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Effective segmentation method (CRM 2011 On-Premise, hierachy of n:n) RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all,

    I'd really appreciate your help on my first Dynamics CRM development. I'm using CRM 2011 On-Premise.

    I need our CRM system to be able to effectively record the 'Business Category' of each Contact record, with the following requirements. While I understand that our business needs are quite demanding (particularly the n:n need), this cannot be unique to our business so I'm hoping that I've missed something obvious!

    While I have little coding experience, I would be able to follow well documented methods and have significant IT support on hand to assist with this.

    Our requirements:

    • A hierarchy - in order to reduce the large list of options for users to select from, we would like to use a 'parent' and 'child' hierachy. This will only be one level deep (ie the user selects parent category 'A', is presented with 'A1, A2, A3' child categories to choose from)
    • Both the parent and child categories need to multi-select (ie the user can select parent category 'A' and 'B', and then 'A1, A3, B1, B4' child categories.
    • Ideally, it needs to be possible to record the segmentation directly when uploaded contact data via spreadsheets. I can imagine a technique to import text into hidden fields, and use bulk updates/ workflows to update the segmentation, but this doesn't feel ideal (especially as it will be me performing this function once live!)
    • To report on this segmentation I anticipate using Advanced Find, most probably as one-off Marketing Lists for each business demand.

    I have attempted to use...

    • subgrids of n:n relationships to custom 'Business Category' entities, but it is not possible to use the brilliant 'Related Records Filtering' option to filter the lookup when adding to the child subcategory (this is only available in 1:ns)
    • 'Manual' n:n relationships using an intermediary entity (ie Contact -> Categorisation -> Categories) would not be user friendly, as many such links will need to be created per contact. 
    • While multiple option sets can be filtered using various methods, these are not multi-selectable.
    • A page or tab filled with radio buttons for each option would be a nightmare to report on and maintain.
    • I understand that some of the additional functionality available in CRM 2013 may help with this. I'm loathe to update just for this reason, but it is a possibility if an effective solution is available through this.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have on this, including solutions that you've found for similar scenarios.

    Many thanks

    James Bishop


    • Edited by JamesBishop Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:47 PM Altered title
    Tuesday, January 21, 2014 12:46 PM

All replies

  • Hi James, maybe it is worth taking a look at the CRM Subject Entity as it provides a hierarchy tree to allow a user to select parent-child options.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg309616.aspx

    Here is a fallback option if subjects don't fit.

    http://dynamics-crm2011.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dynamics-crm-2011-setting-multi-level.html

    Let me know if this info doesn't meet your requirement.

    Cheers,

    Rhett


    MS CRM Bing'd - http://bingsoft.wordpress.com
    Dynamics XRM Tools CRM 4 to CRM 2011 JavaScript Converter Tool
    CRM 2011 OData Query Designer
    CRM 2011 Metadata Browser
    CRM Forum Guidance


    Tuesday, January 21, 2014 3:16 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Rhett,

    Thanks so much for that suggestion to look into subjects, I thought it might have been an ideal solution but I've hit a snag.

    You can't create an n:n relationship with the subject entity. I even tried hacking the URL of the form to create the relationship; this worked but an error shows on submission of the form.

    Is there any way to get round this, or is this a dead end?

    That multi-level link is something I've considered - I really like how it works, but it doesn't support n:n either!

    Thanks a lot for your input

    JAMES

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014 3:50 PM
  • Multi select has been a pain for CRM for a while and the only way besides a custom dev solution is either a N:N or a 1:N with a lookup (essentially custom N:N).

    You might find Richard's article helpful to help drive some ideas, he also covers connections. http://www.dynamicscrmtrickbag.com/2011/05/08/many-to-many-relationships-in-dynamics-crm-2011/

    If you want something custom then you could still do your custom N:N to your Business Category entity in the background for lists even though it is user unfriendly to manage OOB. Then you could create a html web resource to place on your form that has your list controls populated with the data items from your Business Category entity, the user selects the items they want and then clicks add which creates the related records automatically. The user can see/delete the records in the associated view (or sub grid) but you have provided a easy mechanism to add new items.

    This would improve this option 'Manual' n:n relationships using an intermediary entity (ie Contact -> Categorisation -> Categories) would not be user friendly, as many such links will need to be created per contact. 

    Rhett


    MS CRM Bing'd - http://bingsoft.wordpress.com
    Dynamics XRM Tools CRM 4 to CRM 2011 JavaScript Converter Tool
    CRM 2011 OData Query Designer
    CRM 2013 Quick View Menu

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014 5:07 PM
    Moderator