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We recently had an implementation where the client had hundreds of Contact’s in an ACT database but few were linked to an Account. They wanted to import them into CRM and setup up with proper parental relationships to the Accounts so that they could get global view of what was happening with each of their customers.


In a perfect world, there would have been time to add the proper account associations to the import file. Instead, the client decided it would be easier to clean up the data in the new system where several people could work on it at once.

The Contacts had a Company Name field, but they names were inconsistent between Contacts. For example, they might three contacts for Exxon, but they would be labeled as Exxon, Exxon Mobile and Exxon Europe. They might have an Account called Exxon, but the import process would only connect the Contact with the company that was an exact match and orphan the other two.

What to do?

In the cases where we didn’t find an exact match on the Account, we imported the company name data into a temporary field called “Legacy Company”. This allowed us to search for all records that had data in the Legacy Company field and a null value in the Account field.

We sorted by Legacy Company in order to group all the Contacts with similar Company names together. Unfortunately, CRM will not allow the Parent Customer field to be updated via the bulk edit feature.

To get around this, we added a temporary relationship to the Account entity (which can be updated via Bulk Edit) and workflow that sets the Parent Customer field equal to the Account. This allowed the customer to group many of the Contacts together for update instead of opening each record and modifying them one by one – a huge time saver.

When the client finishes associating the Contacts to the proper Accounts in CRM, the workflow can be deactivated and the fields for Legacy Company and Account can be removed from the form.

Just an example of some of the great stuff the MSCRM Experts at PowerObjects run into on a daily basis! If we can be of assistance please let us know!

Happy CRM-ing!

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