Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain Management, and Commerce combine to form a seamless ERP platform that unifies and streamlines your business processes. Dynamics 365’s comprehensive, modular design lets you add specialized capabilities like field service and talent management to these core ERP components as your needs change. Despite this extensibility, however, you might need features that fall outside the scope of Dynamics 365 ERP.
A government or industry regulatory body might require you to use a specific software package. You might use a custom-developed application that’s central to your organization’s competitive advantage. You might simply decide that it’s easier and cheaper to use the same software as the rest of your industry than create a customized solution within your Dynamics 365 ERP implementation. For these and many other reasons, almost every mid-sized organization uses multiple business applications.
But won’t using multiple business applications lead to nightmarish operational complexity?
Integrating third-party applications with Dynamics 365 ERP
Not necessarily. Dynamics 365 ERP provides robust support for eliminating standalone “information silos” by directly integrating with third-party applications. It’s possible to automatically synchronize information from other information systems to Dynamics 365 ERP. Warehouse management, timekeeping, logistics, and manufacturing systems are just a few examples of the specialized applications that organizations have integrated with Dynamics 365 ERP to improve operational efficiency, simplify reporting, and minimize error.
Even though application integration simplifies operations, each integration needs to be monitored and managed. Each integration contains several interfaces, a connection string, credentials, API endpoints, XML request templates, and key-value pairs. If your Dynamics 365 ERP implementation has dozens of integrations, managing them individually can become a major concern for your administrators.
Addressing integration concerns
Manual integration management for large implementations can take way too much time. To reduce your workload, you should consider using an integration management add-on for Dynamics 365. Look for a product that:
- is built specifically for Dynamics 365 (not a generic application integration solution)
- provides a unified view of all your integrations
- lets you enable, disable, and configure each interface within each integration
- provides detailed logging and notification features
As a result, you’ll spend less time setting up integrations and updating credentials. You’ll also have centralized visibility and control over which of your integrations and individual integration interfaces are enabled at any given time. If anything goes wrong, you’ll receive an alert almost immediately.
Managing errors in Dynamics 365 ERP customizations
Microsoft Dynamics 365 was designed to support third-party add-ons and custom code that extend the capabilities of your implementation. However, not all of these components have been tested as thoroughly as Dynamics 365 itself. Furthermore, they rely on specific features in the core Dynamics 365 ERP product, and these features are periodically deprecated, removed, merged, and replaced as technology evolves. For these reasons, it’s not uncommon for customizations to throw errors of varying severity. Some of these errors could require urgent technical support.
Dynamics 365’s built-in logging and troubleshooting tools can help track down and address such issues, but you’ll have a much easier time with third-party error management tools. Advanced error management solutions provide a complete stack trace for each error. They refer you to the specific line in your custom code that generated the error. This can save you from hours of tedious bug hunting and improve the reliability of your customizations.
Enhanced error management products for Dynamics 365 ERP also improve error logging. They let you filter your error logs by severity code, from low-level debug information to the highest-severity errors. This helps you quickly focus on the type of error you’re currently attending to.
Finally, error management tools for Dynamics 365 ERP send you an alert as soon as an error occurs. These aren’t limited to the integration errors we discussed in the last section; each type of error in your Dynamics 365 implementation’s custom code will send an alert to the appropriate group of users with guaranteed message delivery. Most error management solutions also include a retry mechanism; each customization will repeatedly attempt to run until it hits the specified retry limit.
Managing integrations and customizations is often a source of frustration for Dynamics 365 administrators, but it doesn’t have to be. With a specialized solution for Dynamics 365 ERP integration and error management, you’ll achieve greater visibility and spend less time on administrative tasks related to integration and custom code.
Visionet’s Integration Cockpit for Dynamics 365 ERP is a Microsoft AppSource preferred solution that simplifies both of these management tasks, as well as the import and export of file-based data to and from your Dynamics 365 ERP implementation. For more information, contact a Visionet expert today.