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Model Act CRM Data Using Azure Analysis Services



Leverage CData Connect Cloud to establish a connection between Azure Analysis Services and Act CRM, enabling the direct import of real-time Act CRM data.

Microsoft Azure Analysis Services (AAS) is a fully-managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that delivers enterprise-grade data models in the cloud. When combined with CData Connect Cloud, AAS facilitates immediate cloud-to-cloud access to Act CRM data for applications. This article outlines the process of connecting to Act CRM via Connect Cloud and importing Act CRM data into Visual Studio using an AAS extension.

CData Connect Cloud offers a seamless cloud-to-cloud interface tailored for Act CRM, enabling you to create live models of Act CRM data in Azure Analysis Services without the need to replicate data to a natively supported database. While constructing high-quality semantic data models for business reports and client applications, Azure Analysis Services formulates SQL queries to retrieve data. CData Connect Cloud is equipped with optimized data processing capabilities right from the start, directing all supported SQL operations, including filters and JOINs, directly to Act CRM. This leverages server-side processing for swift retrieval of the requested Act CRM data.

Prerequisites

Before you connect, you must first do the following:

  • Connect a data source to your CData Connect Cloud account. Detailed steps are provided in the next section.
  • Generate a Personal Access Token (PAT). Copy this down, as it acts as your password during authentication.
  • Create a server in Azure Analysis Services to which you will deploy your data from CData Connect Cloud.
  • Install and configure an On-Premise Gateway in your system. This will pull data from the source via CData Connect Cloud into the Azure Analysis Services project and deploy models to the server. Refer to the given link to find the detailed process.

Configure Act CRM Connectivity for AAS

Connectivity to Act CRM from Azure Analysis Services is made possible through CData Connect Cloud. To work with Act CRM data from Azure Analysis Services, we start by creating and configuring a Act CRM connection.

  1. Log into Connect Cloud, click Connections and click Add Connection
  2. Select "Act CRM" from the Add Connection panel
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to Act CRM.

    The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid Act! user credentials. In addition to the authentication values, see the following:

    • Connecting to Act! Premium

      In addition to the authentication values, the URL to Act! is also required; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/.

      Additionally, you must specify the ActDatabase you will connect to. This is found by going to the About Act! Premium menu of your account, at the top right of the page, in the ? menu. Use the Database Name in the window that appears.

    • Connecting to Act! Premium Cloud

      To connect to your Act! Premium Cloud account, you also need to specify the ActCloudName property. This property is found in the URL address of the Cloud account; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/ActCloudName/.

    Note that retrieving ActCRM metadata can be expensive. It is advised that you set the CacheMetadata property to store the metadata locally.

  4. Click Create & Test
  5. Navigate to the Permissions tab in the Add Act CRM Connection page and update the User-based permissions.

Add a Personal Access Token

If you are connecting from a service, application, platform, or framework that lacks support for OAuth authentication, you have the option to generate a Personal Access Token (PAT) for authentication purposes. It's advisable to follow best practices by creating a distinct PAT for each service to uphold access granularity.

  1. Click on your username at the top right of the Connect Cloud app and click User Profile.
  2. On the User Profile page, scroll down to the Personal Access Tokens section and click Create PAT.
  3. Give your PAT a name and click Create.
  4. The personal access token is only visible at creation, so be sure to copy it and store it securely for future use.

With the connection configured, you are ready to connect to Act CRM data from Visual Studio using Azure Analysis Services.

Connect to Act CRM in Visual Studio Using AAS

The steps below outline connecting to CData Connect Cloud from Azure Analysis Services to create a new Act CRM data source. You will need the Microsoft Analysis Services Project extension installed in Microsoft Visual Studio to continue.

  1. In Visual Studio, create a new project. Select Analysis Services Tabular Project. Click on Next.
  2. In the Configure your new project dialog box, enter a name for your project in the Project name field. Fill in the rest of the fields.
  3. Click on Create. The Tabular model designer dialog box opens. Select Workspace server and enter the address of your Azure Analysis Services server (for example, asazure://eastus.azure.windows.net/myAzureServer). Also, make sure to select the option SQL Server 2022 / Azure Analysis Services (1600) from the Compatibility level dropdown. Click on Test Connection to check if the connection details are correct. Click OK and sign in to your server.
  4. Now, click on OK to create the project. Your Visual Studio window should resemble the following screenshot:
  5. In the Tabular Model Explorer window of Visual Studio, right-click Data Sources and select Import From Data Source.
  6. In the Get Data window, select SQL Server database and click Connect. In the Server field, enter the Virtual SQL Server endpoint and the port separated by a comma: e.g., “tds.cdata.com, 14333”, and click on OK.
  7. Click on Database and enter the following information:
    • User name: Enter your CData Connect Cloud username. This is displayed in the top-right corner of the CData Connect Cloud interface. For example, [email protected].
    • Password: Enter the PAT you generated on the Settings page.

    Click on Connect. If successful, the Navigator window will pop up.

  8. In the Navigator window, search and select the tables of your choice
  9. You should now see the Salesforce table populated with data in the preview section on the right panel.
  10. Click on Load to import the data.

Now that you have imported the Act CRM data into your data model, you are ready to deploy the project to Azure Analysis Services for use in business reports, client applications, and more.

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