The default forms in Dynamics CRM only contain one set of address fields, but most organizations will need to surface at least the Address 2 fields for accounts and contacts to manage the different information for visiting address, mailing address, delivery address, invoicing address or whatever the business scenario.
Sometimes it may be justified to have a bit of redundant information in your CRM database for practical purposes. For example, if you use the Address 2 fields for managing the mailing addresses for accounts where this is separate from the visiting address, it may be easier to have the mailing address fields populated also in scenarios where the values are identical to the visiting address. Otherwise the marketing assistant who is building target groups for mailing campaigns will need to perform some Excel sorcery to pick different address fields for different customers when extracting the data from CRM.
If you’ve bought anything from online stores during the past 10 years, you’ve probably ran into a nice little feature on the checkout or registration forms where the system asks if you’d like to use the address information you entered into your customer profile also as the shipping address for the order. Often times this is presented as a checkbox field that you simply need to tick once, to save you the trouble of re-entering the same data the system already knows.
Wouldn’t this be a nice feature to have also on the CRM account form? Let’s take a look at a form where both Address 1 and Address 2 fields are presented side-by-side. If we would have a “Copy to Address 2?” checkbox that the user could tick after having tabbed through the Address 1 fields and entering data into them, that would be quite an intuitive feature that the users would surely feel right at home with. On the account form it could look like this:
On the “Copy Address 1 to Address 2″ Business Rule we’ll set a single condition to monitor the value of our custom chechbox field. If the box is ticked, meaning the field value equals “Yes”, we’ll set the values of each visible Address 2 field on the form to be the same as what’s been entered into the corresponding Address 1 field.
Once we publish our customizations and activate the Business Rule, we can try out the feature in practice. Let’s create a brand new account record to simulate the typical data entry process (although an existing account would work just as well). After we’ve entered the Address 1 information on the left column, the moment we tick on the “Copy to Address 2?” box we’ll see the address fields on the right side get populated with the same values in real time.
Great, we’re all set to move this into production now! Or are we actually? What happens when the user wants to go and edit the field values for Address 2? If we leave the “Copy to Address 2″ box ticked, then our Business Rule will keep copying the values over to the Address 2 fields the next time the rule is evaluated. As we’d like to allow the user to leverage this copy feature to initially replicate the fields to Address 2 but perform the necessary changes to those values that are in fact different, such as editing the Street 2 field, we should somehow restrict when our field copy operation is triggered. (more…)