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Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection Due Diligence

December 01, 2015

If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then ensuring that your data is in order must be good for the soul. There are many areas of which to be mindful of when considering how to keep your company's CRM data in order. Today we're going to review the options for "Out of the Box" CRM Duplicate Detection.

CRM Duplicate Detection Rules
First thing to address is the creation or modification of your Duplicate Detection rules.

Let's head to: Settings > System > Data Management > Duplicate Detection Rules

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - Data Management

I prefer to start with at least 3 foundational rules that tend to catch the most likely culprits for possible dupes.

  • Accounts with the Same Name
  • Contacts with the Same Email address
  • Leads with the Same Email address

You may certainly have more rules needed to fulfill your own requirements.

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - Duplicate Detection Rules

Dynamics CRM will create these rules automatically when your system is provisioned.

It is important to be aware that importing solutions can "Unpublish" your rules, which could leave you vulnerable without your knowledge.

Having the rules in place is just the first step to ensure your system is "dupe free" though. If your users create a record that the system perceives to be a potential duplicate, they will be alerted to this by CRM. This alert is NOT however, a fail-safe method for preventing or even removing duplicates. It is for this reason that I schedule weekly Duplicated Detection system jobs to run and in turn email me the results. You may choose to schedule these more or less frequently depending on the volume of new records added to your system.

To schedule your jobs head to Settings > System > Data Management > Duplicate Detection Jobs

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - Data Management

When the scheduled job runs, it will evaluate for duplicates for the defined Entity, (i.e. Accounts) based on the currently published rules for that entity. You can, if desired, have the job run against a specified subset of records, i.e. "My Accounts". As the CRM Administrator, I chose to run it without any filtering. Some prefer to run it against only records that are Active.

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - Select Records

Next, you set the frequency of the job. In my case, I schedule mine to run every Monday at 6:00am. Then one of my recurring Monday morning tasks is to process any duplicate records.

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - Select Options

I also have the system send me an email for each job so I can access the results directly from my Inbox. From the email, I access the System Job and head to the area marked "View Duplicates".

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - View Duplicates

Here you'll choose a record on the top as the default record. Then select the subordinate record* below.

*Note: The system can display that there are two or more duplicates for a given record. However, one limitation to the system is that it will only allow you to process two at a time.

The next step is to choose to have the system merge the records "Automatically" or choose the option to "Select the Master". Though the second option adds more time to the process, I prefer to see the data in the records about to be merged. Here I have a lot more control over the final data that ends up in the surviving record.

Dynamics CRM Duplicate Detection - Merge Records 2

Additionally, I recommend to frequently take advantage of the option at the bottom to "Select all fields with data." It will automatically grab data from the subordinate record when those fields are empty in the master.

Once the Merge is executed, the subordinate record is not deleted but rather deactivated. While there is no "Undo" for the merging process, a deactivated record can be reactivated if needed.

In summary, the good news is, these instructions will work on just about any version of Dynamics CRM from v3.0 to 2015. The bad news is that these tools have not been enhanced since their introduction to the system all those years ago. So, though the out of the box de-duping tools may not be the most sophisticated, they can be very useful in trying to keep your house in order. For the sake of cleanliness, it is very important to stay on top of the process and not let it get away from you.

Learn more about CRM technical tips and tricks from the full Tales from the Trenches Dynamics CRM blog series or discover how Dynamics CRM can help your team.

By Rob Harrison, CRM Administrator, Armanino

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