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Free Tools Aim to Integrate Office 2003 with Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft is shipping a set of tools meant to help customers more closely tie Microsoft’s Dynamics products into Office 2003.

The new programs – dubbed Microsoft Dynamics Snap, because they “snap” into Office 2003 -- enable users to enter or retrieve data using Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, within Office.

They’re free for download, at least for now, at GotDotNet.com. “Microsoft partners and other independent software vendors can benefit by using the shared source code in the Snap-ins that have been developed for Microsoft Office to enhance or customize the shipped solutions or to use them as examples to build new composite applications for their customers,” the company said in a statement.

The new tools are part of the “first wave” of releases aimed at more tightly integrating the Microsoft Dynamics solutions into one of the company’s core businesses. They are named the Timesheet Management Snap-In, Vacation Management Snap-In, and there are two editions of the Business Data Lookup Snap-In, one for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 and the other for Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0.

“[These snap-ins are aimed at] making it easier for users to use Microsoft Office Outlook calendar data as part of a business process managed by certain Microsoft Dynamics solutions, or to easily pull business data managed by certain Microsoft Dynamics solutions and use it as part of a collaboration, email, or document managed by Microsoft Office 2003,” the company’s statement continued.

Microsoft jumped into the customer relationship management arena in 2003 and just shipped the latest release, CRM 3.0, in December. Meanwhile, Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 (formerly Axapta) business management suite is tailored for the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services industries.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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