Integrating Dynamics AX with eCommerce
Guidelines for a successful Dynamics AX and eCommerce integration
Microsoft Dynamics AX (Axapta) is one of Microsoft’s premier ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. This software is best suited for large enterprise businesses, that need a powerful platform and aren’t afraid of using a complex system. Dynamics AX can help manage customer relationships, handle finances and streamline businesses processes. One of the ways to make your Microsoft Dynamics AX software more useful and therefore more beneficial is to integrate it with your eCommerce platform, creating a Dynamics AX eCommerce solution. Below are five tips to follow when integrating Dynamics AX with your eCommerce platform.
Use Application Integration Framework
Application integration framework (AIF) is provided by Microsoft, within Dynamics AX to be used to integrate with external systems and applications. The AIF framework is recommended and supported by Microsoft, making it possible for your Dynamics AX software to send and receive documents and data from outside applications, such as your eCommerce platform.
Use a Mapping Matrix
When planning Dynamics eCommerce integration, it is wise to make a mapping matrix (field to field mapping table) to consider all potential components that could be mapped between the two data sources, to use now or at a later date. Sometimes with integration, your team is just focused on connecting your systems for a specific or a few specific connections. However, making a mapping matrix will allow your team to validate all of the mappings that will be created and brainstorm about ones that you could connect now and possibly use in the future. When systems are being integrated, it is best to do as much work as possible while you are already operating on the systems rather than waiting to do it at another point in time.
Document Custom Fields and Entries
When integrating your eCommerce platform with Microsoft Dynamics AX, it is vital to document any and all custom classes, levels, or fields you have created and use in Dynamics AX. If you map any of these custom fields to your eCommerce platform, you need to provide a detailed review for your team so they know about and understand the detailed requirements of each of the custom entities.
Run a “Cloned” Environment
When working on an integration with Dynamics AX, it is best to use a cloned environment (sandbox) from your production one, to develop and test the integration without having to worry about disrupting your business processes. When doing so, you need to make sure that the cloned environment correctly reflects the production environment by having a detailed list of all the features and functions of your Dynamics AX instance. You will also need to configure the settings of the development environment to match the settings of your production environment and install any additional components that are already installed in the product environment. While cloning a whole environment may seem cumbersome and time consuming, it actually helps to reduce the time integrations take by discovering issues and fixing them early in the integration process. Consider using a VM of the full environment offline to make the setup time shorter and the changes when pushing to production minimized.
Use Standard Practices for Dynamics Integrations
The basic best practices for any integration focus on three components: security, redundancy and performance. Scope data, use SSL for all data transmissions, require authentication and use multiple levels of security to make the integration secure. Have a redundant system in place to ensure that data will keep being sent from one system to the other until it is successfully received. Have a message queue in place to store the data being transferred if it cannot be received right away. Using caching and sending small packets of data at a time will help improve the integration’s speed and performance. These practices are the foundation of a successful Dynamics AX and eCommerce integration. Clarity's own integration platform provides all of these features, which are used when we do our own AX integration work.
Clarity Can Help
At Clarity, we value the benefits that integrations can bring to our clients' businesses. That’s why out team of experts have helped numerous clients complete a number of Dynamic AX integrations for their eCommerce businesses. We have even developed our own integration platform, Clarity Connect, to help your integrations run smoothly and securely. To find out more about how Clarity can help you integrate Dynamics AX or any other software with your eCommerce, visit the Dynamics AX Integration Resource Center.