Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2011 Data Import

December 04, 2012

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Authored by Chaitanya Prasad - Consultant - Wipfli's Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team
Data Import in Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2011
Before I dive into the details of the data import, I would like to highlight some of the facts and cool features available as part of the data migration process in Microsoft Dynamics® CRM 2011.  There are two ways we can do a data import:
  • Import Data, basically this is a manual process of mapping the source file fields to the target.
  • Download Template for Import, the main advantage of using the templates would be to do an auto mapping of all the fields and the fields would display the data types when opened in Excel.  Also, the picklist items would get displayed when clicked on any of the picklist fields.
  1. Supported file types in the data import process are XML Spreadsheet 2003 (.xml), .csv, .txt and .zip.
  2. In a single import session, we can include multiple files containing related record types in a compressed file format (.zip), for example, accounts with related records.
  3. The supported file size should not go beyond 8MB.
  4.  In case of multiple file data import, individual file in the .zip file must not exceed the size limit of 8MB and the total size of the .zip file must not exceed 32MB.
  5. Import process can only be run for creating the records and associating the related records and this will not support for update operation on records.
  6. No validation/verification of data can be done as part of the data import.
Data Import Steps
  1. Click on the Data Import option in the ribbon tool bar, as in the screenshot below.
  1. Select a .csv file to be migrated into a CRM environment
Note: Supported file types from CRM: XML Spreadsheet 2003 (.xml), .csv, .txt and .zip
  1. Map the record type – Entity
  1. Select the data map to map the attributes automatically.  For the first time you can select the default and once we map all the attributes as detailed in the next steps, we can save the mappings and use this for mapping the fields automatically.
  1. Map the attributes manually – there are three views available in the CRM Fields drop down Show Mapped, Show Unmapped and Show All
  1. Save the mapping by providing a name for the mapping and this data map name can be found in the Customized Data Maps section of Step 4 as detailed above for the future data import jobs (must be used on the same entity for which attributes have been mapped).  For example, CRM_DataMigration is the name provided in the screenshot below for an account entity data migration.
  1. The data import happens in an asynchronous process.  We can have an alternative solution of feeding the files for parallel processing.
This completes the import of data from any supported source file.
Monitoring the Import Process
Basically, there are five stages involved in successfully completing the data import as described below:
  1. Submitting
  2. Parsing
  3. Transforming
  4. Importing
  5. Completed
Note:  We need to be refreshing the import screen to identify the status of the import process.
Success and Failure Information
  1. All import-related information is available in the imports section in the workplace navigational area.
Following is the information that is available as an out of the box feature from CRM:
  • Status Reason
  • Successes
  • Partial failures
  • Errors
  • Total Processed
  • Created On
  • Created By
Opening an imported file would show up as a link at the left navigation to look for any failures.
For any failures of records, CRM provides an information section in the imports area.The description column would provide a brief note on the failure log.
Export Option
There is an option to export the failure records and make corrections and do a fresh re-import of the corrected data.
Mapping Lookups and Picklist Fields
Lookup mapping: Let’s say if we are mapping an account from a contact and in account records, if Customer Number is unique data across all account records, we can map the Customer Number field to associate the records as shown in the following screenshot.
Note: You can also configure multiple fields to make a unique combination.
Mapping Picklist items, the process will display the available picklist options from the target to match them against the source file.
Data Import Flow
(Example Customer [Account] records import)
Recently, MCRM 2011 has an adapter for the MS Dynamics connectorthat allows for the synchronization of data between two Dynamics CRM 2011 organizations. I will be blogging on this in the future.