How to use the Data Enrichment (re-import) feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

May 12, 2009

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11 comments

How to use the Data Enrichment (re-import) feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (although officially, it doesn’t exist…)

 

The Data Enrichment feature allows updating existing data by exporting it from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to Excel, modify it in externally and then re-import it, updating the existing records with the new data. This feature is very useful in scenarios where mass update is required for existing data or when you need an external party to add data to your existing CRM records.

Unfortunately, this useful feature was removed from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 RTM version. I am not sure why, some claim it is potentially harmful and can make a mess of existing data.

The surprising news is that you can still use this non existing feature. How? Here is an example:

In this example scenario, I want to update all my contacts with new data: email address.

  1. Select an existing view or edit a new view using the Advanced Find. Make sure the columns you want to add data to are included

    Select records to export 

  2. Export the view data using the ‘Export to dynamic worksheet’ option and save it.

    Select export type

  3. Open the exported file, select all records, go to the Format menu, select Column sub menu and then the Unhide option. A new column should appear, containing the records GUIDs.

    Select all data

    Unhide the GUID column

  4. Rename the GUIDs Column to the name of the exported entity for example ‘Contact’. Move the column to the left of all other columns.

     Move GUID column to the far left

  5. Update the required data. In this example, the email data is added to the existing records.

    Add the new data

  6. Save the Excel file as .csv file.
  7. Use the Import Wizard tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to import the newly created .csv file. Select ‘none’ for Data Delimiter, ‘Comma (,)’ for field Delimiter. 

    Select file and delimiters in data import wizard 

  8. Click next and select the exported entity, ‘Contact’ in this example. You can see the ‘Enrich data by updating records rather than creating new records.’ option available and checked. Select a data map if required and click next

    Notice the checked Enrich data option

  9. Check the ‘Import duplicate records’ option and click next

    Check import duplication records

  10. Complete the import process.
  11. Go to the workplace and open the data import section. Once the data import job is done, open the the job records and see which records were updated. Notice that existing records were updated, no new records were created.

    Go back to the exported view

  12. Finally, refresh the view you started with to see the updated data for the existing records.

    Refresh the view to see the updated records

Although the product Help file still regards this feature as available, I consider this an unsupported feature. Use the above method at your own risk.

Note: A record will not be updated if it has been changed in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 after it was exported.

     

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11 comments

  1. YanivJune 28, 2009 ב 3:00 PM

    The user RDC from the Microsoft Dyanmics CRM Community forum has brought to my attention that the Owner attribute can not be updated using this method and the column is ignored.
    Please let me know if you find more attributes that can not be updated using data import wizard.

    Reply
  2. IreneAugust 26, 2009 ב 12:25 PM

    Hi i was able to do all steps, only on step 8 im having issue, it doesnt give me that error “ignored column” and its taking so long to complete the importing, its just said submitted… is it normal? do i have to wait so long, my records is about 14000

    Reply
  3. Yaniv ArditiAugust 29, 2009 ב 11:21 AM

    The execution time mostly depends on the machine strength, but I would expect 14000 records would require ~hour to process.

    Reply
  4. GraemeSeptember 16, 2009 ב 6:31 PM

    I cannot seem to get the GUID to appear, even when following the above steps. Any ideaS?

    Reply
  5. BrianSeptember 17, 2009 ב 12:10 AM

    Yaniv, I was able to follow your process to update existing Contact records, but the ‘Parent Account’ (parentcustomerid) attribute would not update. Do you know why? Thanks

    Reply
  6. SteveOctober 7, 2009 ב 6:59 PM

    I also cannot seem to get the GUID to appear, even when following the above steps. Any ideas?

    Reply
  7. Neil BensonNovember 10, 2009 ב 1:09 PM

    Hi Yaniv, thanks for this solution. We were all very excited to see this feature in “Titan” but disappointed to see it removed from CRM 4.0 when it was released. Although it has a few limitations (lookup fields, etc.), it’s still a better option for many users than third-party data manipulation tools or using the SDK.

    Reply
  8. Ken HolleyDecember 23, 2009 ב 6:17 AM

    I’m stuggling with updating the post code of bulk addresses this way. It is probably beacuse the post code is a look-up. I’m clensing addresses bu exporing the dynamic spreadsheet, as above, creating the look-up values directly in the database tables then updating the account records by reimporting the file. There are no error messages yet the post code field is not updating. Any help greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  9. Big MNovember 19, 2010 ב 7:10 AM

    HELP !! there seems to be quite a few who can’t get the GUID to appear (include me). What could be the problem ?

    Reply
  10. RejaneJune 16, 2011 ב 4:17 PM

    Hi Yaniv!
    Thanks for the tips!
    We had a problem with that, but only with the LEAD entity. It doesn’t work. We get erros messages about IsSystem and CRM try to map a system attribute.(probebly the GUID)
    Do you know why only with the LEAD it happens?
    Did you have this experience before?
    We have rollup 17 updated!
    Thanks!

    Reply
  11. RejaneJune 16, 2011 ב 10:32 PM

    Hi,

    We found out what was the problem.
    Our Lead entity had it’s exbition name changed.
    After we changed back to the original name, it worked.

    Tks!

    Reply