Writing Custom Reports For Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides 54 out-of-the-box reports. These include reports for all the modules like sales, marketing, and service, as well as monitoring reports. For example, user summary:

Most of these reports can fulfill our business requirement but sometimes, we need to write custom reports or need to modify the existing reports. In this article, we will help you understand different reporting development options for Dynamics CRM.

Report Wizard

This is an amazing tool that can be used to develop main (not sub) reports by following a wizard where we can select our primary and related entity as well, if required.

We can define filtering criteria and setup grouping depending on the requirement. It also allows us to set the report format, e.g. just tabular report or chart and tabular report; but does not provide any option to define custom formatting of report data. Report wizard does not provide any flexibility to modify the report layouts or define the custom layout options, like – we can’t dynamically define report layout based on some logic using expressions, but it is a good option to develop an easy report by just following a couple of screens. Developing reports using "Report Wizard" does not require any technical knowledge.

Custom Reports using Visual Studio

If you want to develop a complex custom report or want to modify an existing report for some complex changes, you need to use Visual Studio for this. We can use Visual Studio for developing the reports for both the CRM,s online and on-premise. We can develop two types of reportsfor CRM, in Visual Studio.
  • FetchXML
  • SSRS 
CRM online only supports FetchXML reports, whereas we can use both type of reports for on-premise. Visual Studio provides you full flexibility in terms of report layout, different formatting options, expressions, and complex grouping.

To develop a report using Visual Studio, you should have good experience in SSRS, FetchXML query.

Power BI

This is a powerful platform to develop rich BI reports. It allows you to connect different data sources and visualize the data by creating rich analytics reports.

 We can use Power BI, using three options, Power BI for Desktop, Power BI service, and Power BI apps for mobile. We can connect Power BI with CRM Online or on-premise to get the Dynamics CRM data and render it over reports using different formats. Further, we can use these reports in Dynamics CRM dashboards. Power BI can refresh it’s data to provide more realistic numbers. We can share these reports with other users as well.

In our next article, we will demonstrate how to use these option to write custom reports. So, stay tuned !!