A powerful capability of Microsoft Dynamics GP is the ability to integrate data from other sources into GP. Microsoft offers a couple technology solutions; some ISVs have leveraged those to provide tools with more sophisticated front-ends. Microsoft tools for importing data into GP include: the Integration Manager, eConnect, and Web Services.
The Integration Manager (IM) is offered as a separate application from GP and is used to import data into GP. IM is a graphical application and is designed to be easy to use. Programming skills are not required to define data integrations. IM might be considered a “power user” tool (specifically when designing and mapping integrations), although any user can run integrations that have been defined.
eConnect is a set of files, tools, and services that allow applications to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP data. eConnect contains a special set of SQL stored procedures that are installed in each GP company database. These stored procedures enforce the business rules and logic in GP to ensure that only valid data is imported. Other data integration options, such as Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Integration Manager, use eConnect to provide their core capabilities. Several standard programming interfaces are included with eConnect: eConnect .NET Assembly (the .NET interface used to interact with eConnect), BizTalk Adapter (the interface that allows eConnect to be accessed by Biz Talk), Message Queueing (MSMQ) (provides a loosely-coupled, message-based interface for eConnect), and SQL Stored Procedures (the stored procs defined by eConnect which can be accessed directly).
Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP provides a standard Web service interface to access data in GP. Web services use standard Internet transport protocols such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and standard XML-based document formats such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to exchange information. ASP .NET is used as the foundation to implement the Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP. The GP Web services use eConnect to provide access to the GP data.
ISVs such as Scribe Software and eOne Solutions have developed integration tools (Scribe and SmartConnect) that leverage eConnect and provide “friendlier” interfaces and better error reporting (without coding) versus working directly with eConnect.
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