers such as InfoStrat and other Microsoft partners.  Microsoft expects to offer more than 200 business SaaS apps, add-ins and content packs when AppSource launches.



The announcement garnered quite a bit of response in the press, including the Wall Street Journal and Forbes
Although all the details of Dynamics 365 have not been announced, the essence is bundling and un-bundling of products and features from Microsoft's extensive Dynamics catalog.  Microsoft is enhancing the integrat…