Friday, April 23, 2010

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.

Thanks to Yaniv for detailing out these steps. You can view his blog link at


BK said...

Does this method work for Ticket Opportunities as well?

I was able to get the contacts updated so thanks for the post.

vishal swami said...

yes, it will work for ticket and opportunities' own data too but the lookups like customer or related data like customer email etc.. will not be updated by this method