Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Microsoft CRM: data conversion import from Act!

Best Software Act! is very popular CRM for small and mid-size organization.   This system attracts business owner by its low price, plus system is very easy to use.  However if your business is growing you should reach the moment to implement more advanced CRM solution.  Natural question is how do we convert the data from Act! to new CRM solution and the mapping of your objects for conversion.  You would probably like to avoid operator data entry with potential numerous errors and mistypes.  Assuming that you are IT specialist, well give you technical side of Act to MS CRM data migration

This system attracts business owner by its low price, plus system is very easy to use.  However if your business is growing you should reach the moment to implement more advanced CRM solution.  Natural question is how do we convert the data from Act! to new CRM solution and the mapping of your objects for conversion.  You would probably like to avoid operator data entry with potential numerous errors and mistypes.  Assuming that you are IT specialist, well give you technical side of Act to MS CRM data migration:

  • First you need to download Act! SDK from Best Software website
  • Install Act! SDK on the computer, where you plan to do programming
  • Well use asynchronous data export/import model, this means that well design the system, containing two parts: export into XML and this XML file import into the CRM
  • Lets code Act! data export application, well use C# to address Act Framework classes, well need these libraries:

using Act.Framework;
using Act.Framework.Activities;
using Act.Framework.Companies;
using Act.Framework.ComponentModel;
using Act.Framework.Contacts;
using Act.Framework.Database;
using Act.Framework.Groups;
using Act.Framework.Histories;
using Act.Framework.Lookups;
using Act.Framework.MutableEntities;
using Act.Framework.Notes;
using Act.Framework.Opportunities;
using Act.Framework.Users;
using Act.Shared.Collections;

  • To connect to Act! database:

ActFramework framework = new ActFramework();
framework.LogOn("Act Username", "password", "SERVER, "Database");

  • Now we need Act field names to map them with the fields in the MS CRM:

private void ShowContactsFieldsDescriptions(ActFramework framework) {

    ContactFieldDescriptor[] cFields = framework.Contacts.GetContactFieldDescriptors();

    ContactFieldDescriptor cField;

    for(int x = 0; x < cFields.Length; x++)

        {

            cField = cFields[x];
            Console.WriteLine("Table Name:tt{0}", cField.TableName);
            Console.WriteLine("Column Name:t{0}", cField.ColumnName);
            Console.WriteLine("Display Name:t{0}", cField.DisplayName);
            Console.WriteLine("ACT Field Type:t{0}", cField.ACTFieldType);
            Console.WriteLine("");

         }

}

  • Lets get contact list and create the file for import instructions to MS CRM:

ContactList cList = framework.Contacts.GetContacts(null);
FileInfo t = new FileInfo("Contacts.xml");
StreamWriter stw = t.CreateText();

  • Now we form export data:

for (int i = 0; i < cList.Count; i++) {

    string strContactXml = "<contact>";

    ContactFieldDescriptor cField;
    Object oValue;

    // First Name
    cField = framework.Contacts.GetContactFieldDescriptor("TBL_CONTACT.FIRSTNAME");
    oValue = cField.GetValue(cList[i]);
    if (oValue != null && !(oValue.ToString().Trim().Equals("")))
 strContactXml += "<firstname><![CDATA[" + oValue.ToString() + "]]></firstname>";

    // Last Name
    cField = framework.Contacts.GetContactFieldDescriptor("TBL_CONTACT.LASTNAME");
    oValue = cField.GetValue(cList[i]);

    if (oValue != null && !(oValue.ToString().Trim().Equals("")))
 strContactXml += "<lastname><![CDATA[" + oValue.ToString() + "]]></lastname>";
    else
 strContactXml += "<lastname>" + "N/A" + "</lastname>";

    // Salutation
    cField = framework.Contacts.GetContactFieldDescriptor("TBL_CONTACT.SALUTATION");
    oValue = cField.GetValue(cList[i]);
    if (oValue != null && !(oValue.ToString().Trim().Equals("")))
 strContactXml += "<salutation><![CDATA[" + oValue.ToString() + "]]></salutation>";

    // Job Title
    cField = framework.Contacts.GetContactFieldDescriptor("TBL_CONTACT.JOBTITLE");
    oValue = cField.GetValue(cList[i]);

    if (oValue != null && !(oValue.ToString().Trim().Equals("")))
 strContactXml += "<jobtitle><![CDATA[" + Regex.Replace(oValue.ToString(), "rn", "<BR>") + "]]></jobtitle>";

  • This is only portion of the data, that could be transferred into CRM, the whole list of fields is too long for small article, but your could design the whole list of desired fields.  Please, pay special attention to replace <BR> HTML tag this is required for text data transfer into CRM
  • Next is import application creation.  We will not describe here connection to MS CRM details please read Microsoft CRM SDK if you need this examples.  Well concentrate on the nature of the import.

 The XML export file should look like this:

<contact><firstname><![CDATA[John]]></firstname><lastname><![CDATA[Smith]]></lastname><salutation><![CDATA[John]]></salutation><address1_line1><![CDATA[1234 W. Big River]]></address1_line1><address1_city><![CDATA[Chicago]]></address1_city><address1_stateorprovince><![CDATA[IL]]></address1_stateorprovince><address1_postalcode><![CDATA[123456]]></address1_postalcode><description><![CDATA[Toy Corporation]]></description><ownerid type="8">{4F1849C3-9184-48B5-BB09-078ED7AB2DAD}</ownerid></contact>

  • Reading, parsing and MS CRM object creation look is relatively simple:

        Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.BizUser bizUser = new Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.BizUser();

        ICredentials credentials = new NetworkCredential(crmUsername, crmPassword, crmDomain);

        bizUser.Url = crmDir + "BizUser.srf";

        bizUser.Credentials = credentials;

        Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.CUserAuth userAuth = bizUser.WhoAmI();

        // CRMContact proxy object

        Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.CRMContact contact = new Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.CRMContact ();

        contact.Credentials = credentials;
        contact.Url = crmDir + "CRMContact.srf";
        CorrectXML("Contacts.xml", userAuth.UserId);
        StreamReader reader = File.OpenText("Contacts.xml");

        string input = null;                       

        while ((input = reader.ReadLine()) != null)

        {

            string strContactId = contact.Create(userAuth, input);
            Console.WriteLine("Contact {0} is created", strContactId);
            log.Debug("Contact " + strContactId + " is created");

}

  • Just consider in more details CorrectXML function it places OwnerId into XML contact tree:

        private void CorrectXML(string fileName, string userId) {

           File.Move(fileName, fileName + ".old");
           StreamReader reader = File.OpenText(fileName + ".old");
           FileInfo t = new FileInfo(fileName);
           StreamWriter writer = t.CreateText();
           string input = null;

           while ((input = reader.ReadLine()) != null) {

               input = Regex.Replace(input, "{_REPLACE_ME_}", userId);
               writer.WriteLine(input);

           }

           reader.Close();
           writer.Close();
           File.Delete(fileName + ".old");

        }

  • Finally, we are launching export, import, opening MS CRM and looking at the contact list, transferred from Act!
  • Separate task would be Sales data from Act!, Notes etc. we plan to describe them in the future articles

Good luck with integration!  If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-630-961-5918 or 1-866-528-0577! help@albaspectrum.com

Andrew Karasev is Chief Technology Officer at Alba Spectrum Technologies ( http://www.albaspectrum.com ), serving Microsoft Great Plains, CRM, Navision to mid-size and large clients in California, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan

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