Certainly a Dynamics CRM 4.0 admin could not function without some sort of Bulk Import / Update tool under their belt. For a long time, mine was the MSCRM Import Tool put out by Microsoft and endorsed on their Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blog. With lack of ability to save login credentials and numerous other limitations or problems that I ran into, I eventually went looking for another solution. A few months ago I found the Orbit One Bulk Update and Export Tool and fell in love.
[edit 1/04/10] In UR 9, the update capabilities found in the beta version of CRM 4.0 Import Wizard were finally released making a separate tool less necessary. However, many of us still prefer these separate tools for comfort, ease of use, and extra features.
- Bulk Edit - not the only tool that can do this, but can be accomplished in the tool's user interface, or by CSV export/import. Even the CRM Import Wizard can update now, but can be finicky.
- Bulk Delete - people generally have to write their own add-in to take advantage of the bulk delete API available in Dynamics CRM 4.0. Orbit One has been nice enough to include the functionality in this great tool. This is essential for me a few times a year when the price lists get updated - allowing me to delete all price list items and rebuild them after updating the list price on the products themselves.
- Bulk Activate/Deactivate - I have not found another way of doing this short of, again, writing my own add-in. With this tool, it's as simple as exporting the records of interest, creating a simple ID | statecode | status code CSV file, and clicking Change CRM State. When 17,000 records need to be deactivated (as I needed to do today), doing so 250 records at a time is unbearable. With this tool, it's a no-brainer!
A few other reasons I like this tool over others available...
- Saved connection & credential information
- Color coded rows indicating errors / warnings