CRM/NAV Connector – Video – New features of V2 of the Connector

Here is an excellent video from msdyncomm which runs through the new features in V2 of the Connector for Microsoft Dynamics.

This is an indepth video which is 23 minutes long and goes through some of the features in detail like the new filtering functionality (which is excellent by the way)

CRM/NAV Connector – Heading in the right direction

I noticed a few links today from an article published on Dynamics world, you can read the article below

Microsoft Looking for Improved Sentiment on V2 of Connector for Dynamics ERP and CRM

The article is made up from quotes from a number of my blog posts on the connector and overall it gave the overall impression that using the CRM/NAV connector is hard work and can be difficult to use.

I was thinking about my comments and I would certainly say it hasn’t been easy and working with the connector has been very frustrating and I have had some wrestling to make it work.

On the other hand if you want to use the standard maps the connector works very well.  The problems arise when you want to do something that isn’t standard.

I am now onto my 3rd or 4th customer integration using the connector and I have done a few internally and it does start to get easier once you know the solutions to the problems that pop up.

I have also recently started to feel that Microsoft have made some movements in the right direction to make it a bit easier.

The biggest problem I experienced with using the connector was the complete lack of information on it.  There are hardly any blogs, videos or any type of information on it.  So as soon as anything goes wrong you are on your own trying to decipher the puzzling log messages.

On the plus side Microsoft have over the past couple of months released quite a few videos on the connector, which have been published on the dynamics connector blog

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/dynamicsconnector/

Microsoft have also released a new version of the connector which has fixed some of the problems which caused problems before.

The Dynamics Connector team know about the problems and been contacting users of the Dynamics connector to get feedback from them.

I would still say using the connector is more difficult than it should be.  I believe the Dynamics Connector team should have a weekly blog posting.  I assume there is a team of people working on the connector so for one of them each week to write a blog posting shouldn’t be too hard.  So what would I like to see

Examples of connector maps

more templates

walk-through (like adding an entity which isn’t in the standard maps)

common problems and solutions

Gotchas

I also hope that my blog posts on my experiences will help people in the present and the future who use the connector.

I think if the things below start to happen then the Dynamics connector could be pushed from difficult product to use to a good alternative solution to Scribe /writing a solution yourself.

1.   If the Microsoft Dynamics community can document their experiences and problems/solutions regarding the connector it would make a big difference, the more information out there the easy it will be to use and resolve any problems people experience

2.  The Microsoft Dynamics connector team can fix some of the more annoying issues like – More detailed logging messages, ability to transfer maps.

3.  Better documentation on how to use, setup and configure the dynamic connector

4.  More blog posts from the Dynamic Connector team.

5.  Decide on the title of the connector, is it the dynamic connector, CRM/NAV connector, Connector for Microsoft Dynamics??? just pick one and everyone can then use it.  This will make it a lot easier searching for solutions to problems.

CRM/NAV Connector – Video – Connector for Microsoft Dynamics Installation

A very useful video to help anyone who is trying to install the CRM/NAV connector

The connector installation has to be done in a certain order and if you turn the maps on in an incorrect order then you could receive hundreds or thousands of errors when maps try to run without the prerequisites maps having been setup and run first.

CRM/NAV Connector – The accounts needed to install the CRM/NAV Connector

When you are going to install the connector you will need quite a few accounts created and you will need to talk to the customer and get them to create these accounts and give you the details before you can install and run the connector.

Below is a list of the accounts you will need, the text below is taken from the CRM/NAV connector installation guide which you can find on the partner source website here

CRM/NAV Connector – Video – Connector for Microsoft Dynamics – Upgrading versions

A very thorough video showing you how to upgrade the connector.

Microsoft have done a really good job with this video and it made doing an upgrade a lot easier having watched someone do it.

it’s interesting that you only need to run the upgrade and not have to change anything for the upgrade to work.

Key take aways for this process include:

  • Valid settings only need to be supplied for the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 adapter if you are changing your Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment to one that was not previously supported. If you are only upgrading your installation you can simply click the “Apply” button when propted for new adapter settings after luanch the client again after an upgrade.
  • If you are changing your Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 deployment you will need to create a new integration using the latest template for your ERP
  • This new integration can start over and sync all of your data again, starting from 1/1/1900, or it can be be set to query into the source with the last run time from the old version of a given map

CRM/NAV connector – Feature Pack 7 is available

I’m a bit late reporting this (because I wasn’t aware) but there has been a new release of the CRM/NAV connector and we are now on Feature Pack 7.

You can find all about the release on the Microsoft blog site here

if you just want the download link then you have to partner source member but go here

https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/deployment/resources/productreleases/MDNAV2009R2_CRMConnector

They have also updated the connector documentation

Connector for Microsoft Dynamics installation guides

The high level summary taken from the blog site above.

  • Source level filtering (ability to limit the integrated records retrieved from the source based on user defined criteria)
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 adapter – this adapter now supports Internet Facing Deployment / claims-based authorization / SSL / Office 365 CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011 adapter (supports Contacts and Customers)
  • Splitting of documentation into install and deployment and ERP specific customization documents
  • Changing the EULA to allow for integrations to and from a single microsoft Dynamics product (previous versions required that two Microsoft Dynamics products were being integrated using Connector for Microsoft Dynamics)

CRM/NAV Connector suddenly stopped working

The CRM/NAV connector always likes to keep me on my toes and today it achieved the feet but suddenly stopping working.

One minute it’s working and the next minute none of the maps are running.

So what happened.

Looking at the logs (a NAV/CRM connector users best friend) I noticed there were some errors about a field I had deleted  on the CRM entity but was still mentioned in one of the maps.

Oddly it wasn’t a map that was running and the field didn’t have a value being mapped.

I restarted the CRM/NAV Connector and then looked at the event viewer applications log.  When you start and stop the connector it writes a value to the log.

Here I found an error

An unexpected error occurred while loading maps for site [Metaphorix \ Metaphorix]. Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Now if you read my blog or have been searching for CRM/NAV connector errors then you will know I have seen this error before

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/crmnav-connector-object-reference-not-set-to-an-instance-of-an-object/

This highlights the confusion you can have when using the connector the same error can mean something different has broken and the error messages are not easy to understand.

What I think this error was complaining about  a field which was mapped which no longer existed.

To resolve this problem you have to run the configuration tool again to remap all the fields correctly.

I will add a word of warning, the connector configuration tool might forget if you had added entities to the mapping, so check to make sure they are ticked.

So there we go another error and another solution.  hopefully if the Dynamic community can keep blogging solutions to the CRM/NAV connector problems then it will make using it easier.

NAV/CRM Connector struggle – Customer No was not found

The NAV/CRM connector is such a painful piece of software to use and configure, I usually shudder when I know I have some connector work to do.

What makes it worse the connector is sold as an easy way to integrate NAV and CRM.

I had a problem today which sums up why the connector is so annoying and difficult.

When trying to sync a customer card in NAV to an Account in CRM I was getting an error saying Customer Number didn’t exist.

Initially I thought this was the customer number on the customer card but I could see that existed and I could see it existed in the webservices.

I created  a brand new map between customer card and account with the minimum amount of information.  It was still complaining about the customer no not existing.

I eventually found this page

http://www.matt-parkinson.co.uk/notes/2011/nav-2009-crm-2011-integration-requested-value-customer_no-was-not-found/

It was going on about a customer number not existing in the ship to address.  I thought this can’t possible be the reason why my simple integration which only had one map which did the customer card and the account.

ooh how wrong I was, it was the exact same problem but WHY WHY WHY.

I when I added the customer_no onto the ship to address (page 300) and then run the configure microsoft dynamics nav utility in the adapter settings (to refresh the mapping files) it then worked

this highlights the problems with the connector, things which are not relevant cause problems.

NAV/CRM Dynamics Connector – Error – Object reference not set to an instance of an object

I got this error today

NAV/CRM Dynamics Connector – Object reference not set to an instance of an object

this was very frustrating because I hadn’t changed anything, literately tried to turn on the connector to make some changes.

I’m not sure what had happened but the connector had got itself into a right mess.  I tried to repair it and it couldn’t write any values to the MSDI database.

It was complaining about the user privileges but the user had admin rights on the machine and the database.

I tried uninstalling and reinstalling but this didn’t work at all because then the service was appearing in the list of services, the database was still dodgy.

In the end to resolve this problem I had to delete the MSDI database in SQL Server management studio.

What I surmise was the problem was the database had for some reason become corrupted and if you don’t delete the database I think it still leaves it there to use, so when I reinstalled the connector it was still using (or trying to) the corrupted database.

I did find a couple of other blog posts which put forward different answers but they seemed like more effort than deleting and starting again (make sure you back up those maps)

but I will paste them below if you need to try them

this one seems quite promising but it didn’t work for me

http://nav-connector.com/?p=88

 

http://community.dynamics.com/product/ax/axtechnical/b/axsupport/archive/2011/05/24/object-reference-not-set-to-an-instance-of-an-object-while-testing-the-settings-or-running-maps-in-the-ax-crm-connector.aspx