New Service Synchronizes Online CRM Data with On-Premise Apps

Loraine Lawson
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When it comes to integration, Scribe doesn't try to be all connectors to all things. It's long been focused on the CRM and ERP space, so when it entered the cloud last year with Scribe Online, it focused on its strength: integrating CRM systems.


That's no small thing, since CRM is the gateway app for experimenting with cloud computing.


This week, the cloud added another cloud-based option: Scribe Online Synchronization Service, which extends the integration into other enterprise applications. In other words, you can use it to synchronize your customer data across the enterprise, says Scribe.


If you think that sounds like something you'd traditionally need middleware to do, you're right - and that's exactly what Scribe's president and CEO, Lou Guercia, points out in the press release.


"Until now, integration products have been either too basic or too complex," Guercia's quoted as saying. "Scribe Online Synchronization Services provides the benefits of integration without the complexity, training requirements, and expense of traditional middleware."


Of course, there are a few footnotes to that. Like most cloud-based integration, it's limited by the applications you can integrate, although it does provide a connector development kit, so third parties (hullo, systems integrators!) can develop other connectors, both in the cloud or on-premise.


As it stands now, Scribe Online SYS has connectors for:


  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM - whether in the cloud, hosted or on-premise (a long-time strength for Scribe)
  • Salesforce
  • Microsoft SQL Server

The company also plans to introduce OLE DB and ODBC connections, as well as a text connector for working with CSV and other text files, according to Guercia.


Dana Gardner (@Dana_Gardner), principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, says it's a smart play since CRM and cloud solutions are both expanding markets.


"Many companies I speak with are looking to pull appropriate and relevant data in near real-time from many internal systems of record to augment the full picture of customers," Gardner writes in an IT-Director review of Scribe SYS. "They are looking to their CRM systems as the meta data repository of such integrated views. And now they want to bring in more data from more sources, including those outside their four walls."


He also likes that it's a hybrid approach that works between what you have on-premise and in the cloud. Gardner notes that the interface is drag-and-drop, so it's easy for business users to handle integration without IT, potentially off-loading some of those SLJs .


I asked Scribe about the latency on the synchronization. It supports both immediate and schedule batch integration. Most customers use it for batch process synchronization.


Scribe is also starting a special program for those third-party integrators out there. It's called SPARK, and the goal is to provide a way for channel partners, systems integrators, VARS, business consultants and SaaS solutions to offer more endpoints with ScribeOnline.


It's not unusual to have cloud-based integration solutions offer some sort of connectors marketplace, though I don't know that I've ever seen it so specifically targeted as a way for third-party integrators to compete in the cloud. It makes sense, however, when you consider Scribe has over 900 partners.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Mar 28, 2012 3:10 AM Felix Felix  says:

I know what you mean. It is not easy to manage this big amount of data.

Apr 18, 2012 5:09 AM iomundo iomundo  says:

how is Scribe different than the cloud storage services offered by Amazon, like 3S? I think they also have synchronizing settings

Apr 18, 2012 8:48 AM Loraine Lawson Loraine Lawson  says: in response to iomundo

I don't know. I've sent a link to your question to the company's PR representative, so hopefully we'll get an answer soon.

Apr 22, 2012 2:06 AM Betsy Bilhorn Betsy Bilhorn  says: in response to iomundo

Amazon S3 storage services are meant for developers and companies who need Internet storage. The service uses REST and SOAP based interfaces to write, read, or delete data objects. The service assumes that an S3 user would use an internet based toolkit that talks to REST or SOAP to move data. Customers are charged on the data storage needed per month, the number of HTTP requests per month, and the data transferred per month.

S3 is meant to be online storage in general for whatever purpose you need it instead of going the usual route of buying servers or other storage appliances you would maintain on site. If I wrote an online reservation system for spas, I could use S3 to be the back end storage for my product. If I worked in an IT department and I wanted secure storage for my backups without having to buy storage hardware and maintain it, I would use S3. And so on.

Certainly S3 can be used to replicate and store CRM data elsewhere. However, the key difference between Scribe Online Replication Services and S3 is the user experience to accomplish that. Amazon S3 requires a customer to code their own, custom version of a replication. For instance, if I wanted to accomplish a full replication of my cloud CRM data with S3, I would have to write the HTTP requests to get the data from CRM and put it into S3. I then would have to write additional code and functionality to check CRM for changes based on a certain time interval that I specified, get that data, and put it into my S3 storage. I'd also have to write logic that allowed me to store that data historically in the same file or table rather than updating or overwriting the original record. Anytime I wanted to change the time interval or anything else about that replication, I would have to change my code to do that.

From a user experience perspective, Replication Services does all that heavy lifting for you. Scribe wrote the interface for you to select which entities you need in CRM, copy the data, move it to another place, and keep a history of all the changes automatically.  It's a 4 click wizard experience instead of spending the time writing HTTP requests and maintaining custom code. We chose SQL Server as the depot for that replicated data as we know many customers like to run queries, analytics, or reports against their CRM data; SQL Server is built just to do that and it gives the widest range of options for customers to use whatever reporting or analytics tools they like.

The overall pricing model is simpler. You pay $99 a month for replication services. Amazon has 3 components to their pricing which makes sense for their model and the intended usage of the service but it is more complex. From a capability perspective, Scribe Online Replication Services was designed to replicate Dynamics CRM and Salesforce to SQL Server which is much more limited than S3. We never meant for Scribe Online RS to be a competitive offering to S3. Indeed, in the future, you could potentially use S3 as a target for your CRM replication in Scribe Online.

For those folks who want to store their data on Amazon S3 and take advantage of that service, they need to be comfortable with writing code to achieve that. For other customers who want an easy, fast, and simple experience to copy their CRM data to SQL Server, Scribe Online Replication Services is a better choice.

Apr 24, 2012 4:00 AM just what I needed just what I needed  says: in response to Betsy Bilhorn

We chose SQL Server as the depot for that replicated data as we know many customers like to run queries, analytics, or reports against their CRM data; SQL Server is built just to do that and it gives the widest range of options for customers to use whatever reporting or analytics tools they like.


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