As many of you might be aware, there are several ways to import data into CRM, mainly:
1. Using the standard import web-GUI. It can only import to a few entities like account, lead, campaign response.
2. Using the free Migration Framework. It is a bit tricky to get it going but it can handle all system entities and relations and custom attributes, but not custom entities. Skills of SQL is more or less mandatory.
3. third party products – My favorite being Import Studio Manager 2006 professional from the Danish company Crmextensions. It supports custom entities, custom fields and relations. It uses standard ODBC to connect to a datasource and the mapping and setup can be saved for future use. Very useful for frequent imports/syncs. There are also other products, like Scribe. I havn’t had the need to test them since Import Studio Manager 2006 has had all the features I needed.
4. Developing your own import program to do the gritty stuff. Without comparisson the most flexible solution but also the most timeconsuming and demanding, since it requires good skills of a .NET language like VB, C# or J#.
What Microsoft has just released is a sample of how to create you own bulk import program (using alt 4), which simplifies this a bit. Please have a look at it:
I havn’t tried it, but I would still suggest using third party products instead.
CRM and SharePoint Consultant