One of the most desired and long awaited features for Microsoft CRM is duplicate record detection. In Microsoft CRM 4.0 (formerly Titan), Microsoft has added duplicate detection capabilities at multiple levels. One of which is Duplicate Detection Rules which can run automatically to safeguard the system from users entering duplicate records. Duplicate detection can take place only if duplicate detection is enabled in Duplicate Detection Settings and if at least one duplicate-detection rule (A rule that specifies criteria for identifying a record as a duplicate.) exists for the record type. Rules interact differently depending on if they are grouped together or separately.
We can take a look at how this works by using an example that I’ve found many clients have desired which is duplicate detection of Leads to existing Contacts. The criteria I use in this example are to check for identical email addresses, first name and last name. In the Duplicate Detection Rules area (located in the Data Management area in Settings) we start a new rule and choose Lead as the Base Record Type and Contact as the Matching Record Type. Then we select the email, first name and last name attributes in both of the records and set the criteria to “exact match”. We have created one rule for all of these criteria which will cause duplicate detection to detect a possible duplicate Contact record when a new Lead is entered if ALL criteria are met. So if a Lead is entered with a different first name but the same email address and last name are correct, duplicate detection will NOT detect the possibility of a duplicate Contact record.
Let’s try two rules that involve both entities. Again the Base Record Type will be Lead and the Matching Record Type will be Contact. In this case we will create two separate rules. One with criteria matching exact email addresses and one rule that matches exact first and last names. When we run both of these rules together, duplicate detection will detect if a newly entered Lead has an email address that matches an existing Contact OR if BOTH the first AND last name of the newly entered Lead matches a Contact.
The way I think of this is similar to groupings in the Advanced Find. When using one rule with multiple criteria it’s like grouping your criteria with an “AND” grouping in the Advanced Find. When using multiple rules on the same entity(s), it’s like using an “OR” grouping in the Advanced Find. One last thing to consider is that there is a maximum of up to 5 rules per entity in Microsoft CRM 4.0
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