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Advanced SharePoint integration with Dynamics CRM

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Dynamics CRM integrates with SharePoint out of the box, bringing document management features such as version control to documents within Dynamics CRM. As well as the convenience of accessing document in CRM this also allows organisations to share documents with users outside CRM in a standard SharePoint implementation.

Standard Features/Setup

The standard integration includes:

  •  Access relevant documents from SharePoint directly within the Dynamics CRM User Interface.

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  • Documents can be uploaded through Dynamics CRM to SharePoint for any record type that supports documents.

  • The full range of SharePoint actions e.g. check in / out, versions etc are available via the Dynamics CRM interface.

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  •  Document management can be activated on a per entity basis e.g. Contact, Account, Cases etc.

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  •  Administrators can specify the SharePoint Server URL by using the SharePoint Site entity.

  • Dynamics CRM allows for the automatic creation of folders in SharePoint e.g. When creating an Opportunity for an Account a folder will be created for the Opportunity below the relevant Account.

  • Documents are stored in SharePoint, reducing CRM storage requirements. SharePoint Online storage is considerably lower cost than CRM Online storage.

New Server Side Integration

 

For 2015 the Dynamics CRM integration with SharePoint has been enhanced so that the List Component is no longer required. Benefits include:

  • Simpler setup with no complex software installation and configuration
  • Server based, rather than client based integration, providing a more integrated approach e.g. navigation is part of the CRM menus
  • Single Sign On (SSO) is now fully supported
  • One note integration, with direct editing within Dynamics CRM

One of the drivers for the move to Server Side integration has been the deprecation of the Sandbox model in SharePoint. The original List Component relied on this model and as such had to be replaced. The List Component will be supported for some time to come, but will not be available for activation from the next version of Dynamics CRM. As such over time all implementations will move to the new server based integration.

One Note Integration

With Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 comes support for One Note directly within the Dynamics CRM UI. This feature is activated with SharePoint integration and stores Notebooks and Notes in SharePoint.

Once activated the Social Wall has an additional option, allowing rich text notes to be directly managed and editing against the relevant CRM record.

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One Drive for Business & SharePoint 

Another advantage of SharePoint for document storage is One Drive for Business, which allows document libraries or folders to be synchronised from SharePoint to local PCs. This is useful when users want Case documents or similar to be easily accessible to them, including an offline version.

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Hybrid Cloud Scenarios

Microsoft Cloud products such as Dynamics CRM Online and SharePoint Online support hybrid cloud scenarios. That allows an Online version of Dynamics CRM to connect to a SharePoint on-premise, or vice versa. As such organisations can utilise existing infrastructure or solutions as necessary.

Email & Note Attachments

Whilst the functionality provided by the integration is excellent, there is the question of how to handle documents that are attached to emails stored in CRM, or if a document is attached to a Note. These documents are held in CRM, can get lost in the activity feed, and are not easily accessible.

C2 have developed a solution to help address these concerns. When an email with attachments is uploaded to CRM a workflow will fire against the email. The workflow will make a call out to retrieve all documents attached to the email and store them in the relevant Account folder in SharePoint. Where the folder does not already exist in SharePoint a new folder will be automatically created.

The same technique can also be applied to Notes. This ensures that all documents are held in SharePoint Online, ensuring that all documents are consistently managed and are easy to find via SharePoint search and categorisation features.

Conclusions

SharePoint integration with Dynamics CRM provides an effective way of capturing and sharing documents in relation to CRM records. It also provides advanced options such as rich text notes via One Note and offline file capabilities with One Drive for Business. It can be also be extended further to ensure that all document attachments on emails and notes in CRM are automatically transferred to SharePoint.

If you would like to speak to us about integrating SharePoint with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for your organisation, please Contact Us for further information or visit the Video Tutorial page.


11 Aug 2015

About the Author

James CTwo is our blogging alter ego for the Dynamics CRM and Web experts here at C2. We have a passion for anything CRM, Web Design or Social Media. We love writing about it! Find us on YouTube & Twitter.

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