Comparing Dynamics 365 Outlook App to Dynamics 365 Outlook Client

By Brian Dewulf, CRM Practice Director

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM (now D365) Outlook client has long been a staple of most CRM implementations.  The client provides the ability to access CRM directly from Outlook. It also allows for synchronization of data between Outlook and CRM.  The Outlook client does have some drawbacks.  It requires the full version of Microsoft Outlook. It is an application which must be installed on every client computer.  It tends to get disconnected from CRM, often leading to the need for technical support calls.  It also only works when Outlook is open.  This becomes an issue when you have workflows that are sending emails on behalf of a user.  If that user is on vacation, and their PC is shut down, those workflow emails won’t be sent until the user logs back into Outlook.

To overcome these issues, Microsoft released the Outlook app.  The app has been around for a few years now, but some recent enhancements have finally made it a valid replacement for the Outlook client.  Here are some of the main reasons that I recommend using the Outlook app instead of the Outlook client.

  1. The Outlook app supports Outlook (full client), Outlook Web Access (OWA) and Outlook mobile.  The Outlook client only works with the full Outlook client.
  2. The Outlook app is pushed out to the client directly from within D365.  There is no need to manually touch every client computer.  Pushing the client to a user once will provide the Outlook app functionality to all supported platforms that the user may access.
  3. The app does not require the user to be logged into Outlook to work.  Synchronization of Outlook data happens server-side. No need to worry about those workflow emails not getting delivered.
  4. The Outlook app provides an easy method to create appointments, phone calls, and tasks that are associated with D365 records.
  5. When an Outlook item is tracked to D365, the contact card for the D365 record is displayed, providing basic information about that record.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the app.  First, server-side synchronization with Exchange is required.  If your environment does not support server-side synchronization you will not be able to use the app.  Second, the app does not provide an interface to navigate D365.  You would need to access CRM using a browser or one of the mobile apps.  Below are some screen shots of the app and how it is configured in D365. We also have a video walkthrough of the app on our YouTube channel.

Clicking the D365 icon, highlighted in yellow, will open the Dynamics 365 pane.  Clicking the plus sign icon, also in yellow, in the regarding box provides the ability to create a new task, appointment, or phone call for that D365 record.

The screenshot below displays the results of clicking the create phone call option.

This screenshot shows an appointment:

In D365, click on Settings, Dynamics 365 App for Outlook to manage the app.  Users who have been configured with server-side synch will show up in the list of available users.

Click here to view a walkthrough of the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook.

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