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Import records involved in N:N relationships RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    I'm having a complete brain failure with this scenario:

     

    I have two entities involved in an N:N relationship (Contacts and a custom entity called Training Course).

     

    I'm importing data into a customized CRM system that has no data. I have a list of contact and a list of training courses. I can also produce lists of contacts and the training courses that they attended. I can import the contacts and the training courses.

     

    What I can't seem to figure out is how to import the lists of contacts that attended each course. It seems as if I need to import into the 'hidden' intersect entity.

     

    Any thoughts from anyone? 

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008 12:31 PM
    Moderator

Answers

  • There are several shortcomings to the N:N relationship.  It is difficult to import to (can't be done with the standard import tool), you can't add any additional attributes to it (such as, did the contact pass the exam for the class, etc).  Also, you cannot use it in workflow (like if you wanted to have a workflow that would notify the sales rep when their customer attended the class, or if you wanted to create a manual workflow that you could use to quickly associate multiple contacts with a class), and there is no way to add training classes to it other than the Add existing button.  The problem here is you can only search by the name of the class--you cannot add additional lookup fields to it.  This will be a problem if you have multiple classes with similar names.

     

    Don't get me wrong, I think that N:N relationships are great, but there are definite limitations.

     

    If I were you I would create a cross reference entity that is related to the class entity and also related to the Contacts entity--in effect, creating your own intersect entity.   This would make it easy for you to import in the contact/class relationship data, you could create workflows against it, and you could add additional attributes regarding each contact/class record.

     

     

     

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 12:47 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • There are several shortcomings to the N:N relationship.  It is difficult to import to (can't be done with the standard import tool), you can't add any additional attributes to it (such as, did the contact pass the exam for the class, etc).  Also, you cannot use it in workflow (like if you wanted to have a workflow that would notify the sales rep when their customer attended the class, or if you wanted to create a manual workflow that you could use to quickly associate multiple contacts with a class), and there is no way to add training classes to it other than the Add existing button.  The problem here is you can only search by the name of the class--you cannot add additional lookup fields to it.  This will be a problem if you have multiple classes with similar names.

     

    Don't get me wrong, I think that N:N relationships are great, but there are definite limitations.

     

    If I were you I would create a cross reference entity that is related to the class entity and also related to the Contacts entity--in effect, creating your own intersect entity.   This would make it easy for you to import in the contact/class relationship data, you could create workflows against it, and you could add additional attributes regarding each contact/class record.

     

     

     

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 12:47 AM
    Moderator
  • Joel,

     

    Thanks for responding and confirming my suspicions.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 7:25 AM
    Moderator