CRM 2015 Update 1 introduced the Alternate Key feature which can be used for Update and Upsert function as an alternative way to identify a CRM record in addition to the primary key. However there is one more scenario that this feature can be useful as well, but may have been overlooked, which is to use the Alternate Key for lookup purposes. In this blog post, I will show you how we have enabled this feature in our most recent SSIS Integration Toolkit v7.1 release for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
To enable this feature for lookup purposes, we have done some small UI changes to our Text Lookup configuration window. We now offer a Lookup Method column in the configuration window which contains a total of 4 options,
- Primary Field
- Manually Specify
- Alternate Key
- <Opt Out>
Out of the 4 options, Alternate Key is the new option that we just added in our v7.1 release of SSIS Integration Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Using this option, you would need to choose an Alternate Key defined by the lookup entity in the "Target text/integer field" column. Note that the input value of the working lookup field will be used as the input of the first field defined in the selected Alternate Key when the lookup is performed.
If the chosen Alternate Key contains more than one field in its definition, you will see that a "Secondary lookup field" column becomes available in the grid, which allows you to specify its input from the upstream source component that will be used as the input for the secondary field. The following is a screenshot of an Alternate Key lookup configuration that uses a combination of two fields.
Having the support of CRM Alternate Keys opens up a lot of possibilities, particularly it enables an integration scenario where you want to use more than one key field for lookup purpose. This could not have been easily achieved in previous releases.
We are excited about the possibilities that this feature opens up, and I hope you find it useful.