Sunday, July 31, 2011

Skype Integration with Dynamics AX

1. Application Area
Skype® is a popular utility for IP telephony. Skype Integration add-on integrates Skype with standard Dynamics AX (Axapta) in the same way, like phone integration is made in Dynamics AX (Axapta) CRM Telemarketing.
The functionality includes 2 main parts:
  • Everywhere in the application for all “phone” fields user has a possibility to make calls using standard Dynamics AX (Axapta) phone integration functionality (via TAPI) or by Skype.
  • It’s assumed that user is ready to receive inbound calls by phone and Skype.
Therefore, Skype-integration functionality provides an alternative way to make phone calls from Dynamics AX (Axapta), while standard Dynamics AX (Axapta) can do it (e.g. CRM Telemarketing) using usual modem and phone line only.

2. Prerequisites

Skype software is to be installed as client.
SkypeOut account is to be registered in order to make outbound calls to normal phones using Skype.

3. Workflow

3.1. Outbound call

Skype provides 2 ways of communication:
  • “Skype to Skype” using Skype account. Currently this service is free.
  • “Skype to Phone” using SkypeOut account. You must pay for such calls, but the cost is much lower than normal international phone calls (see

Skype to Skype calls

A new string field “Skype account” is implemented in relevant forms. At the moment, it is implemented in e.g. “CRM Contact Persons” table/forms, and located in the “Contact info” field group. When user presses lookup-button (an icon with image of phone), Dynamics AX (Axapta) makes a call to this Skype account using Skype software, installed on the client’s machine.
Skype to phone calls (using SkypeOut)
In this case, we already have usual phone number in standard ‘Phone’ field, and the only question is to decide, if we would like to call using standard Dynamics AX (Axapta) telemarketing functionality, or should we start the call via Skype? This is specified by a new parameter “CRM / Setup / CRM Parameters / [tab] Telemarketing / [field group] Skype integration/ [field] Outbound phone call”, which can have the following 3 values: Use telephone / Use Skype / Ask user.
In the first 2 cases appropriate interface is used without additional questions. In the third case, every time before placing a call, the user will see a dialog window, where he can specify if he would like to use Skype, or use standard way to place a call.

Figure 1: CRM Parameters
When user clicks a button to place a call using SkypeOut, the following steps are performed:
  •  Skype window pops up starting a call.
  • A new form “Skype call” is opened in Dynamics AX (Axapta). This form presents the information about current call, and looks similar to standard FRM smmPhoneDialog.

Figure 2: Call using SkypeOut
Dynamics AX (Axapta) form displays the following information:
  •  Telephone number or Skype account.
  •  Start time of call.
  •  Call duration.
  •  Contact information.
  •  Activity description. Functionality allows saving the call as activity, like it’s implemented in standard Dynamics AX (Axapta) telemarketing.
 The form allows to:
  •  Finish Skype call.
  •  Reinitiate Skype call.

3.2. Inbound call

When user receives inbound call, the following steps are performed:
  • Skype window pops up making a call.
  • Form described above is opened in Dynamics AX (Axapta) presenting information about current inbound call. (CRM/ Parameters/ CRM Parameters/ Employee options/ tab: Telephony/ field group: “Skype integration”/ field: “Activate answers” must be checked). At the moment, this feature does not work under Dynamics AX (Axapta) 3.0 SP3, but works under Dynamics AX (Axapta) 3.0 SP2.

4. Conclusion

Skype Integration is a useful add-on to reduce the costs of international calls for sales department of the company (if SkypeOut account is utilized), and add one more communication tool to Dynamics AX (Axapta) Telemarketing.

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