Sage CRM has the ability to link to external databases and then allow the System Administrator or Implementor to build screens that look and behave very like system screens.
I have written about this before in several articles
Linking to 3rd Party Databases
Connecting to an External ODBC database e.g. Sage ERP MAS 90
Once a connection to an external database table has been made then this can be used either to build customizations using ASP pages, the .NET API or even a simple use of RunBlock.
Creating Lists using RunBlock
But a customer may want to make external database information available in the Interactive Dashboard. But List gadgets can only use data provided by Reports, Groups, Saved Searches, and saved Advanced Find definitions. By default it is not immediately possible to define any of those structures on external tables. It may seem that you can't have external data available in the Interactive Dashboard but in fact you can by using the SData gadget.
You can prove this yourself by following these steps
1. Create the connection to an external database. E.g. Northwind.
2. Create the connection to the Suppliers table.
3. Edit the field of the Supplier table to confirm the entrytypes and translations.
Administration -> Customization -> Suppliers
4. Edit the External Access to allow SData access.
5. Then a user can create a new Interactive Dashboard
6. A new SData gadget can be added. And use the CRM SData provider.
7. The Suppliers table should then be listed
8. The fields from the Suppliers table can then be selected.
9. The Gadget then needs to be given a name. E.g. Northwind Suppliers
10: The data from the Suppliers table will then appear in the Interactive Dashboard.