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    August 1, 2022

     How Connectors Bring ISV Solutions into the Microsoft Ecosystem 

    As one of the biggest software players in the market, Microsoft Power Platform boasts tens of millions of active monthly users. For independent software vendors (ISVs), plugging a software solution into the Microsoft ecosystem can be game-changing and open the door to a seemingly limitless audience.   

    However, to integrate an independent software solution with Microsoft, ISVs must first develop a connector. A connector acts as a middleman between your software and Microsoft – it translates information from your application into readable data that Microsoft’s systems can understand and interact with.   

    Creating a connector is faster and more cost-effective than traditional integration techniques. With a certified connector, you can easily integrate your software without the expense and hassle of developing multiple point-to-point integrations – simply attach the connector to your application to get your solution and Microsoft’s systems talking.  

    So, what is a connector exactly? How can you develop one? And why should you care about integrating into the Microsoft ecosystem?   

    Microsoft Integration Is a Game-Changer for ISVs – Here’s Why 

    Power Platform provides a foundation and integration between the entire suit of the Microsoft ecosystem including Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Azure and various built-in and third-party applications. These applications are interconnected and designed to work seamlessly together. Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, Business Central, Dataverse and a plethora of related applications are all part of the Power Platform ecosystem.  

    Do you need to integrate your software into Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations? Business Central? Or both? The beauty of Power Platform is that, because applications are so intertwined, you only need one connector to integrate your solution into Microsoft’s family of applications.   

    With tens of millions of active users, Power Platform integration can put your solution in front of the people who matter. Of Fortune 500 companies, Forrester reports 97% already use Power Platform. With nearly 100% adoption among the most prominent businesses in the world, why wouldn’t you want your product to be a part of this global platform?  

    The Role Connectors Play in SaaS Integration 

    A Microsoft partnership can help take your business to the next level if you are an ISV. Consider becoming a Microsoft ISV partner if: 

    • Your product has market demand, but you aren’t a part of Microsoft’s ecosystem.  
    • You are a proven, established ISV outside of Microsoft, but your clients are pulling you into the market.  
    • You are Microsoft-based but not plugged into the overall environment.  
    • You are an SAP-centric ISV, but your customers are switching to Microsoft products.  
    • You are a small company and want to enlist the help of an ISV Development Center (like Enavate) to help you grow your solution.  

    To get started, your application needs to have compatible APIs (REST, OData, OAuth) and webhooks. An API enables your solution to have two-way communication with other applications, while a webhook allows your software to trigger actions based on pre-set events. For instance, if a distributor’s customer places an order, a webhook can trigger an alert to their fulfillment center’s warehouse management system.   

    Most of our customers already have APIs built into their software solution but need help developing proper webhooks. Enavate’s team of professionals can walk you through this process and help you develop APIs, webhooks and connectors to meet your unique needs.   

    Once your application has the right APIs and webhooks in place, it’s time to develop a connector. We do this partly by utilizing Microsoft’s low code/no code infrastructure. Low code/no code features drag-and-drop functionality, so connectors (and applications) can be made with little to no coding.   

    After a connector is in place, it wraps around your solution’s and Microsoft’s APIs to act as a middleman to convert information into readable data compatible with both systems. This process allows both software solutions to interact and function harmoniously.   

    In the past, ISVs would have to develop point-to-point connections between their software solution and each program they wanted to integrate with – a costly and time-consuming process. Now that Power Platform’s applications are so interconnected, ISVs only have to focus on developing one connector. As a result, many of our clients are surprised by the inexpensive, simple process of creating and implementing custom connectors.  

    Where Should You Begin? 

    Although essential to successfully integrating into the Power Platform infrastructure, the process of building custom Microsoft connectors isn’t common knowledge. If you think you need a custom connector, but aren’t sure where to begin, don’t worry! Enavate’s team of experts can help ISVs understand the process, identify possible compatibility issues and help build APIs, webhooks and custom connectors.   

    Contact Enavate today to learn more about how connectors can help your independent software solution thrive in the Microsoft Power Platform ecosystem.   

    Robert Shurtleff 

    As the Global Microsoft Solutions Evangelist, Robert is responsible for helping our clients with their end-to-end digital transformation journey within the Microsoft solutions and Cloud ecosystems. With over 20 years’ experience in the Microsoft channel – he helps our clients with Hybrid Cloud architectures, strategic and technical road-mapping, DevOps automation, Packaging, and deployment, navigating Microsoft App Source, partner relationships and more.

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