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Using Advanced Find in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

In this chapter from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Step by Step, you will learn to harness the power of the Advanced Find tool by creating a query, saving it as a system view that can be shared with others, and updating multiple records in the results set.
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An important benefit of CRM systems is the central repository of customer data that builds as sales, marketing, and customer service teams track their interactions with customers. As this store of data grows, managers face the need to report on and analyze the data to understand trends and identify areas for improvement. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a variety of tools for extracting data and presenting it in a simple and easy-to-use format. This chapter focuses on the best tool for this task: Advanced Find. The Advanced Find tool lets you create your own queries through a simple interface. When end users are empowered to create reports and filter the results to return a specific data set, they rely less on IT resources to do their job. In addition, this flexibility will increase an organization’s IT resources to focus on more complex business requirements.

In this chapter, you will learn to harness the power of the Advanced Find tool by creating a query, saving it as a system view that can be shared with others, and updating multiple records in the results set.

Performing Advanced Find Queries

Business needs can change frequently over the course of a project and, as a result, reporting needs also change. Therefore, ad hoc reporting has become a standard feature within most business applications, because expecting end users to define all of their reporting needs before a system is implemented is unrealistic. The Advanced Find tool within Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a flexible interface to query, view, analyze, and update data on an ongoing basis, so that predefined queries can be saved as the system is implemented and new queries can be created as the reporting needs of your business change. Examples of how Advanced Find is commonly leveraged by end users include:

  • Configuring a customized to-do list to follow up on open opportunities.

  • Determining leads that fall into a specific geographical region for distribution and assignment.

  • Finding all activities due on the current date for a specific customer service representative who has called in sick, so that the activities can be reassigned to a different representative.

  • Obtaining a list of contacts that have not been modified in more than two years, so that they can be considered for deactivation.

Advanced Find queries rely on an intuitive set of operators that you select when building a query. The data fields you select in your query determine the operators that will be available for filtering. The following table highlights the operators available for the different data fields.

Data type

Operators

User (Owner)

Equals Current User

Contains

Does Not Equal Current User

Does Not Contain

Equals

Begins With

Does Not Equal

Does Not Begin With

Contains Data

Ends With

Does Not Contain Data

Does Not End With

Text

Equals

Does Not Contain

Does Not Equal

Begins With

Contains Data

Does Not Begin With

Does Not Contain Data

Ends With

Contains

Does Not End With

Numeric

Equals

Is Less Than

Does Not Equal

Is Less Than Or Equal To

Is Greater Than

Contains Data

Is Greater Than Or Equal To

Does Not Contain Data

Date

On

This Year

On Or After

Last X Hours

On Or Before

Next X Hours

Yesterday

Last X Days

Today

Next X Days

Tomorrow

Last X Weeks

Next 7 Days

Next X Weeks

Last 7 Days

Last X Months

Next Week

Next X Months

Last Week

Last X Years

This Week

Next X Years

Next Month

Any Time

Last Month

Older Than X Months

This Month

Contains Data

Next Year

Does Not Contain Data

Last Year

For each query, you can specify as many search criteria as you need. You must designate the primary record type you want returned in the results, but you can also include data fields from related records in your query. For example, you might search for top sales opportunities that are assigned to sales representatives in a certain geographical region. Your search could include the data fields the sales team uses to rate opportunities as well as the sales region field for the user records to which opportunities are assigned.

In this exercise, you will create an Advanced Find query to view the opportunities that have a probability value greater than 50 for accounts in the city of Chicago.

  1. On the application menu toolbar, click the Advanced Find button.

    The Advanced Find screen opens.

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    Advanced Find

  2. In the Look for list, select Opportunities.

    This specifies the primary entity for which you will be executing the query.

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  3. In the Select field, choose Probability to set the search criteria for the opportunity’s Probability field.

    A second list of operators is displayed to the right of the Select field.

  4. In the Operator field, select Is Greater Than. Then, in the Enter Value field, enter 50.

  5. In the second row of the Advanced Find query, in the Select field, scroll to the bottom of the list to the Related section and select Potential Customer (Account) to add a data field from the account record type to your search.

    This allows you to filter on attributes of the account related to the opportunities.

  6. In the Select field, choose Address 1: City.

  7. In the Operator field, leave Equals selected, and in the Enter Value field, enter Chicago.

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  8. Click the Find button in the lower right corner of the screen.

    The results of your search are displayed.

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