New Offering Promises Easier SharePoint Integration with ERP, CRM

Loraine Lawson

SharePoint users, heads up-Magic Software plans to release a special edition of its integration suite designed especially for easing integration between SharePoint and ERP and CRM systems, including SAP's Business One and JD Edwards.


What's more, the new edition will make it easier to share that information through e-mail and social media platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Magic will present the special component of its iBolt integration suite today during a 4:30 p.m. PT presentation at the SPTechCon 2010 in San Francisco, Calif. The vendor will also demo the component during the event.


Mind you-iBolt has been capable of easing integration with SharePoint for some time. In fact, Glenn Johnson, Magic's senior vice president, wrote a column about it for IT Toolbox last summer. What's new here is that the component is pre-packaged, and supports social networks and the integration between ERP systems.


I've written before about the two sides of SharePoint's integration story. SharePoint eases a lot of integration woes, and includes hooks to various databases, but as some have observed, it can create document silos.


Microsoft SharePoint actually refers to two products - Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS). The Radicati Group predicts the installed base of Windows SharePoint Services will grow an average annual growth rate of 7 percent over the next four years. Currently, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server accounts for 23 percent of Windows SharePoint Services users-a number that is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 25 percent.


It's the MOSS server integration that iBolt's offering seems to focus on-and that's where the collaborative/social networking functions that we've heard so much about reside. (I suspect that may be one explanation for the difference in how analysts and tech journalists talk about SharePoint and how the companies actually seem to use it.)


In a recent IT Jungle article, Johnson contends that IT departments have been caught off guard by SharePoint's integration and security requirements:


"I think the reason for that is SharePoint crept up on a lot of IT departments in that it often was brought in and sponsored by line of business manager and the integration issues were not really dealt with in the beginning. Now that SharePoint has established itself as an ongoing presence in these organizations, they're realizing their enterprise systems need to be integrated."


What iBolt brings to the table is a drag-and-drop graphical interface that allows business analysts to map database fields from the ERP applications into SharePoint-without writing low-level code. That should appeal to enterprises, who are increasingly relying on business analysts to handle simple integration tasks that would otherwise bog down IT.


The IT Jungle article looks at how this could affect System i shops in particular, noting that it would require 91 lines of hand-written code to integrate one database field from an enterprise system into a SharePoint application using SharePoint Designer.

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