Some consider this long overdue as FuseIT's S4S has been the leading Sitecore to Salesforce integration since 2009. However, needs are changing and the key drivers for entering the Dynamics market are:
- Companies are demanding real-time integration with granular control over transaction data
- Companies want high data quality which, again, is only possible using real-time communication
- The market is awash with generic syncing solutions that don't meet customer's needs
- It makes sense to take the learnings of S4S and apply them to integrating Sitecore with Microsoft Dynamics 365
The resulting integration, S4D, is a greenfield project built from the ground up but benefits from hindsight in the S4S space. Ironically, several S4D feature implementations have already been pushed back into S4S to further improve that product.
S4D transacts data in real-time which makes it easy to use the CRM as a single source of data. This reduces duplicates, eliminates sync jobs, enables transaction issues to be reported immediately, and allows remote data to be pretested before being overwritten. The alternative to transacting in real-time is blind syncing which can create duplicates in both systems, generate unreliable data due to data exchange delays, cannot deal with complex entities and relationships, and numerous other challenges.
The focus of S4D is capturing the field values in Sitecore web forms and submitting them to entities in the CRM, typically contacts or leads. S4D overcomes a number of challenges in doing this, namely, eliminating CRM duplicates, overwriting good data with bad, dealing with lead conversion, and capturing the field values if the network connection disappears. S4D also deals with multiple Dynamics instances, high volumes of form submissions, sales teams that need to respond to submissions quickly, and using staging tables to pre-process inbound leads and contacts.
The first release of S4D enables the bi-directional transaction of data from web form submit (save) actions and scheduled tasks. The next release will focus on pushing the website behavior of each visitor to Dynamics when the visitor submits a web form. This provides intelligence to the Dynamics sales team who are often tasked with contacting the visitor. Subsequent releases will allow the sales team to control the web experience of targeted visitors from the comfort of Dynamics.
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