For part 5 of the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook series, we are going focus on specific appointment tracking scenarios. In the following post, we will break down contacts.
Let's get into it…
If I receive a meeting request, can I track this into Dynamics 365?
You cannot track a meeting request. You will receive the message below from the email list view:
Or if you open the meeting invite item, you will see the App is grayed out.
You also cannot track meeting replies (a reply that states someone accepted your meeting request).
However if you accept the meeting request, you can track the appointment only if this was sent from a Non-Dynamics user such as a Contact or an external email. See below:
Can I track an appointment sent to me from another Dynamics User?
By default, no. If this was sent from another Dynamics 365 user, you will not be able to track this appointment and you will receive the following message instead of the tracking options. There is a setting that affects how this works. I will be updating this blog post for this scenario specifically in the coming weeks.
When you receive a meeting request from another Dynamics 365 user, if the organizer tracks this into Dynamics before sending, it will show as Track Pending in the recipient's calendar until the async service picks it up.
After the async service picks it up, it shows the following.
If you click the ellipses next to Tracking Failed and select Retry, this will still fail since the Organizer is another user.
If the sending user instead sends the meeting request and then tracks the appointment into Dynamics from their calendar, this issue will not occur. The recipient would instead see the message that "You can't track this meeting because it was organized by another user" message.
How do I change the functionality to allow this?
There is a setting: TrackAppointmentsFromNonOrganizer, which can be used to track appointments from another Organizer that exists as a Dynamics user. You can update that setting with this tool. Once this is enabled, it will appear with the options to track. Due to some sync issues, I would not enable this until you are on version 126.96.36.1996 or higher.
Let's look at what happens in a scenario where this is enabled. Aaron Richards creates an Appointment from Outlook with WhatsNew Administrator as an attendee but does not track the Appointment. WhatsNew Administrator accepts the Meeting Request and tracks the Appointment to Dynamics from his calendar.
This is the tracked meeting from the WhatsNew Administrator who did not actually create the Appointment, but was now able to track what was created by Aaron because of this setting. Although WhatsNew Administrator tracked the item, the Owner and Organizer are Aaron Richards. The Organizer of the item in Exchange.
Now, if Aaron Richards goes into his Outlook before the next sync cycle and opens the App for Outlook on this Appointment, it will show as Not Tracked
They can click Track and will get this "Scheduling Conflict" message because Dynamics already has an Appointment for these users at this time. The link has not be created with this mailbox yet.
It will go to Track Pending status and after it synchronizes, will show as Tracked.
How would this work in a delegate scenario?
If you skipped the section above, this requires an Org setting called TrackAppointmentsFromNonOrganizer. Here is an example:
- Aaron Richards has given delegate rights to WhatsNew Administrator for his calendar
- WhatsNew Administrator opens his Outlook and the shared calendar for Aaron Richards
- Creates an Appointment from Aaron's calendar and adds himself as a recipient
- WhatsNew Administrator receives and accepts the Meeting Request
- WhatsNew Administrator opens the Appointment from his calendar and clicks track (Previously, this would not be possible without this setting)
- Once this is promoted to Dynamics, the Owner and Organizer remain as Aaron Richards
When I create an appointment with attendees and send the meeting request, is this tracked and does it reflect as tracked on the Appointment shown in my calendar?
When I create a new appointment in Outlook with required attendees, it sends a meeting request but also creates an appointment on your calendar. When creating an appointment, before I send it (compose mode), I can open the App for Outlook and track it.
After it is sent, the meeting request that exists in your sent items does not actually show as tracked.
But the appointment on your calendar does
What happens when I change the date or start and end times of an appointment in Outlook that is synchronized to Dynamics?
This will reflect the changes in Dynamics. If this has meeting recipients, they will also receive an update to the original meeting as you would expect with normal Outlook functionality. You can actually move the dates ahead to a future date or if it is a meeting that already occurred, you can move it backwards. You will want to review the bottom of this post for how we synchronize historical appointments.
When resolving recipient email addresses to records in Dynamics, if there is more than one record in Dynamics with the same email address, which record is it resolved to?
It resolves using the method below:
If there are duplicate records within Dynamics 365 with the same email address, the contents of the appointment From field will resolve to the first active record in the following order on an appointment:
a. SystemUser- should always be first
g. Business unit
h. Email-enabled entities (for example: Queues, custom, etc.)
Appointment recipients will not resolve to inactive User records in the From field. There is a setting that can be changed to resolve to other inactive entity records but this does NOT include inactive Users: ResolveForInactiveEntities. Regardless of this setting, we will not resolve to inactive Users. This is set to False by default.
Here are some additional points on how it resolves recipient email addresses in the To or CC field of an appointment:
If there is an inactive user in the recipients line, the App for Outlook may show that the user matches the email address, but when you track, the promotion will not resolve to that email for the inactive user and it will show up in red as unresolved. It will not resolve to inactive users regardless of the ResolveForInactiveEntities setting.
If the email address is tied to an active user, it will display that in the App for Outlook recipients pane, but it will still resolve to each active Dynamics record with that email address once it is promoted, as long as Set To,cc,bcc fields to unresolved values if multiple matches are found is set to No in System Settings. If this is set to yes, they will show as unresolved. Also, if the ResolveForInactiveEntities setting is True, it will resolve to inactive entity records except inactive Users.
One important thing to mention here is that the emails addresses on the appointment do NOT resolve to records only in the default email address fields within Dynamics. If you have a custom Single Line of Text field with Email format on a Contact record, you may see some interesting results. (Additional screenshots are available in Part 4- working with Emails)
- Bob Jones is a user inside Dynamics, and on the User form, the email data field of “Primary Email” has the value Bob@test.com
- There is an Opportunity record named “BobOpp” with the email data field of “Email” set to Bob@test.com
- There is a Case record named “BobCase” with the email data field of “Email” set to Bob@test.com
- There is a Contact record named “Leslie Baker” set to primary email of Baker@test.com with the email data field of “Contact Approver” set to Bob@test.com
- There is another Contact record named “Greg Marcus” set to primary email of Marcus@test.com with the email data field of “Contact Approver” set to Bob@test.com
- There is another Contact record named “Happy Hogan” set to primary email of Hogan@test.com with the email data field of “Contact Approver” set to Bob@test.com
- The System Setting of “Set To,cc,bcc fields as unresolved values if multiple matches are found in Incoming Emails” is set to No
- There is an appointment on Bob’s calendar where Bob@test.com is a recipient on the To: and CC: line
If this appointment is promoted into Dynamics through the Dynamics App for Outlook (as an example), the promoted appointment in Dynamics will show the following values:
To: Bob Jones; BobOpp; BobCase; Leslie Baker; Greg Marcus; Happy Hogan
CC: Bob Jones; BobOpp; BobCase; Leslie Baker; Greg Marcus; Happy Hogan
Can I track recurring appointments?
Yes, you can track a recurring series:
No, you cannot track a single occurrence of a recurring appointment
When you track a recurring appointment, you will see a recurring appointment as well as an appointment record for each occurrence of the recurring series, as seen below:
How can I tell from Outlook if an appointment is tracked in Dynamics?
As mentioned in the last post, if you are familiar with the legacy Outlook client, there was an icon that appeared on tracked items, making it easy to determine if the record was tracked. Unfortunately, with the App for Outlook, there is no icon to show if it is tracked. Additionally, there is no option to pin the App on Appointments. You can see below that the icon to pin the App is missing.
You would need to use Category Tracking, which shows a specified category for Tracked in Dynamics 365. I will not be going into this during this blog series. We may be looking at this in a future post. However, be sure you test this feature thoroughly to ensure it works for your needs.
What happens when I untrack an Appointment from Outlook?
If you untrack an appointment, you will get the option to untrack or remove the link to the record. If you own the appointment record, you will also get the option to delete the appointment. If you untrack a historical appointment, you will not receive this prompt. It will simply be untracked.
If you untrack a recurring appointment, you will see the following prompt. If you choose Delete, this will only delete future occurrences of the series. The historical occurrences will remain in Dynamics.
How do we synchronize historical appointments?
This is likely one of the most common questions I encounter.
Appointments in the past: You can still track a past appointment that already exists in Outlook into Dynamics 365, which will create the appointment record in Dynamics, but Dynamics 365 doesn’t synchronize changes on these past appointments or send historical meeting invites.
However, if you are also creating a historical appointment in Outlook prior to tracking into Dynamics, Outlook will still send a meeting request. This will happen with standard Outlook functionality regardless of if the App for Outlook is used or not.
Recurring appointments: In Outlook, a series of appointments can have no end time, but in Dynamics 365, instances as part of the recurring appointment will be created if the instance is either within the near future (12 months), or was modified as an exception of the series.
Service activities and service appointments: You can push service appointments in Dynamics 365 to Outlook as a regular appointment, but the appointment in Outlook won’t sync back to Dynamics 365, and you should always modify the service appointment in Dynamics 365 to provide consistency. Directly updating the appointment in Outlook is not allowed nor recommended.
Which appointments are tracked immediately vs. asynchronously?
At the time of this post, this is the most recent functionality
|Use Case||Initial Promotion Method||Fallback Promotion Method|
|Recipient tracks an appointment in read mode for the first time||Immediate||Async|
|Recipient tracks a previously untracked appointment||Async||Async|
|Track an appointment in compose mode||Immediate||Async|
|Organizer tracks an appointment||Async||Async|
|Track an appointment in compose mode||Async||Async|
As a reminder, the asynchronous processing can take up to 15 minutes. The processing time of the mailbox items is dependent on the amount of items it has to process, the configuration settings for which items to process, size of attachments, and health of the mailbox.
Our business has requirements to display the appointment form differently for different business units. Why don’t I see the option to create a new appointment form in Dynamics?
It is a current design that we have only one appointment form due to the tight integration with the fields required by Exchange and Outlook. This has been brought up many times and there is a Product Enhancement Suggestion here.
How are tracked Appointment deletions handled?
Appointment deletions in Dynamics 365
- Deleting a tracked appointment in Microsoft Dynamics 365 deletes the appointment in Outlook if the following is true:
- The appointment is current.
- You are the owner or organizer of the appointment record.
*This does not mean that the user deleting the Appointment must be the owner or organizer. The deletion can be performed through any mechanism/user and a subsequent deletion will only be synchronized to the Exchange mailbox of the user whom previously owned or was the organizer of the deleted appointment.
Also, if a user is an attendee on a tracked Appointment, which they are not the owner or organizer of and this is deleted, they will receive a cancellation in Outlook.
Appointment deletions in Outlook
- Deleting a tracked appointment in Outlook deletes the appointment in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
- If you stop tracking an appointment, App for Outlook asks whether you want to delete the appointment from Microsoft Dynamics 365. The appointment record is deleted in Microsoft Dynamics App if the following is true:
- The appointment is current.
- You are the owner of the appointment record.
There is an OrgDbOrgSetting that can change how this works as well. DistinctPhysicalAndLogicalDeletesForExchangeSync, which has a default value of false. If changed to true, the delete logic for synchronization is changed to not delete objects in Exchange unless the object on the Dynamics side is directly deleted by the owning user. This setting will be helpful if you run into a scenario where the Organizer of an Appointment is changed and the original Organizer's mailbox synchronizes before the new Organizer mailbox, the Appointment would be cancelled. See this article. Another scenario where this would be helpful is if you have the "Set To,cc,bcc fields to unresolved values if multiple matches are found" and an item is manually tracked where the Organizer email has multiple matches. This would also send a logical delete.
Stay tuned next week for the rest of this series!
Check out the rest of the series below: