Dynamics 365 App for Outlook Part 1- The Basics


With the recent release of the new version of Dynamics 365 App for Outlook in 2017 along with v9.0 and the new unified interface, there has been quite of bit of ongoing work to bring features and improvements in this area. As many organizations are now in the transition from the legacy Dynamics 365 for Outlook client, I have encountered many questions that I will address within a multi-part blog series in collaboration with Cody Dinwiddie. He is one of our Support Escalation Engineers on the Dynamics 365 Support team focused on email integration.

 

This multi-part blog series will be focused on a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (online) to Exchange Online environment. Although, much of this would also be valid for hybrid and On Premise environments.

 

There are multiple resources already available and I will do my best to link out to these through the series. The first important list of resources starts with the App for Outlook guide on the Docs site. This is a great starting point and most of the information included in the series will be in addition to what can be found in these guides.

Deploy the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

Dynamics 365 App for Outlook User Guide

What's new with Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

 

What does it offer?

  • With the new unified interface, it offers the same experience as you will see in the new unified interface in a web browser and the mobile app. With the ability to customize the app, you can modify the sitemap to allow users full navigation of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.
  • View information about Dynamics 365 contacts and leads while you’re working in Outlook. You can view this info in the context of an email message, meeting, or appointment.
  • Track email messages, meetings, and appointments to a Dynamics 365 record with a single click. For example, link an email message to a specific account, opportunity, or project.
  • Open Dynamics 365 records directly to find or enter more detailed information.
  • Quick create of records
  • Relationship Assistant and Email Engagements
  • Global Category or Relevance Search
  • Add email templates, knowledge articles, and sales literature when you create an email message or set up a meeting.
  • Track Outlook contacts in Dynamics 365 and link to parent Account records

 

Let's talk about terminology

Set Regarding - Track and link the email or appointment to an existing record in Dynamics 365. This must be an activities enabled entity. When this is done, the record will appear in Dynamics under the user's activities views, related activities for any recipients who's email resolves to a Contact in Dynamics, and on the record selected for Set Regarding.

 

Tracking (without regarding)- Create a copy of the email or appointment in Dynamics 365. The difference between this and Set Regarding is that this is not attached to a specific Dynamics record and will show up only under the user's activities views and related activities for any recipients who's email resolves to a Contact in Dynamics. The creation of the record may also be referred to as promotion.

 

Email Filtering - Personal Options a user can configure to determine what emails will be tracked into Dynamics. We cover these starting in part 3 of this series

 

Email Correlation - This occurs after an email is filtered. The method which is used by Dynamics to determine if a received email is part of an email conversation that is already tracked, was automatically promoted by Server-Side Sync(i.e. folder-level tracking), or was sent from within Dynamics 365. This may also be referred to as email identification and matching.

 

Email Resolution or Association- This refers to the process which Dynamics uses to verify if the email address in the sender or recipients of an email or appointment match that of an email enabled entity, such as Account, Contact or Lead. We will talk more about this in part 4.

 

Synchronization - This refers to synchronizing emails, appointments, contacts, and tasks between Dynamics and Exchange. This may also be referenced when discussing the filters that control which records are synchronized as well as field synchronization, which controls the which fields and the direction each is synced.

 

Synchronous tracking - This means that the email, appointment, or contact is tracked immediately. It does not wait for the async service in Dynamics to retrieve the item to bring into Dynamics.

 

Asynchronous tracking - This is the opposite of above. This means that the record is not promoted/tracked immediately. It has been marked as an item to track and it will be tracked when the asynchronous process polls for items to bring to Dynamics. In this case, a user will see Track pending…

 

 

Requirements:

Since requirements may change with versions, I am simply providing the link to the Requirements doc site that is maintained by the product group. Be sure to take a look at these. They will also be covered in part 2 of this series.

Dynamics 365 App for Outlook requirements

If you just reviewed the requirements link above, you know that Server-Side Sync must be configured as a requirement for the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. Aside from confusion with terminology, one of the most common questions I get is regarding the email that is sent from Dynamics upon successful configuration of a user's mailbox.

The issue? Every time a Dynamics mailbox is configured successfully, an email is sent to the user's mailbox. It looks like below:

 

This can cause confusion to the users that may not understand why they are getting this. Some users believe it is Spam and report it to their support/help desk. Especially in troubleshooting scenarios, where you may end up running through the Test and Enable process multiple times, this email will be sent every time. Currently, there is no way to either disable this email from being sent or any ability to modify the message that is sent in this email. However, here are two links for a Product Enhancement Idea if this is affecting you.

 

Need an option to Enable or Disable the functionality of sending Test Email when Testing and Enabling mailbox.

Customizable template for Server Side Sync Test and Enable email

 

With the current functionality, there are two options I have seen implemented.

  1. Configure an Outlook Rule for all users to delete this email when it arrives. This may briefly appear to the user before deleted.
  2. Configure an Exchange rule. From my testing, this was not noticeable to a user. I tested two rules and the criteria I tested with is in the screenshot below. Both rules worked to delete the message

How can I configure my Exchange mailbox to multiple Dynamics 365 instances?

You can't. This is another very common question I get about the mailbox configuration process. It is not possible to configure multiple Dynamics 365 mailboxes to the same Exchange mailbox, even if the mailboxes exist in different instances. Allowing this would result in synchronization, promotion, and correlation conflicts on individual items between the two instances.

 

Take a look at the related documentation here

 

If you need to test the same mailbox in lower environments prior to going live with this in production, just make sure it is disabled in other instances. If you are already live, testing in lower environments should only be done with mailboxes that are not configured in production, such as test users/mailboxes.

 

Check out the rest of the series below:

 

Aaron Richards

 

Comments (4)

  1. Arun Vinoth says:

    Most anticipated series.. Good one..

  2. Glenn Wilson says:

    Thanks for this. looking forward to the rest…

  3. donalmc says:

    Disabling and re-enabling mailboxes for testing purposes is not really an acceptable process.
    Sandboxes should come with a CAL bound to that Sandbox that we can use for testing workflows that use email.

    (oddly enough – having a single mailbox bound to multiple instances used to work fine)

    1. Thank you for the feedback, @donaldmc. In most cases, testing with production mailboxes is done in a lower environment prior to going live. It is extremely rare that you should need to disable a mailbox in production to test with that specific mailbox in a lower environment. Normally, there would be test users in the lower environment that are not configured in production for any testing that needs to be done. But your scenario with workflows with something like a service account sending the emails does make sense. I would recommend submitting a Product Suggestion at this link: https://ideas.dynamics.com/ideas/dynamics-crm

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