Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lotus Notes Domino and Microsoft CRM Integration

Well, even if  the combination might look very unusual, we see the coexistence of these two systems, especially in large corporations, non-profit organizations.  Technically Lotus Notes Domino has parallel structure, including Domino email server.  Lotus is extremely flexible and you can program your own CRM or purchase CRM for Lotus, however Microsoft CRM has Microsoft SQL Server database and very simple Sales automation module. Lets look at the integration reasons and scenarios.

Well, even if  the combination might look very unusual, we see the coexistence of these two systems, especially in large corporations, non-profit organizations. Technically Lotus Notes Domino has parallel structure, including Domino email server.  Lotus is extremely flexible and you can program your own CRM or purchase CRM for Lotus, however Microsoft CRM has Microsoft SQL Server database and very simple Sales automation module.  Lets look at the integration reasons and scenarios.  Be sure that each specific case requires custom programming, tuning and support.

  • Why Lotus & MS CRM?  There are several reasons to combine the two.  First Lotus Domino has very long history and is present on the market over 15 years.  Corporations might have business system built upon the Lotus Notes Domino platform and it is not desirable or even feasible from the complexity standpoint to phase it out.  The second reason is possible IT strategy to balance multiple platforms to avoid over-dependence on one vendor (such as Microsoft).  There might be also licensing issue if corporation has several hundred Lotus licenses it doesnt want to lose them and pay for 200 Microsoft CRM users.  In this case MS CRM might be the solution for Sales department and all the other departments should stay on Lotus.
  • Lotus Domino as Messaging for MS CRM.  There is no need to program this custom piece, just use MS CRM Lotus Domino connector, supported by Alba Spectrum Technologies.  It has advanced functionality, versus standard MS CRM Exchange connector.  Instead of using GUID in the email header, it scans Contacts, Accounts, Leads emails for matching.
  • Lotus Workflow.  Workflow is possible in Lotus and MS CRM.  In Lotus, however workflow is the most advanced.  You can use Lotus Workflow and then upon the completion it can transfer control to Microsoft CRM.  This is typical Microsoft CRM SDK (to program MS CRM) and Lotus Java Agent programming from the side of Lotus.  Lotus workflow may work with integration to your ERP/Accounting application, such as Microsoft Great Plains, Navision, Axapta, however this is outside of the scope of this article.
  • Lotus/CRM Activities Synchronization.  One of the popular requirements is the synchronization of Microsoft CRM Activities: Appointment, Phone Call, Fax, etc. with Lotus TOTOs.  This should allow users work on the same project sharing Lotus and MS CRM data space.

If you need help in the integration or customization, feel free to call us: 1-630-961-5918, 1-866-528-0577, help@albaspectrum.com

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer at Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ) - Microsoft Business Solutions and IBM Lotus Domino Partner, serving corporate customers in the following industries: Aerospace & Defense, Medical & Healthcare, Distribution & Logistics, Wholesale & Retail, Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Placement & Recruiting, Advertising & Publishing, Textile, Pharmaceutical, Non-Profit, Beverages, Conglomerates, Apparels, Durables, Manufacturing and having locations in multiple states and internationally.

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