My last article discussed the differences between the classic Sage CRM Outlook Integration and Exchange Integration. This is a follow-up article, since synching applications is such a deal breaker these days. Over my years of consulting, I have come across numerous scenarios where the client needs to have full Outlook synchronization, including the need to file e-mails from Outlook into CRM under a specific record. Here are some typical reasons why this need has arisen:
- Some or all of the users are using Macs. The CRM Outlook Integration is only compatible with Windows machines.
- The IT department does not want any plugins installed on users’ Outlook clients. This is completely understandable given security levels required by organizations in today’s world (although I have never heard of the Outlook Plugin being a security risk).
- Some users have multiple computers and devices. Employees of some companies have a desktop, a laptop for the road, a tablet, and a phone. While the Outlook Plugin can only be installed on a desktop Outlook client, this poses an even greater problem—what happens when you have the Outlook Plugin on your desktop, but then go on the road with a tablet? How do you file e-mails?
There are a combination of features in CRM that need to be configured so that you can get around having to install a plugin on each users’ computer while still getting full integration—meaning a calendar synch and the ability to file e-mails to CRM. Here’s what needs to be done:
- Turn on and configure Exchange Synchronization. This will synch your appointments, tasks, contacts, and deletions with Outlook. This is considered the “calendar synch.”
- Turn on and configure Advanced E-mail Manager (AEM). This will file e-mails forwarded from you into CRM. For example, let’s say you received an e-mail from John Doe and want to have it filed under his account record in CRM (your IT department will have to create a reserved mailbox for CRM to monitor—i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org). CRM will create a communication record or create a new case record depending on your configuration settings in the administration area for AEM.
Once these two features are configured—Exchange Synchronization and Advanced E-mail Manager, you are no longer tied down to the installation of the Outlook Plugin on client machines—at all. You have just bypassed the Mac compatibility issue, your IT department’s policies, and the multiple-device problem. More upfront work is required to get these two features setup, but they are easier to troubleshoot over the long haul and don’t require reinstallation of anything if any of your users get a new computer or device.
As well, the Advanced E-mail Manager even can be customized to file e-mails into already-created opportunities, cases, or even quotes or orders. We at Azamba make customizations like these for our customers all the time depending on their needs. You can even make the filing of the e-mail conditional. For example, if you wanted some general correspondence to be filed under a Person record in CRM, you could just forward the e-mail as is. However, if you wanted an e-mail from that same customer to be filed under a quote, we can customize the AEM so that you can put the quote number into the subject line and the AEM will automatically file it under that specific quote once you forward the e-mail to the reserved address. And in case you were wondering, it will file any attachments you send along with that e-mail, too!