Improve Outlook Experience with CRM


Change the Synchronization Settings on the Client in Outlook

As Technical Services Account Managers for Dynamics CRM on the Deluxe Support team, my colleagues and I work with many of the largest CRM deployments out there today. I’m going to document some of the performance related settings that can be made to CRM to help improve performance when you are in a 100+ user deployment.

When you install the Desktop or Laptop Client for Dynamics CRM, you will receive the default synchronization settings in Outlook as available under CRM > Options on the Synchronization Tab:

This indicates that you will be synching all appointments, tasks and contacts (by default just those you own) to CRM every time you launch Outlook and every 15 minutes when Outlook is running. You will also synchronize any CRM customization changes according to this schedule. This synchronization process slows down the launch of Outlook and users may complain that Outlook takes longer to load now that CRM is installed.

If the CRM users are not creating many appointments, contacts and tasks within the Web interface or the web navigation within Outlook, it is generally not necessary to synchronize CRM and Outlook this frequently. In a call center environment, I could see how it would make sense to keep the default synchronization settings, but in most environments where you’re creating 1-5 new appointments, tasks or contacts, it’s probably overkill. Also, if you need to synchronize at a certain point, you can always do it manually by choosing CRM > Synchronize Outlook with CRM (and as a bonus, you get a progress bar!).

I typically recommend to my customers that they uncheck the “Synchronize the items in my Outlook folders at startup” and set the synchronization interval to 60 minutes. On the server side, system administrators can set the minimum allowed interval, which is 15 minutes by default. To modify the server side setting, go to the Web Client and click on Settings > Organization Settings > System Settings and click on the Outlook Synchronization tab:

Once you’ve settled on the best approach for your organization, change the System Setting to the appropriate time for your organization. Then, if you are manually installing clients, I recommend you add a step to the install process to open Outlook, Go Offline (if it’s a Laptop client) and be sure to uncheck the Synchronize on startup option. It’s important that you synchronize at least once, so you can pull down the CRM customizations. If you are doing a remote install, you could flip the registry key “RunOutlookSyncOnStartup” to 0.

You’ll see in the above screenshot another setting we recommend changing under “Check for promoted e-mail every” X “minutes”. This setting tells the Exchange Router to look at the CRM related emails that have come to the sink mailbox and determine if any other person on the email is a CRM user so it can update those users’ Outlook with the notification that an email sent to them has been created as a CRM activity. In very large deployments of CRM, the traffic generated by this activity will likely lead to a performance impact that be more troublesome than the feature will be worth.

I recommend you take a hard look at these settings before rolling out CRM to avoid any potential negative perceptions that may occur when it takes a few moments longer to launch Outlook once CRM has been installed.

Eric Newell

Comments (6)

  1. Part One Part Two Reduce Exchange Traffic by Modifying your Outlook Rule I typically get a number of

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  4. Nathan says:

    It appears that the crm connector will only handle 10 emails per sync! I have just tried emailing a marketing campaign of 1600 emails and  it took 3 days! (10 emails every 15 mins). I am told that "this is by design" from someone else who raised this issue with microsoft support and was told they should use the email router. We don’t need the email router, our crm system only consists of 3 users!

    Can you guys clarify this? is it a bug? can it be fixed?

  5. When it comes to performance the list of variables can be quite long and the solutions do not always

  6. Nida says:

    We currently have Exchange 2003 with CRM 3.0. We are planning to upgrade to Exchange 2007. Will there be any problem in the upgrade? Will CRM 3.0 be compatible with Exchange 2007? Please let me know what your thought are. Thank you.

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