SharePoint Online & CRM Online using BCS & Windows Azure

If you’ve been following my recent blog-posts, I’ve been talking more about how to integrate SharePoint Online and Windows Azure—as a key part of the customization story for SharePoint Online. It’s good to see some other folks beginning to post on this as well. For example, recently Nick Swan blogged on how to integrate SharePoint Online & CRM Online using Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and Windows Azure.

You can check it out here:

The model he uses is interesting; he is employing a similar pattern to this post where you use a WCF service that is deployed to Windows Azure to act as the intermediary. The service that Nick uses, though, is a little more beefy: he leverages the CRM SDK to have the service manage the authentication of the call into CRM Online. This is interesting in a couple of ways. The first is that the service does the ‘look-up.’ In fact, in his service you see he’s hard-coded the credentials but this could serve as a look-up point for CRM Online users. The second is that his post doesn’t use an Application ID; fewer moving parts to manage the connection to SharePoint Online.

Anyway, thought I would post because it’s interesting to see more patterns emerging for what is definitely a scenario we’re seeing a lot of interest in; that is, the connection of CRM Online with SharePoint Online to build custom reporting mechanisms in SharePoint Online.