Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is an innovative product with limitless possibilities to extend and customize according to various industry requirements. In last few years, Microsoft has improved CRM product but there are still some features missing specially in the area of mail merge. These gaps have been beautifully covered by many ISV’s by developing innovative add ons to support enterprise CRM deployments.
Today i will discuss selection of a mail merge addon for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. CRM 2011 provides comprehensive mail merge functionality but still some advanced features as below are missing from this version.
- Ability to display 1-M records
- Ability to display multi hop away entities records
- Ability to convert documents in PDF
- Ability to perform logical / conditional formatting
- Ability to display Query based records
- Import Export Templates
- Security Configuration for Templates
- Auto Merge
There are two major ISV’s providding mail merge addons.
Here is a feature comparison for both ISV’s:
Ability to display 1-M records:
Both addons are very smart at handling 1: M relationships. Task Pane provides 360 degree view of all entities and their relationships as shown below:
In your templates, you will be able to create a 1: M (one to many) relationship in few clicks as shown below:
Ability to display multi hop away entities records
You can build complex relationship using FetchXML tool. Link entity section will provide you a way to attach entities in a relationship. This tool generated FetchXML as per you entity selection and you have an option to use your own FetchXML and build relationships on multi hop away entities as shown below.
Ability to convert documents in PDF
Both addons can convert generated document to PDF as shown below. Moreover, you can create an activity and attach generated document to it.
Ability to perform logical / conditional formatting
Both addons provides limited conditional formatting capabilities.
Ability to display Query based records
FetchXML is standard way to query Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 platform. Using FetchXML tool you can build any FetchXML query insert resultant fields to template as shown earlier. Both addons provides FETCHXML support,
Export/Import Mail Merge Templates
Both addons provide template import/export feature. Import tool provides possibility to deploy existing templates to a different organization.
Security Configuration for Mail Merge Templates
Both addons expose Template as a CRM record. In this way, user can benefit from CRM integrated security model to build various permissions on template depending on user security roles.
Auto merge feature is not included in DocumentCorePack addon. A separate addon is available by MSCRMADDONs for generation of documents automatically from processes.