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Enhance Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Reporting with Silverlight

Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 has been significantly enhanced. Find out how to extend the built-in reporting features and create customized visually-enhanced reports using ASP.NET and Silverlight.

roviding flexible reporting capabilities has been one of the key goals for the Microsoft Dynamics series of products. Microsoft signaled a significant shift in this regard with the launch of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Coupled with powerful features such as advanced find, data filters and drill through, and a complete reporting infrastructure built on SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS), Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is capable of providing a robust reporting paradigm.

Out-of-the-Box Reporting using Report Wizard

The Report Wizard lets users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 create on-the-fly reports. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 also comes with some built-in reports that you can easily extend using the Report Wizard. You can access the built-in reports from:

  • The system entities (Accounts, Contacts etc).
  • The Reports section under the Workspace tab (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Built-in CRM Reports: You can access the built-in reports from either the system entities (Accounts, Contacts, etc.) or the Reports section under the Workspace tab as shown here.

What You Need
  • Basic understanding of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.
  • .NET Framework 3.0 concepts like Windows Communication Foundation.
  • Basic understanding of Silverlight 2.0.

Figure 2. New Report Wizard: Fill out this wizard page to create a new report.

Creating a New Report

To create a new report select the Workspace tab on the Reports page, and then click New. The New Report dialog shows up (see Figure 2).

In the New Report dialog you have the following options to create a report:

  • Report Wizard report: Uses the wizard to create a report.
  • Existing file: Upload an existing report created using SSRS.
  • Link to a web page: Specify the URL of a custom report web page.
To create a new report using the Report Wizard, select the "Report Wizard Report" option in the Report Type dropdown as shown in Figure 2, and then click the Report Wizard button. A series of steps guides you through the process of creating a new report or extending an existing one.

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