Part of my job as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant involves writing Project documentation for each of my customers. One of the most requested items in the documentation is an Entity Relationship Diagram or ERD for short. 95% of my previous projects are not out-of-the-box (OOB) Microsoft Dynamics CRM (CRM), and to meet the customers requirements involves at least one or more additional custom entities in addition to the OOB entities such as Account, Contacts, Opportunities/Order etc.
When I am writing documentation and creating any ERD, I always have a base Visio template showing the OOB entities and the basic relationships between them and all I have to do is add my custom relationships and custom entities. Building this template up was painstaking at first just to get the relationships/entities correct, I deemed this task as invaluable as it saved myself time each time I that I have reused them.
Earlier today, I was eating my lunch and quickly checked on the CRM forums/Facebook/LinkedIn groups and happened to stumble across a link for the Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD) for CRM 2011, I click on the link (http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=2640) and low and behold I am on the official Microsoft website and Microsoft have provided us with an ERD. You can then download a zip file containing a seperate Visio file for each main area in CRM, such as Activities, Sales, Customer service etc. This gives a breakdown of each entity involved.
I was actually amazed at this, as I know how little documentation Microsoft had provided the CRM community in the past. So, I asked myself the question: “WHAT ABOUT CRM 2013???!”,
So I Googled ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Entity Relationship Diagram” and hit enter (sorry for you Bing fanatics out there) and again the link appeared:
And here is a screenshot of one of the Visios:
It is dated 17/04/2014, this means it will be out of date for the Spring Wave release update with the inclusion of the new SLA and Entitlement entities (plus any other key entities supplied with the Spring Wave release) and hopefully will be updated in the near future.
Regardless of this fact, I can now compare/include these Visio’s into my template giving the customer a list/overview of entities that are provided OOB for each area in CRM, these Visios will help save time with these areas of the documents I need to produce ERD’s for and allowing me to focus more of my time on the key details of the documentation I am producing, such as the functional and technical requirements.
I hope this blog helps some of my fellow peers in the CRM community!