Microsoft CRM Integration & Customization: SharePoint Document Gateway - By: Boris Makushkin
MS CRM is very close to document workflow automation, including
Microsoft Office documents: Words, Excel, etc. The document
workflow was perfectly automated about 10 years ago in Lotus
Notes Domino. In this small article we describe the solution
based on MS CRM integration with MS SharePoint.
We seem increasing popularity of document storage systems, like Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle Files, etc. Such systems, being implemented gives you time savings, related to documents revisions and versioning, approval cycles and workflows, web access through web-portals systems and the like.
The target of our product is Microsoft SharePoint integration with MS CRM for document storage. Let's take a look at the high level technical realization details:
Main modification from the MS CRM side is standard
system behavior change when you open attachment in Activity.
Standard unmodified CRM suggests you to store documents
in the file system. Modified version sores document in SharePoint
Document Library (the required library is subject for setup
by MS CRM system administrator) or keep it in MS CRM as
is (for documents of minor importance). From the moment
of saving the document in SharePoint Document Library it
is not stored in MS CRM CRM will now store only the
link/reference to the document. Also you are given the ability
Table, storing the links to the documents sits in separate database and doesn't deal with MS CRM tables (you know that you are banned to do structure changes in MS CRM db) Document saving into MS SharePoint process occurs in MS CRM and with its assistance SharePoint bridge, which does addition and update for the existing document into destination Document Library with MS SharePoint Web Services calls
Upon the addition into Document Library, MS CRM SharePoint bridge registers the document in the special table for the future data extraction or notification mechanism registration
Then, interested users can work with the documents just using MS Office 2003 or other programs/editing tools, assuming these tools have access to MS SharePoint
Feedback is provided by MS SharePoint Event Handler
component. This is special handler, inspecting document
change status, transferred from MS CRM to document storage
(SharePoint), and report Activity owner on the changes with
home page notifications (User home page in MS CRM).
Opening Activity, where document is "attached", and in fact placed into MS SharePoint Document Library, and pressing opening button, MS CRM user gets live version of the data This approach allows you seamless work with MS CRM document in the whole informational space of your company
Additional enhancements to this product might be document library management directly from MS CRM (web interface - meaning remotely), administrative interface for MS Sharepoint documents revision, ability to create reports on the document storage status, rights/access management (Author, Reader, Contributor etc) from MS CRM, portal pages integration into MS CRM to name a few.
About the Author:
Boris Makushkin is Lead Software Developer in Alba Spectrum Technologies – USA nationwide Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Great Plains customization company, serving Chicago, California, Arizona, Colorado, New York, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Canada, Australia, UK, Russia, Europe and internationally ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), he is Microsoft CRM SDK, Navision, C#, VB.Net, SQL, Oracle, Unix developer.