Beringer Associates is always looking for new and innovative ways to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM work for you and your company. One major part of designing a CRM system is to set guidelines on how Users should proceed through a system. For example, if they should enter potential customer contact data into a Lead Entity and create an Opportunity to proceed, the users should be aware of this process and follow those rules. But users don't always follow those rules and can eventually build bad data in the system. The two important methods of moving data from entity to entity within CRM are field mappings and real-time workflows. Today, I'd like to compare the two approaches and highlight the pros and cons of using each.
Field Mappings are a lightweight and native feature in CRM of moving data through the system. They are very easy to implement and require no custom development. When setting up Field Mappings, you are simply moving fields from one entity to another. No other actions can be taken, making this a very performance conscience customization. Since this is a very streamlined process, there are no references to the field mapping jobs like there are for workflows. This means we can really only track field mapping jobs through system Auditing. Another important thing to think about when considering Field Mappings is that these are only triggered when an entity is created from a parent entity. Thus, the Field Mappings will not trigger if you make an entity, then link it to the parent. Users will have to follow very strict guidelines for creating records, which can be difficult to get them to do. For more information on Field Mappings, go to this link https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg334512.aspx.
Another option would be to implement Real-Time Workflows to transfer data. Real-Time Workflows provide a robust CRM customization platform to perform system actions based on an event trigger. These triggers can be defined like a typical workflow, such as record creation, a field or status change, or even On Demand. This opens up the door to many more possibilities when designing a CRM system, compared to the one trigger provided by Field Mappings. Since the Real-Time Workflows are a CRM Workflow, it inherits many benefits from the Workflow structure. It supports custom code development, yet can also be created with through the CRM web site without code. Logging is provided by default for Real-Time Workflows, and failures can be reprocessed if possible. Real-Time Workflows can also be open to more system actions than just moving data, but additional records can be created, and logic can be applied to conditionally move data around the CRM system. However Real-Time workflows also are very resource intensive and a system with too many can become slow. For more information check out this link, https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn481598.aspx.
In short, between implementing Field Mappings or Real-Time Workflows, it is important to consider the process in which the users will be creating data, as well as the system needs of transferring data. Field Mappings are important to look at first for their simplicity, small time to implement, and low resource usage. If the customer needs fall outside of the restrictions on Field Mappings such as event triggering, system logging, conditional logic, and custom code development, then a Real-Time Workflow might be the solution for your project. Hopefully this sparked some thoughts around your own CRM implementation. Reach out to Beringer for consultation on your CRM system today!