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CRM used as a Data Cleaning Tool November 26, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Management, Microsoft CRM 2015, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

There is often a lot of talk about poor data within CRM systems and sadly this tends to be the case in many instances. However it is possible to make use of the system itself as a mechanism to assist in data cleansing. It might sound anachronistic that bad data sitting in a system, can actually use that system to assist in cleansing the data, I will outline how this can be done. It is not quite a self-cleaning oven, not yet.

By the creation of Views, Special Advanced Find’s, Business Process flows and by adding “Data Cleansed” fields to various forms and by monitoring these elements, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can indeed assist in the cleaning of data.


For example a view can be created that shows all customers with no Business Phone or Address. The criteria being all records where <field> “does not contain data”, and other filtering as necessary.

This view would facilitate a view for management on how many records still meet this negative criteria, and by keeping records one can manage how these numbers decrease on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

The same as is done for performance, you can create a chart from these views in a data cleaning dashboard. And unlike the performance chart, the objective is to see the graph shrink.


If a field is added to CRM for Account and Contact, which gets updated with a date once the record has been cleansed. It is possible to pull reports from the system showing the number of records updated over a specific period.

What is best in this scenario is for someone to validate that the record has been cleansed and is up to date by selecting a tick box field, this then becomes read only and also populates a date field and also records who performed the action.

A similar process can be undertaken on an annual basis where records are checked for completeness.

Targets can be set and this can be linked to incentives. Again special views get run on all records that have been classified as cleansed to ensure that the standards are being kept.

Once the system is live and all the data is clean, these fields can be removed from the forms if required.

Business Processes

You can create a business process that requires data to be collected, cleansed or otherwise updated. This business process will immediately alert you to the fact that the customer record is incomplete. Again some reporting can be effected on these processes.


You can create an advanced find, select every field that is on the form, and export to Excel, have a look at all the white space where there is no data. You can then populate the Worksheet and reimport this back to CRM

The functionality of Excel to copy down data can also be used, especially where you may have multiple contacts at an account record and the addresses are incomplete, export them all, and copy down the addresses and other static data and reimport.

Address Validation Software

Address validation software where postcodes and complete addresses can be sourced from databases can be used to populate the CRM system. Although there is normally a cost involved in implementing one of these tools and they generally require some integration and setup, the results are very powerful and once implemented you can inspect and update existing records, and ensure that new records address details are always accurate and up to date.

More importantly someone needs to be made custodian of the data and be held responsible for its accuracy and completeness. This needs to be at executive or senior management level.





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