Meet The New Microsoft Dynamics 365 App For Outlook


Last year, Microsoft released a preview version of its new Dynamics App for Outlook which enables Outlook emails to be tracked in Dynamics 365 across virtually any device. 

As well as working with the Outlook desktop client this now provides a solution to track emails using Outlook Web Access for mobiles and web browsers.

The app has now been fully released as part of the December 2016 update for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online and on-premise) and in this post we'll take a look at the latest edition.

This is not a technical post so if you need assistance with the configuration of this feature please get in touch.

Creating Outlook Emails

In a new email window on the desktop app for Outlook, click the Dynamics 365 button in the Outlook toolbar once the app has been configure to open up the panel.

Or, using OWA click the Dynamics 365 text or icon to bring up the same panel.

As soon as an email address is entered, Dynamics 365 automatically looks for matching records for all the message recipients. 

In this instance a matching contact and associated account has been found. To track the email on these records click the link chain icon as required.

Another option is to click the 'Track' button at the top to set 'Track Regarding' and associate the email with other Dynamics 365 records.

 

The pane features a series of options for adding Dynamics 365 content to emails:

Templates

This lists contextual Microsoft Dynamics templates which are available for insertion into the email. 

In this example a contact record is used so the template lists contact and global templates.

Select a template and this content will be inserted directly into the body of the Outlook message enabling revisions and addition text to be easily added. That makes it a smart improvement compared to composing emails with templates in the Dynamics email editor!

 

Sales Literature

If you've uploaded Word documents, PDF files or other sales literature to Microsoft Dynamics these items can be attached to emails using the pane. Simply click to find the relevant item and add the resource to the email.


Articles

Microsoft Dynamics knowledge capabilities enable records to be shared that contain answers to FAQ's, best practice, recommendations and provide other answers which service agents can easily share with customers. 

These resources can be inserted into Outlook emails using the Dynamics 365 app by selecting the Articles option.

Browse to the relevant article and click 'add to email' to insert this content into the email.

Incidentally, to return to the main email recipient overview from the templates, sales literature or articles display, expand the details at the foot of the Dynamics 365 pane:

 

Follow (preview feature)

Select this option before the email is sent to monitor how recipients engage with the message. 

This includes how many times an email is opened, or when an attachment is opened and the number of times a link is clicked.

This feature forms part of Microsoft's new Relationship Insights solution, currently in preview, that embeds a series of AI capabilities within Dynamics 365.

Once the email is sent with follow enabled, the activities pane in Dynamics 365 shows more detail about these interactions.


This will also highlight emails which have not yet been tracked in CRM:  


With the preview feature enabled and having 'followed' an email, upon opening the email record in Dynamics a timeline of recipient actions is shown including which links have been clicked:


Using the Outlook app on a mobile phone with the relationship assistant feature enabled (another preview feature that forms part of Relationship Insights) the latest email insights are shown:

Track Received Emails in Dynamics 365

To track a received Outlook message in Dynamics 365 click the link in email to bring up the Dynamics 365 pane using Outlook Web Access in a browser or the mobile app. 

Or, using the the desktop client, click the Dynamics 365 button in the toolbar to open the Dynamics pane.


In this example, three parties are associated with the email, the sender and two recipient addresses. Dynamics has automatically matched the sender with a contact record using the email address. 

This displays the record image and pulls through summary record information, in this case the individual's job title.

At this stage the email isn't yet tracked in Dynamics. To complete this, the sender is selected as highlighted, shown by a blue line under the name, and click the link chain icon to track the message against the matching contact record.

If the message should be tracked against an additional record, click the Track button to set regarding.


Selecting the Track button brings up the 'Track regarding' dialog. This can be used to search for the relevant Dynamics records to save this email to.

As shown below, this brings up recently used Dynamics records such as opportunities, cases, contacts and accounts. Also, frequently used records can be pinned to further simplify the tracking process.


Creating Dynamics 365 Records

The previous two screenshots have featured + icons. These can be used to create new Dynamics records within Outlook. 

Again, this can done using Outlook on a mobile device, web browser or desktop client.

From the main recipients / sender view the 'new' options include scheduling an Appointment or a Phone Call in Dynamics 365. This also includes scheduling a Task in Dynamics directly from the email as the screenshot shows:

 

This enables a comparable level of detail to be entered on these activities compared to saving items through the regular Dynamics 365 browser interface.

From the Track Regarding screen the new icon enables Outlook users to create Cases, Opportunities, Contacts, Accounts and Project Tasks.

Creating new records in Outlook applies the same Dynamics field rules including mandatory settings and pick-list options.

In instances where emails are received from individuals where a record does not already exist in Dynamics these can be added by selecting the relevant item:


Once an email has been tracked the Outlook panel displays the associated detail and offers numerous options to open these records in Dynamics 365 and create follow up actions.


This display will also show recently completed and upcoming activities. 

Also, if the preview 'Follow Email' feature has been enabled these statistics will be shown on sent emails:


To adjust the tracked settings on an email click the change button to either untrack the message, or set regarding another Dynamics 365 record:

So many great features and a superb solution for tracking emails using in Outlook Web Access!

The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is a Microsoft Office add-in released in December 2016. 

You may also be familiar with Dynamics 365 for Outlook, which provides complete Dynamics 365 capabilities (including offline capabilities) from Outlook. Please note that tracking activities is not supported when Dynamics 365 App for Outlook and Dynamics 365 for Outlook are used together by the same user. Users must choose one or the other.

The app is available for organizations that synchronize mailboxes with server-side synchronization and where the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is set as a security privilege.

Read the official Microsoft user guide to learn more about this app.