CRM Online Reporting with FetchXML (How to Set up a Data Source to Access CRM Data in SQL Reporting Services)
CRM Online Reporting with FetchXML Series
Intro: Intro to Series
Part I: How to Set up a Data Source to Access CRM Data in SQL Reporting Services
Part II: How to Use FetchXML Data in the Report
Part IIa: CRM FetchXML Operators
Part III: Handy SQL Reporting Services Functions for CRM Online Reports
To be able to create reports in Dynamics CRM 2011 online, you can use the Report Wizard feature in CRM to create basic reports or you can create highly customized reports in Visual Studio in the Business Intelligence Design Studio. In order to connect to your CRM Online organization, you need to install the CRM 2011 Report Authoring Extension, which is basically a plug-in to Visual Studio that provides a data source Connection Type that doesn't otherwise exist.
Here's the link to download the CRM 2011 Report Authoring Extension: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=27823
To install the CRM 2011 extension, you need to be running SQL 2008 BIDS in Visual Studio 2008. I tried for hours and hours this weekend trying to install this on Windows Server 2012, and it doesn't work due to the Windows Live Sign-on service not working with Server 2012.
Once you get it installed (which if you're on Windows 7 with Visual Studio BIDS 2008 it's pretty easy), you will choose the Embedded connection option of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Fetch. In the connection string, enter your CRM Online organizational URL. If you have multiple orgs on that instance, you'll need to enter the org ID after that (this is explained in other articles referenced off the Intro article).
You need to log in using your Microsoft credentials when you run the report, so you can prompt for credentials each time, or you can store the credentials with the report (if you're like me and you like to preview your reports over and over again, you'll want to store the credentials with the report).
Once you've gotten this set up, you're ready to bring the FetchXML query into your report. That's a topic for the next post in this series.