Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 now contains the ability to track email messages from Outlook online.
In my personal opinion this capability has been missing from CRM for a long time, so I’m very pleased to finally see this. Until now tracking emails forced the installation of the full Outlook client which has some disadvantages for mobile users and also still tends to be quite demanding of local system resources. So can be “heavy weight” if a user simply needs to track the occasional email.
The new application is “light weight” which does imply its capabilities are limited but I still found most of the email related features I’d commonly want. However, integration is limited to emails, appointments (for example) cannot yet be tracked. But of course, I can still install the full Outlook client if I need greater functionality.
In this post I will describe how to configure the outlook app which enables CRM integration and also show some of its capabilities.
Setup is pretty straight forward. The first step is to ensure the mailbox for the CRM user is correctly configured. Server-side synchronization needs to have been configured plus the mailbox will need to have been enabled. Meaning it must be approved and successfully run the configuration tests.
Note: I haven’t tried this option with the email router yet but I believe Server-Side Synchronization is a prerequisite of the new outlook app.
Once your mailboxes are configured you’ll need to enable which users will receive the app for outlook using a new option in the settings area of CRM. “CRM App for Outlook”.
You can see below how the “CRM App for Outlook” option can be used to add a list of users that need to be enabled for Outlook access. One thing to note here is that when users are added their status is initially “pending”, it can take up to 15 minutes for the App to be available to these users.
Tracking Emails from the Outlook App
Once users have been enabled for the Outlook Application Dynamics CRM will show as an Add-in from their Outlook web interface. See below how I could click on “Add-in” and then in the right panel had an option to track the email I was creating or create a contact in CRM.
Clicking the track option then gave me the ability to search CRM and associate the email with an account, contact, lead, opportunity or case. You can see below that my search returned one matching account and I set this email to be regarding this account.
Note: At this point in time I have only seen the tracking option available on these four out of the box system entities. I will do some testing on custom entities and will endeavour to update this post with my findings. But my initial thought is that being a lightweight application the tracking option is limited to basic system entities.
Below you can see that the email is now marked as being regarding the account I found. Clicking on the account name will load the account within CRM for me.
Whilst I could see my email within CRM I did get a frustrating message that “The email below might contain script or content that is potentially harmful”, although I could see the subject of the email and it could be opened. (Just that the body of the email didn’t’ correctly show in the social pain.)
I next tested the option to create a contact, clicking create contact gave me the form below. Enabling me to effectively complete a quick create on the contact and then save it. Including an option to edit with the full CRM form if required.
When you view an email that has been associated with a contact then within Outlook you can see details of recent activities, cases and opportunities. Clicking on these will then open the details in a full CRM form.
I hope you enjoy using this Outlook App. Obviously it currently has some limitations but I hope this shows a direction of travel from Microsoft and we can therefore expect additional features in later releases. J