Analyze Dynamics CRM Data in R

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Dynamics CRM ODBC Driver

The Dynamics CRM ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live Dynamics CRM (OnPremise & Online) account data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access Dynamics CRM data like you would a database - read, write, and update Leads, Contacts, Opportunities, Accounts, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Create data visualizations and use high-performance statistical functions to analyze Dynamics CRM data in Microsoft R Open.

Access Dynamics CRM data with pure R script and standard SQL. You can use the CData ODBC Driver for Dynamics CRM and the RODBC package to work with remote Dynamics CRM data in R. By using the CData Driver, you are leveraging a driver written for industry-proven standards to access your data in the popular, open-source R language. This article shows how to use the driver to execute SQL queries to Dynamics CRM data and visualize Dynamics CRM data in R.

Install R

You can complement the driver's performance gains from multi-threading and managed code by running the multithreaded Microsoft R Open or by running R linked with the BLAS/LAPACK libraries. This article uses Microsoft R Open (MRO).

Connect to Dynamics CRM as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to Dynamics CRM follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments.

The connection string options meet the authentication and connection requirements of different Dynamics CRM instances. To connect to your instance, set the User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, to valid Dynamics CRM user credentials and set the Url to a valid Dynamics CRM server organization root. Additionally, set the CRMVersion property to 'CRM2011+' or 'CRMOnline'. IFD configurations are supported as well; set InternetFacingDeployment to true.

Additionally, you can provide the security token service (STS) or AD FS endpoint in the STSURL property. This value can be retrieved with the GetSTSUrl stored procedure. Office 365 users can connect to the default STS URL by simply setting CRMVersion.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Windows

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for Dynamics CRM in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData DynamicsCRM Source] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for Dynamics CRM Description = My Description User = myuseraccount Password = mypassword URL = https://myOrg.crm.dynamics.com/ CRM Version = CRM Online

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Load the RODBC Package

To use the driver, download the RODBC package. In RStudio, click Tools -> Install Packages and enter RODBC in the Packages box.

After installing the RODBC package, the following line loads the package:

library(RODBC)

Note: This article uses RODBC version 1.3-12. Using Microsoft R Open, you can test with the same version, using the checkpoint capabilities of Microsoft's MRAN repository. The checkpoint command enables you to install packages from a snapshot of the CRAN repository, hosted on the MRAN repository. The snapshot taken Jan. 1, 2016 contains version 1.3-12.

library(checkpoint) checkpoint("2016-01-01")

Connect to Dynamics CRM Data as an ODBC Data Source

You can connect to a DSN in R with the following line:

conn <- odbcConnect("CData DynamicsCRM Source")

Schema Discovery

The driver models Dynamics CRM APIs as relational tables, views, and stored procedures. Use the following line to retrieve the list of tables:

sqlTables(conn)

Execute SQL Queries

Use the sqlQuery function to execute any SQL query supported by the Dynamics CRM API.

account <- sqlQuery(conn, "SELECT Contact.FirstName, SUM(Account.NumberOfEmployees) FROM Contact, Account GROUP BY Contact.FirstName", believeNRows=FALSE, rows_at_time=1)

You can view the results in a data viewer window with the following command:

View(account)

Plot Dynamics CRM Data

You can now analyze Dynamics CRM data with any of the data visualization packages available in the CRAN repository. You can create simple bar plots with the built-in bar plot function:

par(las=2,ps=10,mar=c(5,15,4,2)) barplot(account$NumberOfEmployees, main="Dynamics CRM Account", names.arg = account$FirstName, horiz=TRUE)