dynamics crm and microsoft excel

“Excel can do that better”

“We can already do this in Excel”

“I can do that faster in Excel”


In nearly every training session I deliver, an attendee proudly or assertively announces Microsoft Excel’s dominance over Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Yes, Microsoft Excel is an amazing piece of software. We marvel at its power as it processes multiple complex calculations and provides accurate analysis… actually, most of us have banged our heads against the desk after finding the formula in cell AA45 is incorrect (true story angry emoji ). But much like Dynamics CRM, it can’t do everything.

I would like to stress that this blog post is not Microsoft Dynamics CRM VS Microsoft Excel. Instead, I’m going to explore how we can create an EFFECTIVE partnership between Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Excel. Like the partnership between a Business Analyst and a Developer: both can perform each other’s roles to a certain level, but each has its own strengths where one excels over the other professional.

Over the next few posts, I will delve into some of the common ways Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Excel work together including:

Excel Templatesexcel templates
Export Optionsexport to excel
Excel and the Import processimport data


So! To kick off the series, let’s do a quick analysis of some OOTB strengths and weaknesses:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

• Single source of truth
• Increase collaboration and information sharing
• Scalability
• Complex backend workflows and automation
• Structure – Marketing Campaign, Sales and Case business process flows
(No, seriously.)
• Configuration/ customisation to change form layout, fields labels, etc.
• License cost is higher than Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel

• Rapid data entry
• Users can utilise Simple and Advanced functions to perform complex analysis (without a developer)
• Simple User Interface
• Quick setup from templates to create basic cash flow analysis, personal expenses, project trackers, etc.
• Part of the Microsoft Office Suite
• No single source of truth
• Locating and fixing calculation errors can be challenging
• No audit capability

Feel free to add more strengths and weaknesses in the comments below!

Anyway, I’ll wrap this post up with a story.

A few years ago, I was delivering Dynamics CRM 4.0 refresher training to a group of users in the mining and gas industry. One attendee was particularly hostile, constantly harping on about his Excel spreadsheet and how Dynamics CRM was the worst thing Microsoft ever did. During the break, just before the Advanced Find and Reporting topic, I asked him to let me take a look at his amazing creation. With a toothy grin he opened his Excel file. I quickly noted down the columns, hurried up to my laptop and created a report.

“Excuse me mate, is this your report?” I said hitting Run Report.

Suddenly his beaming face changed to one of deep concentration. He got up out of his seat and came close to the project screen, analysing every column and row.

He turned to face me

“Can you export to Excel?”

“Of course! CRM and Excel work well together,” I replied

“You just saved me 8 hours of work each week… let’s discuss more”

Thanks for reading! Stayed tuned for the next blog post: Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Excel Templates.