This article was originally posted on August 06, 2009.
My colleague ran into an issue today on our SharePoint intranet, KMANet. He saved a proposal to our collateral library, but the “Account Name” column, a Business Data column populated via a link to our Microsoft CRM system, showed the wrong account.
My colleague had tried to populate the correct account name, but it did not save properly. When I tried to replicate the issue and save the proper account name, SharePoint threw an error indicating an invalid character in a text field. This looked squirrelly and vaguely familiar to me, so I did a little research and, ironically, found my own blog article from February, 2007 that got to the bottom of the issue: the Account Name business data column is limited to 60 characters, and when we try to populate an account name that is too long, we get the error. We shortened the account name in MSCRM and re-saved without event.
I’ve yet to find documentation that reflects this limitation, and I’m not technically experienced enough with the BDC to know a non-programmatic way to overcome this. The “shorten the account name in CRM” workaround works fine, but I welcome any suggestions for resolving this in SharePoint, and hope this post helps others who encounter this limitation.