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Case Study: Highly Integrated Microsoft CRM with DNN Site

The client

The client is a USA Network Service Company providing MS Project Hosting service for their customers, who is just starting their business in that field.

What the client wanted

The client would like to take DotNetNuke Framework as their public portal site and had been looking for a DNN outsourcing service provider to implement this. Besides, they also wanted to integrate their Microsoft CRM service into the public portal site to implement the FAQ, Knowledgebase, Service Request features and then integrate the public site with their internal DNN site.

Among several vendors, our pre-sales and estimation were outstanding and they finally chose us as the service provider.

Situation

The client has a Ukrainian development team to implement the internal DNN development and a Japanese design company to provide website UI design.

As the client has no rich technique experience in DNN, we have been interpreting and guiding our client to best understand these solutions in the process of development. Additionally we frequently communicate with other teams to share thoughts and suggestions to build a seamless cooperation due to geographic differences.

During the development, the client purchased other service from another company to integrate Microsoft CRM system into their system and required us to help them to apply the module provided by the third company in the public site. After we carefully analyzed and researched the product specification document, we found there was no easy solution to integrate the 3rd party module into the DNN site to meet the client's requirement and even the 3rd party's technicians couldn't set up the module to meet the client's satisfaction. Then we did more researches on the Microsoft CRM SDK documents and had a further discussion with the client. Luckily, we found the Microsoft CRM system could provide the Web Service interface, which was such exciting news because we have a lot of development experience in Web Service domain. Therefore, we decided to implement 2 DNN custom modules via the Web Service interface of Microsoft CRM system to complete the integration requirement.

Solutions

Technology Adopted

  • C#
  • DotNetNuke 5
  • Microsoft CRM 4.0 SDK

System Architecture

System Architecture

Development methodology

To best collaborate with other teams, the client asked us to work with the same project management tool ¨C Sifter (http://sifterapp.com), which brought about us a great help in development process.

We started with preparation work in search of feasible solution.

At first, Nova was asked to implement a set of DNN skins based on the image document provided by the Japanese design company. We implemented two kinds of skins for normal pages and the edit pages and a custom DNN module to manage several special menu items and a skin object to present those special menu items data. Besides, we implemented 5 kinds of containers for different sections in the original design pictures.

Then, we built a demo DNN site for the public portal site and implemented all those HTML pages per the design. Later we sent the demo site to the Ukraine team to deploy because the hosting server was in Ukraine. During the deployment process, Nova worked with the Ukrainian team to resolve all the UI issues for the public portals and the internal portal site.

Lastly, we developed the custom DNN CRM module with Microsoft CRM SDK and the development process went smoothly. Finally we implemented and delivered the FAQ module, the Knowledge Base module and the Service Request module to the client in a timely manner. The client was very satisfied with our work.

In the process of working with other teams, we also learnt to how to best collaborate with different teams, like to clearly define each team's work and highlight the priority of tasks on Sifter. We were open to each other. We proposed our suggestions to facilitate the work and the client were happy to accept them whenever they believed they were useful and helpful.

Benefit for Client

The public portal and the internal portal sites were successfully online at last with each party's hard work. The client highly praised our flexibility and was satisfied with our service.