Opportunity – Potential Customer

I recently came across a “difficulty” with potential customer on the opportunity entity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (and I assume 2016), I hadn’t seen this issue before so thought I’d mention it on my blog.

I think it was with the release of CRM2013 SP1 that the field potential customer had its meaning changed. It is “almost” a redundant field but still exists and still retains a special significance.

To explain, potential customer is a polymorphic relationship between either account or contact. In CRM its populated automatically by setting either one of account or contact on the opportunity. If only a contact is defined on the opportunity the contact will become the potential customer, otherwise the potential customer is the account.

Meaning potential, customer is no longer present on any opportunity forms and is only really needed for reporting purposes on views etc. Perfect.

Except I hit a problem! It started with a support call from a customer that the potential customer was blank on a couple of opportunities. This was essentially a data corruption. One I probably should have fixed by simply creating an on demand workflow to correctly the missing data. And if you ever see a bug with blank potential customers I suggest that is what you do. Do not alter any of the opportunity forms!!

What I did was add the potential customer field back onto the opportunity form to try to see what was going on. If you happen to do this, it would be best to understand the implications first!

See below that I have added potential customer to the opportunity form. (As a test this time.) Doing this has the unexpected effect of showing the potential customer as mandatory! The implication being that once saved it CAN NOT be removed from the form. Being a required system field pasting It onto the form instantly locks it to the form. And being a system field you cannot change its requirement level. So once you have it you are stuck with it!

Worse than that, once added to the form the old style logic for potential customer kicks back in. Meaning potential customer is no longer automatically defaulted from account and contact.

If you do happen to do this, you’ll have two options;

  1. Regress your change. This might involve restoring from a backup!
  2. Create a business rule that will populate potential customer with values from account / contact as needed. Then hide potential customer on your opportunity form.

Neither of these options is ideal. So this “difficultly” is one to watch out for!

Hopefully you are reading this blog BEFORE updating your opportunity form J If not, sorry. L

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