Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Warning message when multiple Outlook clients are set to synchronize with CRM

A client of ours recently began deploying the CRM Outlook client to its users and they ran across a new scenario for them. If a user has the Outlook client installed on more than one computer, they will see this message when Outlook opens:

"You already have Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook installed on another computer. Only one client computer per user can run the automated process that does bulk updates of outlook items with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data. This client should be the computer that is most often online (such as a desktop computer) or the users primary computer. To change the Synchronizing client, on the CRM Menu, click options, and click the synchronizing tab."

After reading this message, you might find yourself asking what's the difference between being a primary and secondary client? Does that affect when or how CRM data is synchronized to the client? What about Outlook items being synchronized back to CRM?

Luckily for us (and our client), the MS CRM E2 team's "Nuts and Bolts" series covered this exact topic! The full white paper is chock full of great information about the Outlook synchronization process, but for anyone else who's been curious about this message, here's a summary of the differences beween the primary and any secondary clients: 

  1. Being the primary synchronization client only affects Outlook data. All CRM data is synced the same way no matter if the client is the primary or a secondary.
  2. Contacts, Tasks, and Appointments sync slightly differently between primary and secondary clients. When the primary client tracks, updates, or deletes one of these Outlook objects, they will immediately be synced back to CRM. When a secondary client does, the changes will not be synced back to CRM until the primary client performs its next sync.
  3. Emails and the tracking of emails are handled the same for both primary and secondary client.

Hope this helps!

Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Document Assembly (just one flavor)

Let me first start by saying – I am extremely fortunate to be working with such a talented set of consultants!  I am always amazed by how they take an idea, make it a reality and execute with such precision.  The latest innovation, coming from Team Sonoma, is our Document Assembly Add-In for Microsoft Word.  This is a great productivity tool integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Word!  Once again, this demonstrates the XRM strengths of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Background: We all have lots of corporate templates we use to build out documents that are either internal or external facing.  Often times, we are pulling data from other sources and then copying and pasting that data into our document template.  In addition, we update content in our document but then we manually update the applicable data into that other application.  Redundant data entry can cause errors not to mention always looking for where the data resides.  In the consulting world we are concerned with consistency, documentation and efficiency.  These same concerns are applied across industries – it’s really an Information Worker need.

Solution: Microsoft Dynamics CRM (#MSDYNCRM for you Twitter geeks like me) and Microsoft Word.

Here’s a quick glimpse of what we built:

SelectTemplate

We have created a Project Entity in CRM that holds a lot of relevant project information (like feature requests).  We also need to build out functional specifications for all the projects we execute.  When we open the Functional Specifications template we are prompted to choose the relevant project within CRM.

ChooseProject

Once I choose my project and click “Load Project Data” my document template is now connected to CRM and the Project/Feature entities.  The document is populated with the data from CRM and I can now make edits within Microsoft Word.

LoadedDocument

If I make changes to the document in Word I can publish my changes back to CRM.  This is the big time saver!  I don’t have to go back to CRM, make my changes, go back to Word and pull those changes back in.  We created a 2-way integration between CRM and Word so the data flows in both directions!  This is what the feature data looks like in CRM:

FeatureViewCRM

These customizations are specific to our Functional Specifications document and how we manage projects within CRM.  However, the framework for integration between Word and CRM is very extensible.  We just hooked up Status Reports, Project Charter and Functional Specifications.  We are going to launch SOW’s and Master Services Agreements next.  Don’t worry - you can perform this same integration with CRM Online so if the Cloud is your preference we’ve got you covered!

Remember – this is NOT a product – we don’t sell this.  If you are interested, we can help you implement something similar.  Otherwise, use this as innovative thinking to extend CRM for your own deployment.

Cheers!