Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs. Salesforce.com Comparison – Outlook Integration Part 2

This is the second blog in a two part series comparing Salesforce.com integration and Dynamics CRM integration with Microsoft Outlook (first post can be found here). Both configurations of CRM software provide an Outlook integration for their clients, but the specific features, while at first glance seem pretty similar, have very different functions and approaches. For this blog we are going to explore viewing, editing, and creating CRM records from within the Outlook client. The business purpose for tracking e-mails or wanting your appointments to sync is pretty obvious and both systems handle these tasks (you want your e-mails to be attached to relevant records and you want your CRM data to match your Outlook data), but there are several reasons for needing to view and create records in your CRM system right from your Outlook client that someone who doesn’t have this integration feature might not be aware of.

Viewing, Editing and Creating Records: why is this so important?

First of all, you start you day in Outlook, so if you could simply use it to check on your daily diet of records (including dashboards) then the morning would mean 1 cup of coffee and 1 login. Also creating and editing records from outlook just makes sense. I need to call a client later this week =  create phone call task, I need to change the primary contact for an account = edit account record, I need to escalate an email to an opportunity  = create opportunity from e-mail … You get the picture.

Salesforce.com outlook integration comes with two ribbon buttons we discussed in my earlier blog. One is “add emails”, the other “Create Cases”.

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The “Create Cases” button allows the user to Create a case record in the CRM system from an e-mail which can be very helpful. The user must highlight the e-mail, click the button, select the appropriate routing assignment (multiple routings can be defined in Salesforce) and the case will be created. The case is then automatically linked to a contact record and the respective contact’s Account if the e-mail address matches. Pretty simple huh? Well actually, the “Add e-mail” button and the “Create Case” button are separate privileges and therefore require separate installations.

Just follow these simple steps from https://help.salesforce.com and you will be on your way with on Demand E-mail to Case creation.

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But what about creating other records? Well, unfortunately there is no set of lengthy directions for that. If you want to view records in Salesforce from your outlook client then a 3rd party must be leveraged and this, of course, is not free. The current price for “LinkPoint 360 salesforce and Outlook
integration” is $60.00 per year per user, and yes, an additional installation is required.

So what Dynamics CRM records can you view, edit, or create from your outlook client? Well, not to brag, but all of them. Outlook is a Microsoft product and so is Dynamics CRM which means that the two systems integrate with each other seamlessly in every sense of the word. They speak the same language and the outcome means that the end user benefits from a truly native integration.

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The CRM section of the ribbon contains buttons that can be leveraged to view, edit, or create a Dynamics CRM records. The “Convert To” drop down contains options to convert an e-mail to an opportunity, lead, or case as a shortcut.

5 blogBut the best part is the actual CRM client view from within your outlook. You can navigate to your integrated CRM environment on the left hand side of the Outlook client view just below your regular Outlook Folders.

Here you can view, edit, or create any record you want as well as all the other useful options such as exporting data to excel, running a report, or leveraging the advanced find. You can do the same functions as if you are in CRM because you actually are.

This integration allows you leverage Outlook tools while including CRM data. When you view an entity, you can also use and custom views you may have for that entity. For example, when I view expense forms (from my Outlook client) I have the default view of “My Active Expense Forms displayed and of course I can create a new one or edit this one if I choose. You can also leverage your views or dashboards to be the first thing you see when you open Outlook.

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So lets recap:

Dynamics CRM OOTB outlook integration: Track, View, Edit, Create, and Search for Records

Salesforce.com OOTB outlook integration: Track E-mails

Additional configuration for creating a case

$60.00 per user per year for additional functionality through a 3rd party

The two CRM systems, Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, address the issue of integrating with Outlook, but it seems pretty clear that only Dynamics CRM can provide out of the box, seamless, and efficient integration. Dynamics truly provides a native Outlook integration and the full set of functionality and features between Outlook and Dynamics shows this effort.