2015 Update 1: Folder-Level Tracking

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 (code-named Carina) brings a lot of great new functionalities, in this post the new folder tracking functionality is presented.

Why use folders?

For a couple of reasons, namely:

  • Leveraging existing OOB functionality on e-mail clients:
    • Most web, desktop and mobile e-mail clients support folders natively.
    • Most clients also support setting automated rules (e.g.: when an e-mail comes from a particular address or with a particular subject move it to a specific folder.
  • No additional add-ons required for the e-mail client.
  • Faster performance: In the end of the day CRM Outlook client still impacts on Outlook performance.

This new feature is very specific to tracking e-mails, the reason they were tackled first is not only because folder tracking is an “easy” implementation that leverages on existing e-mail clients capabilities as it was also the main record of concern when tracking data to CRM, as per image below:

Additionally, there is a considerable amount of CRM users that use standard web of mobile e-mail clients that are not aware of MSCRM, most, if not all, supporting folders and rule definition/automations:

How to setup?

  1. In e-mail Client: Create the folder(s) against which you which to track.
  2. In CRM: Create a rule in CRM to map each folder to a specific CRM Record (as per image below).
    1. Exchange folders are updated to CRM on every server-side-sync.
    2. Up to 25 rules can be created per user.

And that’s it, it’s done!

How to use it?

Just move the e-mail you wish to track into the appropriate folder.

The actual actions/steps required to move an e-mail to a folder depend on the e-mail client used. Below are some examples:

  1. Outlook: Just drag the e-mail to the folder.

  1. IOS mail app: From the e-mail message, click the folder button, then chose folder to move it to.

Requirements

For folder tracking to work, all of the bellow need to be true:

  1. Server-side sync required: The user either has CRM Outlook setup or the new folder tracking feature (more details in “Should I still use CRM Outlook Client?” section).
  2. Exchange server required
  3. Folders under Inbox required
  4. Folder mapping set up: As per “How to Setup?” section above.

Tips & Tricks

  1. You can have multiple folders regarding the same CRM record
  2. Create a folder for long-lasting record types: To set regarding directly against them when moving the e-mail to the folder (e.g.: Cases, Opportunities, etc.).
  3. SDK support to manage the rules: In cause automations are required to auto configure rules in CRM.
  4. Use sub folder tricks for personal emails: Sub folders are not part of the rule for parent folders.
  5. If regarding not specified, you can set it later: You can always go to CRM and set it.
  6. Use it on your phone, OWA, Outlook, etc.
  7. Learn more on how to set up Exchange rules: They can be leveraged to automate most of the tracking.
  8. If you remove the rule, all emails in the folder will not be impacted: They have already moved /where already tracked in CRM.
  9. In CRM, the folder list in Rule UI is updated periodically: When the mailbox is processed by server-side sync.
  10. Clean up mappings when no longer needed: The max is 25 rules per Mailbox / User.

Should I still use CRM Outlook Client?

Yes, as per table below, CRM Outlook Client still has a lot of functionality/value that is not going to be replaced any time soon.

Feature

Server Side Sync

(w/ Folder Tracking)

CRM Outlook Client

Track E-mails to CRM

ü

ü

Track other records to CRM

(e.g.: contacts; appointments; tasks)

û

ü

Send records to Outlook

(e.g.: appointments, contacts, and tasks)

ü

ü

Open CRM Records

(e.g.: open related case record from an e-mail)

û

ü

Maintain Data Offline

û

ü

With the server-side-sync, and the new folder tracking functionality, CRM is allowing for another utilization scenario, where the user’s e-mail client is agnostic to MSCRM and thus covering a more complete set of endpoints that can now be used to interact with MSCRM.

Note: Do note set CRM Outlook Client and server-side-sync simultaneously for the same user. Microsoft does not recommend it (source), and chances are a lot of issues may occur.

Microsoft has a nice video on this in Folder Level Tracking in CRM Online 2015 Update 1.

Stay tuned, more posts to come on 2015’s Update 1 and its new functionalities.

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