MB2-716 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration) – Configure Email Services

As I prepare for my MB2-716 exam I’m producing a series of blog posts that collectively should help others revising for the MB2-716 Certification. (Microsoft Dynamics 365 customization and Configuration.) This time I will look at Email Services.

Before revising a topic I often like to being by reviewing the skills measured statement, this time the statement that refers to email services is shown below;

  • Configure email services
    • Identify integration options, configure email server profiles and default organization email settings, enable server-side email synchronization, enable folder tracking, map exchange folders, set up and configure the CRM App for Outlook

This statement on email actually covers quite a lot of features, we therefore have quite a bit to cover. So let’s get started!

There are many combinations of email / CRM server architecture that are supported, email may reside in a local Exchange server and be connected to an on premise instance of Dynamics 365. Or maybe Dynamics 365 is online and making use of Office 365. Email integration enables users (and queues) to send and receive email in and out of the Dynamics 365 application, plus integrating with exchange allows appointments, contacts and tasks to be synchronized. It is important to be aware that not all features are mandatory, you could for example only configure outgoing email and opt not to synchronize.

Some common uses of email integration include;

  • Outbound emails from Dynamics 365. Either sent directly from Dynamics 365 users to contacts, accounts (etc) or automatically via workflow.
  • Updating contacts, appointments and tasks between Dynamics 365 and Outlook.
  • Inbound emails into Dynamics 365, including automatically taking emails into queues. (e.g. support emails into a support queue.)
  • Record creation rules to convert inbound emails into Dynamics 365 entities. Such as creating a case from an inbound email.
  • Tracking of emails from Outlook into Dynamics 365. (For example sales “conversations” tracked against an opportunity.)
  • Support for mobile devices.

Email Synchronization Options

There are several options for integrating email with Dynamics 365 including;

  • Dynamics 365 for Outlook
  • Server-side synchronization (The recommended approach)
  • Email router (Important Note: Deprecated from December 2016 Update onwards.)

For Dynamics 365 on-line / office 365, Server-side synchronization is the recommended approach. It allows Dynamics 365 and Exchange to communicate with no additional client software or server processes.Server-side synchronization is a required component if you wish to enable the email folder tracking feature.

If you use Dynamics 365 for Outlook for email integration users are required to be logged into Outlook for sending / receiving emails. However, server-side sync does not require this. As the name suggests, all of the processing is done on the server meaning the user does not have to be connected to a client.

Even when using server-side sync you can still opt to use the Dynamics 365 for Outlook client as it provides access to all Dynamics 365 data within Outlook.

Note: The email router has been deprecated from December 2016. Therefore you should migrate away from this option!

Server-side Synchronization

Server-side synchronization is specifically mentioned in the skills measured statement and is the recommended approach, so let’s look at that in a little more detail.

To track emails AND synchronize appointments five configurations are supported for server-side sync. Those being;

  • Connect Dynamics 365 (online) to Exchange Online
  • Connect Dynamics 365 (online) to Exchange Server (on-premises)
  • Connect Dynamics 365 (on-premises) to Exchange Server (on-premises)
  • Connect Dynamics 365 (on-premises) to Exchange Online
  • Connect Dynamics 365 to POP3/SMTP servers

The table below gives additional detail on the supported combinations of email synchronization and synchronization of appointments, contacts and tasks.

The above table has been copied from a TechNet article on supported emails configurations. You can view it here.

Configuring Server-side Sync

Three steps are involved in configuring server-side synchronization;

  1. Configure system settings.
  2. Configure the server profile.
  3. Define and configure mailboxes for users / queues.

Options for all of these steps can be found in the email configuration options in the settings area of CRM.

The email configuration settings option lets you define the configuration of email you wish to deploy. Including server-side sync, email router and outlook. As part of your preparation it is worth going over this screen to be aware of the key options available.

Note: Notice the warning that if you change from email router to server-side sync the router will be blocked for email processing.

Tip: Notice the “Configure default synchronization method” section in system settings. It maybe common that most users have the same settings, so defining the defaults here will help make the process of creating new users easier. It is also possible to open an existing mailbox and use the apply default settings option.

Also notice that you can configure server-side sync and email router to only process emails for approved users and queues. This is the default and the reason why all mailboxes (by default) must be approved before being tested/enabled.

The next step is to create an email server profile. A step which is done automatically if you are using CRM online and Exchange online. It is possible to have multiple email server profiles, in that scenario mailboxes will be linked to an appropriate server profile. This might be useful when migrating from one configuration to another. Or possibly simply done to create logical groupings, maybe all the user in the south are on one profile and the north on another. This logical grouping might be useful as error messages from all the mailboxes associated with each profile are rolled up.

Mailbox records get created when users or queues are created. These can be amended to govern what type of email synchronization is required for each individual mailbox.

Mailboxes must be approved and tested / enabled for them to operate. FYI, occasionally an email may force a permanent error and then the mail box would need to be re-approved / re-tested.

Also notice that a mailbox can be a forwarding mailbox.

Notice that the synchronization method on the mailbox can be set for “incoming email”, “outgoing email” and “appointments, contacts and tasks”. For example, incoming email might be handled by the email router, whilst appointments remain on Microsoft Dynamics for Outlook.

Also, importantly the method can be set to none. Say you wanted to block all outgoing mail from a particular mailbox that could be done.

Forward Mailboxes

Often each user will have dedicated mailboxes, so that each user has an individual email address. (and mailbox configuration.)

With a forwarding mailbox large numbers of users can be configured to link to one forwarding mailbox. One mailbox is configured as a forward mailbox; then multiple users forward their mail to that forwarding box for tracking in Dynamics 365.

The advantage being there is only a need to configure one mailbox but the disadvantage being you sacrifice the ability for users to individually send emails from Dynamics 365.

In a call center you could configure everyone to use a forwarding mailbox. This would work because in this scenario synchronization of individual appointments, contacts and tasks is not essential. But in a sales environment, each field sales person would need a personalized view of their contacts and appointments. Meaning a forwarding mailbox would not be appropriate for them.

Don’t forget that a mixed deployment is possible. With some users working with a forwarding mailbox and others having individual mail accounts.

Server-side sync monitoring / performance

Monitoring email usage will be an important administration task to ensure smooth running. Whenever an error occurs an alert event is triggered and can be seen at an email box or server profile level. These can be for information, warning or errors. There is also a server-side sync dashboard available, this gives details of how many boxes are healthy and how many have continuous or warning errors. Plus, it contains charts to help see the current and historic performance for email synchronization.

Sometimes it may also be useful to go to the mailbox and select “Download Mail Details”, this will give full details of the configuration of that mailbox.

Having configured Email and mailboxes your MB2-716 revision will probably next focus on email client options. I will cover email clients in my next post.

One thought on “MB2-716 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration) – Configure Email Services

  1. Pingback: MB2-716 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration) – Revision Guide | Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Unified Service Desk

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