When it comes to building reports in Dynamics CRM 2016, most of our customers take for granted that they will be able to create any kind of report, simple or complex, by leveraging the existing out-of-the-box features without development intervention. Unfortunately, this is not true when we want to build complex reporting because at some point we will need SQL Reporting Service expertise to accomplish some customizations.

The following are some fine print considerations that you need to know if you’re going to use the out-of- the box reporting capabilities in Dynamics CRM:

Report Wizard (Paginated Reports)

report-wizard-paginated

The Fine Print:
  • These reports will look good as long as you don’t use more than 10 columns. If you use more than 10, the format will be compromised.
  • You can only fetch data from 2 entities (Primary and Related).
  • This report is limited to 3 groups by clauses. Only count/none aggregation is available.
  • 5 summary types are available in numeric columns: Average, Maximum, Minimum, Percentage of Total, and Sum.
  • You can add just one chart in the report (you can select either bar, line, or pie chart).
  • You may configure Sort order just for one column.
  • You can’t modify the style of the report, i.e. colors, fonts and the data position in the header, body, and footer.

Dashboards

crm-dashboards

The Fine Print:
  • Only 6 components are allowed. It’s possible to change the number, but not for the Online version.
  • If there are a bunch of records to display in your charts, they will look crowded.
  • Count, Sum, Average, Min, Max Aggregates only work with 50,000 records. If you exceed this limit, the chart will error.
  • Chart types allowed: Column, Bar, Area, Line, Pine, Funnel, Tag and Doughnut.
  • You can have up to five legend entries and one category or just one legend entry and two categories for Column, Bar, Area, and Line chart types.
  • If you want to change the colors or perform complex aggregations, you’ll need to export the chart as XML and tweak them up.
  • You can only fetch data for a single entity and parameters are not accepted.
  • It’s not possible to convert a personal dashboard to a system dashboard. You must either share it or create a new system dashboard from scratch.

Power BI

crm-power-bi

Fine print:
  • Free version:
    • Dashboards are not embedded in CRM.
    • You can’t pass record GUIDS to render a dashboard specifically for a given account, user, opportunities, leads, etc.
    • Includes simple dashboard sharing.
    • Daily scheduled data refresh.
    • 10K rows per hour streaming data.
    • It’s not a must, but it will be easier to configure if you have some data analysis background.
  • $9.99 /user/month:
    • 10GB per user data capacity.
    • Hourly scheduled data refresh.
    • 1M rows per hour streaming data.
    • Ability to connect to live data sources with full interactivity.
    • Collaborate with your team using Office 365 Groups.
    • Manage access and sharing through Active Directory.
    • Shared data queries through Data Catalog.

Don’t Get Lost in the Fine Print

Ultimately, as consultants, often times we need to be creative in terms of how we use features from an out-the-box standpoint to solve customer needs. However, at times it is wise to be aware of the fine print and be honest about what we can do as a built-in feature and what we can’t.

If you’d like to learn more about what CRM can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.