With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, there’s been a long love/hate story with regards to email integration. We’ve had CRM for Outlook, the Email Router, and since CRM 2013 Server-Side Synchronization. Each works, each has it’s own issue, and depending on the specific business case, one might make more sense over the others.

Slowly, the Email Router will get phased out, and replaced with Server-Side Synchronization. The Email Router, while functional and great for it’s time, had certain things going against it. It’s a separate component that needs to be deployed separately, can fail separately, and requires additional administration effort.

The better solution, especially now with Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1, is the enhanced Server-Side Synchronization. It is baked in, part of the default Dynamics CRM Administration. It does not require a separate installed component. From and administration stand point, that’s a relief. Also, this integration works at the server level, making it better performing than using CRM for Outlook.

But the icing on the cake is the tracked Exchange folders. This allows users of the system to configure specific tracked folders, and synchronize them directly with Dynamics CRM. This was the missing part from the previous version of Server-Side Synchronization, and now it all makes sense.

In addition, trough the integration with Exchange, now a user can configure Exchange Inbox rules that automatically move specific email to a tracked folder. Et voila, full automation. But wait, there’s more… You can also create un-track folders within a tracked folder.

And the beauty of it all, you can work with tracked folder from a variety of applications, including CRM for Outlook, Exchange Online (for now Update 1 is only available for Dynamics CRM Online), OWA, virtually any mobile application that supports Exchange. Talk about power.

But, with great power comes great responsibility. To maximize performance, when you no longer need a tracked folder, it’s a good idea to do some clean-up and un-track it. When doing so, the user must be aware of how the process to un-track, move or delete a folder functions, otherwise you might end-up with unexpected results or missing data.

To get more details on these features, see the following article:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/track-outlook-email-by-moving-it-to-a-tracked-exchange-folder.aspx

To test the new features, open up a 30 days trial of Dynamics CRM Online, integrate it with a trial for O365, and configure Server-Side Synchronization.

It’s a beautiful thing :)

Enjoy!

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