BCM Sharing and Integration


D

Dan

I am very interested in BCM for Outlook. We have a small company (<5
employees), and don't need a large CRM app. There are a couple of things that
I hope it will do, but I haven't been able to find any good doucmentation on
these aspects of BCM.

1) We need to be able to share BCM data between a few people in the company
who all work in differnt home offices. How does BCM handle sharing of contact
data, and what are the technical limitations? Are we required to be on the
same LAN?

2) I would really like to be able to use the BCM database to sync clients
with our order processing database. Is there a way to access the BCM database
and pull it out to another app? Is there a MSDB db that I can access or at
least some way I can get to the data via ODBC or something?

I know that networking and database integrations typically go along with
much larger crm apps, but we are a very small company and don't need all the
addtional features/complexity/cost of MS CRM.
 
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J

Joe

Dan said:
I am very interested in BCM for Outlook. We have a small company (<5
employees), and don't need a large CRM app. There are a couple of things that
I hope it will do, but I haven't been able to find any good doucmentation on
these aspects of BCM.

1) We need to be able to share BCM data between a few people in the company
who all work in differnt home offices. How does BCM handle sharing of contact
data, and what are the technical limitations? Are we required to be on the
same LAN?

Outlook 2007 BCM (I'm not sure about 2003) uses an SQL Server 2005
Express database for a shared system, and there's a tool to create the
database correctly. I would assume the database could then be accessed
from anywhere over VPN, though data security would be higher if the data
never left the LAN, and a remote desktop or terminal server of some kind
was used. If you don't have an MS Server OS, then the business version
of XP (and I assume, Vista) allow up to 10 concurrent connections, the
Home versions 5. If you don't currently have a server, MS Small Business
Server has many features (the full Exchange among them) useful even to
two- or three- person businesses. No, I'm not on commission.
2) I would really like to be able to use the BCM database to sync clients
with our order processing database. Is there a way to access the BCM database
and pull it out to another app? Is there a MSDB db that I can access or at
least some way I can get to the data via ODBC or something?

Yes. The schema seems to be a bit horrific, compared to my databases at
least, and I'm still looking for documentation. You can certainly use
any SQL query tool over ODBC, and Access is quite powerful in this role.
I'd assume that any SQL client could talk directly, without ODBC, but
that might take a bit of fiddling with, mapping field types and so on,
which is what ODBC is for.

The very first job you do, if you have an existing set of company and
contact data, is to re-link them, as the BCM import process doesn't make
any provision for that. It's there *in* BCM, but it's not importable.
I know that networking and database integrations typically go along with
much larger crm apps, but we are a very small company and don't need all the
addtional features/complexity/cost of MS CRM.
Indeed so. It would seem, and I'm just beginning this adventure, that
BCM with Access, and possibly Excel, would offer the most cost-effective
solution for this kind of thing if you have someone in-house who doesn't
mind a bit of hacking. I suspect that BCM is a bit like Works compared
with Office i.e. it is almost useful, with only a few vital bits
missing, but at least it can be extended, unlike Works.
 
L

Luther

Outlook 2007 BCM (I'm not sure about 2003) uses an SQL Server 2005
Express database for a shared system, and there's a tool to create the
database correctly. I would assume the database could then be accessed
from anywhere over VPN, though data security would be higher if the data
never left the LAN, and a remote desktop or terminal server of some kind
was used. If you don't have an MS Server OS, then the business version
of XP (and I assume, Vista) allow up to 10 concurrent connections, the
Home versions 5. If you don't currently have a server, MS Small Business
Server has many features (the full Exchange among them) useful even to
two- or three- person businesses. No, I'm not on commission.




Yes. The schema seems to be a bit horrific, compared to my databases at
least, and I'm still looking for documentation. You can certainly use
any SQL query tool over ODBC, and Access is quite powerful in this role.
I'd assume that any SQL client could talk directly, without ODBC, but
that might take a bit of fiddling with, mapping field types and so on,
which is what ODBC is for.

The very first job you do, if you have an existing set of company and
contact data, is to re-link them, as the BCM import process doesn't make
any provision for that. It's there *in* BCM, but it's not importable.




Indeed so. It would seem, and I'm just beginning this adventure, that
BCM with Access, and possibly Excel, would offer the most cost-effective
solution for this kind of thing if you have someone in-house who doesn't
mind a bit of hacking. I suspect that BCM is a bit like Works compared
with Office i.e. it is almost useful, with only a few vital bits
missing, but at least it can be extended, unlike Works.

When connecting directly to the database, I find that using views
rather than tables is more helpful.

Also, the views that start with Public are updateable; you can add
contacts to those views and BCM will make sure they are properly
processed.
 
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J

Joe

Luther said:
When connecting directly to the database, I find that using views
rather than tables is more helpful.

Also, the views that start with Public are updateable; you can add
contacts to those views and BCM will make sure they are properly
processed.

Thanks, that makes sense. I'm just taking the first steps, which were
basically adding a few manual contact/company links and trying to see
what effect it had. I've no doubt I'll get better at it.
 

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