When planning your data migration, you should select how the data will be transferred. In order to move data, there must be some way of connecting the two systems. Writing directly to the Microsoft Dynamics 365 database is not supported and highly discouraged. Using one of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 data migration tools below will help ensure you are using a recommended process:
The Import Wizard is the simplest way to get data into Dynamics 365, and it recommended for moving small batches of records. Data from the source needs to be put into a flat file (.xml, .csv, or .xls format). The import wizard then allows the user to select the columns of the flat file and map it to the specific entity and fields within Dynamics 365. It can be used to update existing or create new records. An option is available to utilize duplicate detection while importing.
For more information on importing, see the data management chapter.
This is meant for connecting other Dynamics products with your Microsoft Dynamics 365 instance. The dynamics suite includes such products as:
- Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta)
- Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains)
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision)
- Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Solomon)
These products are available free of charge from Microsoft. Each product has a standard template for integration points. The image below lists the standard integration points that come out of the box for each ERP to CRM integration. Additional integration points can be added and Connector does support custom entities in CRM.
For more complex migrations and integrations that include scheduled jobs and data transformation Scribe should be considered. Scribe is a Microsoft supported tool that is a SAS tool with many different packages for different levels of service. This tool is great when trying to integrate with other databases that might not have an adapter built. The file format that is preferred if flat is .csv. Knowledge for Scribe would include knowledge of the tool and SQL scripting. The benefit of this tool is that it is easier to use because of a user-friendly UI.
When there is a tremendous amount of data to be moved, millions of records, an SSIS package might be necessary. This realm of an SSIS package would require a developer who has both C# and SQL knowledge. SSIS is able to do the same functionality as Scribe but it is a package being coded instead of the use of a UI. SSIS packages are more robust and transfers large amounts of data faster but could take more time to develop then building a Scribe job.
Choosing the right tool for your organization depends on your unique needs. If you are just importing Accounts and Contacts or Leads, the Import Wizard is clearly the right choice. However, if you have more data to move, or numerous records linked together, then you may need to use Scribe. If you have multiple integrations to complete, you might consider developing an expertise in Scribe or SSIS. Also, look at your internal skill sets. Most organizations use Scribe because it has less of a learning curve. If you already have a technical person who can do SSIS, then that is the way to go.
The next step after you select your tool will be to analyze your source data.