I really love CRM but as with all things you love, there are also areas where there are areas of improvement. One of these areas concerning Dynamics CRM is the functionality to create quotes by sending CRM data to a word document by using the mail merge functionality of word. Until Microsoft have fixed this, there are a few good options.
The basic functionality really consists of two parts. The first part is being able to create a document without being a programmer. The built in functionality of Dynamics CRM requires you to open the document press Alt-F9 to see the "backend" of the document and then be really savvy with Word template programming to make it work for you. The basic problem with it is handling subtables, like quote rows in a quote. As the data being sent from CRM to word is a large table with one row for each of the detail rows. The problems with this are:
- You cannot have two sub-tables
- As the word for-each functionality works in such a way that it loops through all the rows and when the cursor points to the row after the last, it will leave the for-each-loop. The header data is copies as fields to all rows. This means that you cannot, using the normal logic of a template, have a template that first shows all quote rows and then the total after the table, as the latter comes from the quote header. Microsoft have solved this by some rather intricate programming of the template that makes it almost unmodifiable for normal user and programmers not used to advanced word template programming.
I have tried one product and know of another that I have not had the chance to try yet, that try to rectify this.
The first one is DocuementCorePack from MSCRM-Addons in Austria. It has a very CRM-like addon to Word where you easily can insert the fields you like from the entities and related entities. It also has special logic for handling sub-tables and to save the document back to CRM or SharePoint. The installation program is also exemplary! It is very easy to install. They also have some additional tools that jack into to this program like the AutoMerge. The company behind it is a very stable company that has been making addons to Dynamics CRM since version 1 and they have even helped me make special adaptations to the program when I have had customers requesting this.
QuickBix Document Suite from the Swedish company QuickBix. I havn't had the chance to try it yet but they have shown it to me and it has some very good features. They also have some impressive customer references. I have tried once to install it which I was sad to say was unsuccessful. This might however have been fixed or I might just have been unlucky. The people behind the company are very friendly and are always eager to help.
The prices vary for these products and I suggest going to their web sites or send them an email to find out the details.
In conclusion I never demo the built in functionality for generating quotes to word in CRM and I really hope Microsoft will fix this as it is rather fundamental to sales force automation (SFA). Until that time, and maybe also after, there are some very good alternatives at reasonable prices so do check them out!
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB