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This is an open ended question regarding the use of CRM Connections entity compared to use of relationships. There are so many articles available on use of connections over relationships (I am not talking about relationship roles here). But, I thought of raising it in here to find out from your own experience.
Microsoft introduced Connections with CRM 2011 and it was there ever since. Connections can be handy in so many ways. E.g. connect two records without worrying to create the actual relationship on entity level.
The question is about, how each approach (connections vs relationships) would behave in a real-time system. Would it be better to use relationships if the system is heavily rely on performance and response? Or, wouldn't it make any difference even if you use connections in the same scenario (provided that create of connections will create 2 records in the database level). The other drawback I have seen is that you have to always query connection roles by name before you create the connection record (when you dig down to code level). So that will create additional fetch (select) requests on the CRM database.
Has Microsoft improved this process recently? Or, do you have any suggestions to improve this in the design?
Sorry for the lengthy post, hope my question make sense.
the connection process has not been improved in the recent versions (2013 and 2015), practically is the same as 2011.
Personally prefer relationships over connections, especially when the relationship between the two entities is steady, in addition a direct relationship is easier to manage (also for the end user) and easier to query.
Connection is useful if you want to link across multiple entities and that is N:N relationship, for example you want to build the social networking nests which is growing and can link to many entities.
But, as we know, Connection is not easy to maintain, and also its view is very rigid and somehow I interview user, they say very difficult to determine the Connect To vs Connect From role during the searching.
Using intersection table might be ideal way if you want to have better query and also adding new field and also show it to the form and view.
Hope this helps.
In previous versions, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 users were able to define relationships between accounts, contacts, and opportunities. While this did provide some value, relationships could only be defined among these three entities.
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011/2013/2015 , users are now able to define their own connections between any two of any of the CRM entities. Upgraders will still have the ability to use the relationship functionality between accounts, contacts, and opportunities; however, I suspect they will naturally gravitate to using connections moving forward.
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 the connection entity allows a flexible way to connect and describe the relationships between any two entity records in the system. They can help promote teamwork, collaboration, and effective management of business and sales processes.
Multiple roles and connections can be created for a particular record. For example a contact may have many relationships with other entities and may play a different role in each of those relationships. Connection roles can also be categorized by business, family, or social.
We are looking forward to showing our customers how to extend relationships with connections!
see this link:
@Chitrarasan and @Hamez,
that article that you linked is not correct. In CRM 4.0 it's possible to define relationships between all the entities (except of course some system entities as in CRM 2011/2013/2015)
Thank you for your time for replying the post. Guido and Aileen, I agree with you guys and, that's my preference when I need to define a link between two entities (I only use connections very rarely). I have also seen usability of connections is not perfect when you have multiple connection roles associated with a connection role. Also, when it comes to data migration, use of connections takes more time compared to use of entity relationships (1:N, N:1, M:N). Users don't like additional clicks. They need something simple and when use of CRM makes them to do additional clicks or select records from pop up screens, they blame the product, not the person who designed the system. Let's see what others think about this. Hope this would become a knowledgeable post.
I was more hoping to see what your thought on both approaches. Please feel free to put your thgouths. Also, I agree with Guido that article is not accurate.
Very informative post.
Which way did you go Dinesh?
I personally try and avoid connections and rather use joining entities for the relationships. I do this because any reporting, custom code applications have to always filter out the data as per the connection type. It becomes a bit muddy dealing with an entity that can connect anything to anything. Also, I find the maintainability of the connections becomes challenging. Also, I personally don't agree with a data model that is not explicitly defined and is very lose.
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