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Three Keys to Keeping Data Accurate and Reliable in Your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Application

by Sandor Schellenberg
Owner and Founder, friendlyITsolutions, Irelate Netherlands

After your Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution goes live with a carefully planned design and initial data, it is important to keep your data reliable and up-to-date. Most CRM systems will endure some amount of change, expected or not, in the months and years after the initial launch.  Rather than try to prevent every change or expect to control every user's smallest actions, it is best to be aware of the common risks and be ready to adapt and respond so your CRM solution can continue to operate smoothly with accurate data.

User interface

The process of running a CRM solution is dynamic and could continue to change after you launch your new CRM application. For example, it is not uncommon that you would adjust the screens of your entities after a few month of observing the daily use of the application. One common observation: in daily life, an end user will choose the easiest way to fill out the minimum required data.  Additional data is often forgotten or, at best, stored in fields other than originally designed.

One adjustment you can make is to support the end user in making data entry a more convenient process. For example, after your screen designs are complete, part of the functional design process should be to also define the fields that are required.  Consider giving fields one of three statuses: mandatory, business recommended, or optional.

To keep data useful, try to keep to standards.  As one of the most common examples, we have a list of countries. The standard ISO lists are very useful and could be stored in global lists. This prevents end users from making mistakes in spelling or using different standards.

Another example is addresses, which  could ...

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About Sandor Schellenberg

Sandor Schellenberg is the owner and founder of friendlyITsolutions, which mainly focuses on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and related software in the Microsoft stack. He is a Senior Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant/Solution Architect and is specialized in data migration & integration. In autumn 2009 his work was recognised and rewarded with a invitation to Scribe Software MVP Program. 

His roots in Microsoft-based Internet technologies go back more than twelve years, and since 2005 he has specialized in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Starting with his first guest post on the blog of Menno te Koppele, he decided to start his own blog, Friendly Microsoft CRM Monster, a blog with a wink. The blog is widely read in the Dynamics CRM community and focused mainly on Microsoft Dynamics CRM technical and integration/migration topics.