Clean up duplicates before or after migration to Dynamics 365?

Dynamics 365 is here and many organizations are migrating to it.  One of the more important questions you have to answer is:  “Should we clean up our duplicate records before the migration or after?”

Those that have been through the pain of migration would say to clean it up before, because it’s all about user adoption. Best practices dictate that end-users should start using a new CRM with ready actionable access to their legacy data. I agree with the goal that user adoption is one of the most important factors for long term CRM success. But I disagree that de-duplicating your data beforehand is the best option nowadays

In years past, the only workable way to clean up duplicates was to do it outside your Dynamics CRM system. The built-in duplicate detection is limited in how it can find duplicates, and the built-in merge dialog takes far too long to work through large numbers of duplicate sets.

Now there is a better way…


AutoMerge is Genbil’s intelligent duplicate detection and merge solution for versions of CRM from  v.2011 to Dynamics 365. With AutoMerge, when you migrate to Dynamics 365, you can import all your Leads, Account and Contacts into your new CRM organization knowing that you will be able to find and merge the duplicates in place. Inside CRM.

Merging your duplicates after migration but before going live means all your legacy Leads, Accounts and Contacts will continue to reside in your new CRM. Your Sales and Customer Service people who owned those records prior can still find them and that’s good news for User Adoption. The old method of removing duplicates outside of CRM means end-users would lose their records without knowing why.

When AutoMerging after migration (or more properly during migration), half or more of the duplicate records will be deactivated, and the remaining active merge-winner of each set may be owned by another user. This is OK, because the merge history of a Contact can be presented in a sub-grid right on the remaining Contact for all to see.

Alternatively you may choose to only tag the duplicates during migration and let selected end users do mass AutoMerging at their own discretion. This puts the onus on end-users to clean up some of the mess.  Whether they created the duplicates or not, it will help reinforce proper data-entry techniques going forward.

If your organization will be using the Outlook for Dynamics 365 client, Contacts sync’ed from Outlook can also create duplicates. Indeed the OOTB duplicate detection doesn’t work during Outlook contact synchronization! Not to worry though, this issue can also be remedied using AutoMerge, but there is nuance in how to do this that it merits another blog article entirely.

With the cost of Dynamics 365 disk space so dear, you will eventually want to delete those duplicate (inactive) Leads, Accounts and Contacts. Simply configure a bulk delete job to remove them X months after the merge occurred.

Bulk deleting the duplicates will also delete your AutoMerge-history, but after a certain time passes, the cost of the disk space out-weighs the value of that history.

With newly available tools, CRM best practices can change.  One of your primary goals of implementing a CRM system is User Adoption (or it should be), and now you can have your cake and eat it too.  You can have ALL your legacy Leads, Accounts and Contacts in your new CRM org, AND present them de-duplicated to your end-users.  End users will appreciate that you didn’t eradicate their records during migration.

AutoMerge is easy to implement and of course there’s a free trial.  See the REQUEST A FREE REPORT form at the bottom.

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Happy Migration!

If you are a Dynamics 365 partner, you may use AutoMerge internally for the low price of $free, with one catch…if you love it you agree to let your customers know!

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