Did you ever think about how to maintain high quality data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM when using the Microsoft Outlook client, especially when you are working offline and syncing your data when going online or tracking some outlook data? If yes this post is worth reading.
One of the several data entry points in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is found in the CRM Outlook client. To maintain high quality data in the CRM system and prevent duplicates, duplicate detection and resolution is supported during Outlook online synchronization and during tracking in CRM.
Duplicate detection during online synchronization:
To enable duplicate detection during online synchronization you’ll have to enable following duplicate detection settings in CRM server and client:
1. Server Setting: Navigate to Settings->Data Management->Duplicate Detection Settings. You’ll see a dialog to modify the settings. Here select the check box “When Microsoft Dynamics CRM for outlook goes from offline to online” option as shown in following figure.
Figure 1: Duplicate detection settings in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0
2. Client Setting: Navigate to CRM->Options->Synchronization tab in laptop client. Duplicate detection section is available only if server setting is enabled.
Figure2: Duplicate detection settings in laptop client for online synchronization
As shown figure 2 following options are available:
a. Do not create the duplicates: Select this option when you do not want to create duplicates when going online and take resolution for every duplicate reported.
b. Create the duplicates: Select this option to create duplicate records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM even if duplicate detection in option “When Microsoft Dynamics CRM for outlook goes from offline to online” option is enabled in the server.
In addition to above settings you’ll also have to create and publish duplicate detection rules in the CRM server. To know more about how to do this read Managing rules, settings (including cross-entity concept).
Once you have enabled the setting for detecting duplicates you need to know how duplicates are reported. Let’s take an example:
Suppose there is a Duplicate rule which says that Lead record is a duplicate of Account record if Account’s Main Phone is same as Lead’s Mobile Phone and duplicate detection is enabled for online synchronization on the server and client.
Now a sales person who is using laptop client goes offline to attend an event where he meets some prospects for which he created some leads and one of them is already available in the system as an account. So when he comes back from event and tries to go online duplicates are reported to him in the “Data synchronization error dialog” as shown in following figure.
Figure 3: Data synchronization Error dialog (Shown when going online)
As you can see in the figure above “Resolve Duplicates” button is available in this dialog. This button is enabled if the selected error is duplicates error. To see the details of the duplicates either double click the error row or select it and click “Resolve Duplicates” button. Following dialog will appear where the duplicates of the record in the server will be shown the user.
Figure 4: Resolve duplicate dialog (For resolving duplicates shown in figure 3)
In the figure the first grid (offline record) shows the records which is duplicate (one created in offline) and the second grid (duplicated record grid) shows the potential duplicates found based on the duplicate rules in the server.
As shown in figure following options are available for resolving duplicates:
1. Create duplicate record: You can choose this option to create a duplicate record in the server.
2. Ignore offline record: or ignore the offline record. The duplicate record will not be created in the server.
On clicking “Resolve” button duplicates are resolved as per selection and on clicking cancel no action is taken for the selected error.
Duplicate detection during Track in CRM:
When you are tracking some Outlook contacts Microsoft Dynamics CRM duplicates are reported when “When record is created or updated” option figure 1 is enabled in CRM server and there are some published rules for the tracked record type. If a duplicate of tracked record exists in CRM following Duplicates detected dialog is shown.
Figure 5: Duplicates detected dialog (shown when duplicates are found while tracking an Outlook item)
As shown in figure you can choose to create a duplicate record. On clicking the 'Cancel' button the record is not tracked in CRM.