Q&A: History tracking / Auditing Entities in Dynamics CRM

Everyone who has ever taught the same subject a few times can confirm that, after a while, you can predict the questions you might get. Sometimes those questions are also a good indicator of what is “hot” and what is “not”.

So, here is one of the questions that pops up regularly in our Dynamics CRM “Power Users” course.

Q: Does Dynamics CRM keep an history of the changes that a user has performed on a record? In other words: does Dynamics CRM have some kind of audit log?

A: Dynamics CRM does not have Out-Of-the-Box auditing support, but it is a feature you can easily implement using a combination of a workflow and a custom entity. The workflow would be responsible to store a copy of the data or the changes together with the user, the date and other relevant info into the custom entity. This technique has already been explored and documented by Guy Riddle on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog.

Tip: As pointed out by Bart Vierbergen (Helios-IT) during the Microsoft partner event about the CRM Accelerators: Combine the CRM Notifications Accelerator with the logging entity to stay informed about changes in Dynamics CRM. 

Instead of using a workflow, you could also develop a plugin that does the same thing. That would required development skills however. Or you could take a look at the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Audit Plugin Tool over at Ryandev.com.

Next to implementing it yourself, you can also buy a ready made solution, like the one from C360, GaleForce Solutions or Solomon Software. This last company also offers a freeware version which is limited to auditing lead and account entities (Download here).

Tip:  Find Dynamics CRM add-ons using the Microsoft Solution Finder or the solution directory at MsDynamicsWorld.com. Ofcourse, Googling might also help;)