As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I’m creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. In this post I will explain how to configure email.
You can see an extract from the MB2-717 skills measured statement which mentions email. Using email to manage your customer relationships is a key subject that you should revise in detail. I have already created several posts talking about email engagement, auto-capture, templates etc. In this post I will concentrate on how you configure email with Dynamics 365. This is a topic which isn’t specifically mentioned, although I assume it maybe implied. (For example, you can’t use email engagement without first configuring email.)
Even though email setup isn’t mentioned you will certainly need to configure email to be able to properly revise topics like email engagement, auto-capture etc. (I say this as hands on experience is essential!)
There are many combinations of email / Dynamics 365 architecture that are supported, email may reside in a local Exchange server and connected to an on premise instance of Dynamics 365. Or maybe your Dynamics 365 instance is online and making use of Office 365. Office 365 is a cloud service containing a collection of services that together form an overall productivity suite. Include Exchange online, SharePoint online, Skype for business online, Delve, Office 365 ProPlus, Project Online, Power BI and Office Groups.
Email integration enables users (and queues) to send and receive email in and out of Dynamics 365, 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 appointments.
Some common uses of email integration include;
- Outbound emails. 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 entities. Such as creating a case from an inbound email.
- Tracking of emails from Outlook into Dynamics. (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 using CRM for Outlook and server-side synchronization.
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 folder tracking, auto-capture or email engagement features. (Meaning I recommend testing server-side sync for your MB2-717 revision, as you’ll want to be able to test all of these email features.)
If you use CRM for Outlook for email integration users are required to be logged in for sending / receiving emails. With Outlook loaded and the CRM for Outlook client configured.
Server-side sync does not require the users to load Outlook or any client software! 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.
Note: Even when using server-side sync you could still opt to use the CRM for Outlook client as it provides access to all CRM data within Outlook. But we do also have the Outlook App option and mobile options!
Configuring Server-side Sync
Three steps are involved in configuring server-side synchronization;
- Configure system settings.
- Configure the server profile.
- 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 Dynamics 365.
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 exam preparation it is worth going over this screen to be aware of the key options available.
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. Importantly this is a step which is done automatically if you are using Dynamics 365 online and Exchange online. (Meaning you may be able to skip this step!) 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.
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.
Also notice that a mailbox can be a forwarding mailbox …
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 mailbox for tracking into 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.
Note: Don’t forget that a mixed deployment is possible. With some users working with a forwarding mailbox and others having individual mail accounts.
Test / Enable Mailboxes
As mentioned the server profile will probably be created automatically. If you are using Dynamics 365 online and Exchange online. But will be almost certainly need to approve then test / enable each mailbox before it will operate.
From the mailbox (or after selecting multiple mailboxes in a view) you will first need to use the “Approve Email” option.
Once you have an approved mailbox it must be tested / enabled. To do this simply click the “Test & Enable Mailbox” option. The process takes a few seconds, so wait then refresh the screen. You should see the incoming email, outgoing email and appointments, contacts and tasks status fields change to “Success”. From time to time a failure may occur! If this happens you can view the failures in the alerts option.
if you happen to get a failure one common reason is a problem with the synchronization method. Typically you may need to check / change this and re-test the mailbox.
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 you email server settings you will typically need an email client. (Although you can obviously use emails directly in Dynamics 365 without the need of a client!)
The email options you’ll need to be aware of include;
- CRM for Outlook – an add-in for Microsoft Outlook (Allows off line capability)
- CRM App for Outlook – supports tracking of emails from browser online version of Outlook.
CRM for Outlook
I “believe” the CRM for Outlook client will be beyond the scope of the MB2-717 exam, but I will mention it briefly here as you may want to be aware of its capabilities.
- Client side add-in for Microsoft Outlook provides most immersive experience of any email client.
- Supports tracking of emails.
- Synchronizes appointments, contacts and tasks.
- Allows access to Dynamics data directly from Outlook.
Off line capability,
- takes subset of data off line based on off line filters you define.
- Synchronizes data back to CRM when you next go online.
- Several features aren’t available off line, including assigning records, converting orders to invoices, sharing records, running workflows etc.
- Duplicate checking is disabled when off line. But synchronization settings do allow duplicate checking to take form during offline to online synchronization.
- If an off line change is set to trigger a workflow the workflow will be run when you go back online.
- Security permissions remain the same in off line and on line modes.
- Articles, sales literature and mail templates can be viewed off line but can’t be altered.
Dynamics 365 App for Outlook
- App for Outlook designed for interacting with Dynamics 365 from Outlook online in a browser or embedded into Outlook client.
- Support tracking of emails against contacts, accounts, leads, opportunities and cases
- Allows Dynamics contacts to be created direct from app.
- Allows creation of leads and opportunities as tracking emails.
I describe the Outlook App in greater detail here….
It is personal preference but generally speaking the App for Outlook is the client I use when working with Outlook. You can see below that I get a Dynamics 365 icon in the ribbon bar in Outlook. And once clicked this opens up a right panel containing my Dynamics 365 data. I suggest you experiment with the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook as part of your revision.
From a revision point of view … I suggest you opt for server-side sync and the App for Outlook. Then enable email engagement and auto-capture.
In this post I hope I have introduced the key concepts connected with configuring the email server and clients. My aim hasn’t been to provide complete information on any of the options, so your revision might need to delve deeper. Personally my revision has focused on newer features like email engagement and auto-capture. But all the new features will need you to have an understanding of server-side sync and general email setup. Hopefully this post will have given you some useful information for your MB2-717 revision.