How to Organize Dynamics CRM Documents in SharePoint
Not many companies are aware of the capability of Dynamics CRM and SharePoint integration, and the benefits for their business. Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SharePoint Integration helps users to view and share stored documents easily, and increase productivity and strengthen the collaboration between the different business units and teams in the organization.
Although SharePoint is included in Office 365 plan, not many organizations are utilizing this service and integrate it with Dynamics 365. In an article published recently (
Documents are stored in complex folders and sub folders structure.
- CRM documents are either stored in standalone unrelated SharePoint folders
- They are stored in folders related to Account or Contact only, no other entity can be selected to link between related documents
Folder names are the content of the Name field of records:
- The content is not unique and can create confusion and duplications
- The content is meaningless to the SharePoint users searching for documents
No metadata is saved in SharePoint columns. Relevant metadata is crucial for classifying documents in SharePoint:
- To group records in library view (two grouping levels)
- You cannot assign Content Type to the uploaded document
- Relevant metadata ensures the return of relevant search results
This blog post suggests an organized way to store documents from CRM in SharePoint using these folders and metadata:
- Which folder structure suits better for storing documents in SharePoint.
- The benefits using metadata with
- Metadata Navigation
- Content Type
Which folder structure suits better for storing documents in SharePoint.
Consider an organization that provides services, quoted by sales people. When quote is won, the client signs Service Contract. During the contract period, the organization raises invoices and client payments are recorded in Payment Receipts entity. The above process is a collaboration between two teams, one is using CRM the other is using SharePoint.
|CRM Entity||Common type of documents||Entity Type|
|Quote||PDF of the quote emailed to client||Out of box Entity|
|Invoice||Invoice generated by Accounts or CRM||Out of box Entity|
|Service Contract||Signed service contract (PDF)||Customised Entity|
|Payment Receipts||Proof of payment (PDF, scanned image)||Customised Entity|
All the above four document types are related to the company that purchases the service. For the purpose of this blog, we will be using Adventure Works as the Account name.
Entity folder structure – all documents from an entity are stored in a folder that bears the entity name. Documents uploaded from the Quote entity will be stored in SharePoint Quote folder. The assumption is that documents are mostly related to their entity and less to other entities or related entities.
Parent entity folder structure – all documents from all entities relating to a parent entity are stored in a folder that bears the parent entity name. Documents uploaded from the Quote, Invoice, Service Contract, and Payment Receipts entities will all be stored in one folder in SharePoint, Adventure Works folder. The idea is storing together all documents from different entities, which are all related to one “central” parent entity.
Combined: Entity folder with parent entity folder structure – when selecting these two folder structures, the Quote, Invoice, Service Contract and Payment Receipt documents will be saved in Adventure Works folder, together with documents from the Adventure Works entity. Combining all documents related to the parent and the child entities in one folder that bears the parent entity name, is useful when documents from the parent and the child are closely related to each other.
Parent / Child folder structure – documents uploaded from an entity are stored in a folder that bears the entity name, which is a SharePoint sub folder to a folder that bears the parent entity name. In the above example, the parent folder is Adventure Works and it has four subfolders for documents uploaded from Quote, Invoice, Service Contract and Payment Receipt entities. The first document uploaded, also creates the parent / child folder and sub folder structure in SharePoint.
Dynamics SPO users that are already using Dynamics CRM OOB integration with SharePoint, can also select the option to maintain the OOB folder structure in SharePoint, for those entities already using this methodology.
Using metadata fields in SharePoint columns.
When documents are uploaded from CRM to SharePoint, the content of selected attributes / fields from the CRM record are saved with the document in columns. Here are the benefits of using metadata:
- Views- use views to filter documents in a library, and list them as it best fits to particular purpose. You can set how documents are sorted in a view or filter them by date range. As an example, if Account Name and Invoice Date are saved as metadata, you can view all invoices for an account, which were created or are over-due for payment, within a date range.
- Metadata Navigation- makes it easier for users to find content. Metadata navigation enables users to filter and find documents in libraries by using a navigation tree. You can also apply Key Filters, which work in combination with the navigation tree to refine the list of documents to display.
- Content Type- is a reusable collection of metadata columns and other settings for a category of items or documents in SharePoint. In our above example, although Invoices, Quote Receipts and Service Agreement each has different content type, they can share some metadata, such as the client name (Account Name), and Document ID. When documents are uploaded to SP with Dynamics SPO, each document can be associated with its content type.
- Search – is a powerful tool to locate documents in SharePoint. Adding metadata column to the crawler contributes to finding relevant documents in search results.
If you are interested in better integration between Dynamics CRM and SharePoint download FREE trial of Dynamics SharePoint organizer (SPO):