mandag den 27. juni 2011

How to import many-to-many relationships to CRM Online

I’ve had a challenge the other day.
I’ve got to import around 120 Marketing lists and 120000 contacts and accounts to CRM Online using the standard importing tool in CRM Online.
-          Import marketing lists: check
-          Import accounts and contacts related to each other: check
-          Add accounts and contacts to the imported marketing lists: ehh… shit!
You (still) can’t import relationships to CRM online using the standard import tool – only data, and 1-N relationships (or N-1 for that matter)
I found a way around this issue in the current situation where I only had a relatively limited amount of marketing lists:
I created a new entity called accountmarketinglists and related this entity tor account.
Then I created a new entity called contactmarketinglists and related this entity to contact.
Then I created two spreadsheets where accounts and marketing lists Ire referenced together (a crosstab spreadsheet) and one for contact in the same way.
Then I imported these two spreadsheets into the two new entities.
During the import of the two new spreadsheets I created a new Boolean field for each marketing list, indicating whether the corresponding account or contact should be a part of the marketing list or not.
After the import, I had all the information I needed to import accounts and contacts into the marketing lists, by using the advanced find tool in CRM Online.
When I searched for accounts by the related entity accountmarketinglists and by the Boolean field containing the same name as my marketing lists equals yes, I’ve got a long lists of accounts I’ve just added to the marketing list. This task was done 120 times (for each marketing list), and then I was finished!
It’s not a pretty solution, and it’s certainly not scalable either, but I’ve got the job done. I hope you can use this approach.

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