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Management Reporting Options for Dynamics CRM

   Words by CRM Consultancy

   on 13/04/2016 10:30:00


Dynamics CRM is a very flexible platform and so offers a number of methods for Management Reporting, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

This post is dedicated to reviewing some (but not all) of the more common reporting options, with a particular focus on Dashboard Reporting for interactive reporting – and looking how we can scale up from the basic Advanced Find / Reporting Wizard to other Technologies and Platforms that Dynamics CRM Users can consider for their solutions.

In-CRM Reporting / Advanced Find

The Advanced Find within CRM provides a simple flexible reporting tool that is able to output any set of Records or Columns to Excel.

This is useful for providing bulk spreadsheets of information, but cannot perform any number-crunching or summarisation of the data.



Used by: Power Users

Skillset: Power Users and CRM Consultants

Functionality: Very flexible Queries but the Outcome is limited to Lists of Data

Interactivity: Basic Sort and Filter Functionality

In-CRM Dashboards

Dynamics CRM offers basic Dashboards as part of the core product, and these work in tandem with the Advanced Find to produce simple Charts and Aggregate Operations (Sum, Count and Average) for data within CRM.

This is a very simple way of reporting, but does allow for visualisation of Advanced Find data held in CRM.


Used by: CRM Users

Skillset: Power Users and CRM Consultants

Functionality: Limited

Interactivity: Limited

Developed SRS Reports

Dynamics CRM uses SQL Reporting Services to provide developed reports that are capable of summarising large amounts of information into Summarised Tables or Charts. SQL Reports also integrate with the CRM Advanced Find to allow for ‘Pre-Filtering’ to provide contextual reports based on the data that the User has chosen to report upon, either from a particular record in CRM or a List of records in CRM.

This provides an excellent reporting platform for providing static PDF Reports that can be printed and reviewed as regular Management Information. SRS Reports can also be compiled and distributed automatically via email as a mechanism for regular reporting.

However SRS Reports do not provide much default interactivity and so make better static reports rather than dynamics dashboards or ‘big-data’ analysis.


Used by: CRM Users

Built by: SQL Developers

Functionality: Powerful and Flexible

Interactivity: Limited

Web Dashboards

Web Dashboards provide true Dynamic Dashboards that allow a User to drill into data held in CRM via a simple Web Browser approach.

This is very useful for analysing data in CRM in an easy to use interface with standard web functionality, and can be distributed to remote Clients or Partners via a Web Portal without additional licensing costs.


This is more flexible and capable than In-CRM Dashboards, but is not a fully featured ‘Big-Data’ product such as Qlikview.

Used by: CRM Users and (if applicable) External Portal Users - Customers, Partners and Suppliers.

Built by: CRM Consultants and Developers

Functionality: Useful but not unbound

Interactivity: Good - Allows CRM Users or External Portal Users to interrogate data via specified Filters and Searches and then share as Web Links

Qlikview Dashboards

Qlikview provides an endlessly flexible Dashboard approach via its pioneering Associated Selections Functionality – providing a best-of-breed mix between the flexibility of developed SRS Reports and the User Freedom of Dynamic Data Analysis in a Dashboard.

This is useful for complex Dashboards and Management Data Analysis.


The disadvantages of Qlikview come in the additional Licensing and Development Costs, and the licensing limitations when attempting to distribute Dashboards to non-licensed users via a Web Portal.


Qlikview is also a technology that ‘gives out what you put in’ by being a Data Analysis Tool for Power Users to interrogate the data via selections and evaluate the resulting performance and trends – as opposed to a platform that serves up a more simple static report.

This can be mitigated by reusable Bookmarks that allow for preset groups of Selections, but the real power in Qlikview is the ability for a Power User to flip, slice and transform the data within their Dashboard and pose questions of their business and KPIs as opposed to simply report upon the data.

Used by: Power Users

Built by: Qlikview Developers

Functionality: Endless

Interactivity: Good – but limited to Internal Licensed Qlikview Users

Other Options

Reporting and Dashboards are definitely one area where one requirement can have lots of different potential solutions – and so PowerBI from Microsoft is also worth reviewing, as are similar technologies to Qlikview such as Periscope.

Thinking outside the box, Document Generation Tools such as the new functionality in CRM 2016 and Xperido can also be used to produce smaller reports with calculated values and so can also be worthy of consideration for certain reports. (particularly if these are intended to be printed off as hard copies, rather than a stylised HTML approach)

So plenty of food for thought – however as always, the requirement and availability of the report to the End User as way of driving User Adoption is the key element to consider; as the platform or technology should always be a secondary consideration to main purpose of the report or dashboard within the business.

If you need any advice on Reporting in CRM and particularly different Dashboard approaches, then please do not hesitate to give us a call or email to discuss and we may be able to help advise on these different options available.

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