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Can the MS CRM Accelerator for Event Management be used with a hosted, public web site?

Posted on 2009-05-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
We are considering using the Event Management Accelerator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, but are not sure of all of the requirements. We have Microsoft CRM Dynamics 4.0 installed on-premise inside our corporate firewall. Our corporate, public-facing web site is hosted with an external hosting provider. Can the Event Management Accelerator be used in this scenario, or do both CRM and the corporate web site need to be on the corporate LAN (on premise)?
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Question by:jessc7
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crm_info earned 500 total points
ID: 24426293
The accelerator can be used in your environment - but you'll have to tweak the integration with your website to get it to function properly.  The default website that installs as part of the accelerator is really meant to be a "starting point" - not a fully integrated solution.

Here's what I suggest:
(1) First of all, test this in a test environment.  There are some changes you'll need to make to your website, to your current server environment and to CRM for this to work.  You'll be well served to create a test environment prior to meddling with the settings that this will require.

(2) Setup an events area of your website.  In that area, setup an IFRAME that can reference pages that are hosted elsewhere.  Retain headers, footers and (if appropriate) menuing, so anything appearing in the IFRAME will appear to be a part of your normal website.

(3) Setup the Event Management Accelerator on your CRM server.

(4) Take the example website and drop all the "Fabrikam" branding - making the pages "plain vanilla" - in IIS, set this site up to be an internet-facing website.  This is the site that you will want to serve up in the IFRAMES created in #2, above.

The above certainly leaves out a lot of technical detail (which will vary dramatically based upon your unique setup).

Another alternative: set the web portions of the Event Accelerator completely on your external web server and update the integration to remotely login to your instance of CRM (you'll probably want to setup CRM as an IFD (aka Internet Facing Deployment - outlined in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Implementation guide that is freely downloadable from Microsoft) to be make this task a bit simpler).

HTH.
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by:jessc7
ID: 24433829
Hi crm_info, thank you very much for your response! One quick follow-up to the alternative you mentioned. Can you provide a high-level picture of the effort / changes needed to update the integration to allow for remote logins? I understand we would need to provide for an internet facing deployment of CRM, but I don't have an understanding of the changes that would need to be made on the external web site and accelerator components. I don't have an understanding of the scope of that effort. Thanks!
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by:crm_info
ID: 24434965
Hi Jessc7,

It's hard to provide exact scoping information.  Assuming individuals involved are competent users of the CRM SDK and understand your infrastructure, then I would say:

* 1/2 day - 1.5 days to setup the IFD

* 1-2 days to setup and test integrating the Marketing Events with your website in a test environment
* 1/2 day - 1 day to re-deploy the Marketing Events functionality into your production CRM system and website
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by:jessc7
ID: 24435645
Thanks crm_info, I think I should have been more clear. :) Can you describe at a high-level why the integration configuration would need to be changed to accommodate a remote installation? I'm not clear on what is happening behind the scenes with the components. Thanks!
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by:crm_info
crm_info earned 500 total points
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Sorry about that.

In short, the web pages that support the Events will need to display information from the CRM database and will need to be able to insert new records into the CRM database.  So the code behind the website will need to leverage the SDK to properly authenticate into CRM to share that data.

Exactly how this is accomplished is going to depend upon how you have setup the website and CRM infrasctructure.  But, in any event, you will have to display a page that can access CRM (either because the page is on the same server, or because CRM is available via IFD).

HTH
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by:jessc7
ID: 24436240
Great, thanks crm_info!
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by:crm_info
ID: 24436254
Sure thing.  Wish I could have given a more straightforward answer.  Suffice it to say that there is always some unforseen "gotcha" with the website, infrastructure or CRM confguration that causes a headache that takes some extra time to deal with.
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