Recently, there has been a lot of emphasis around the Dynamics 365 July 2017 or v9.0 as its also known as; Microsoft released the Unified User Interface (or UUI) for Dynamics 365 with this released for new Office 365 tenants. This built upon the design concepts of the MOCA client with the philosophy:
Code once, deploy everywhere.
I have previously written an article regarding the UUI when V9.0 was first announced to the world here:
Fast forward until now – you can finally provision trials with Dynamics 365 V 9.0. A few of my colleagues and I have been putting a lot of effort into testing the new UUI in earnest to try and help with our customers come up with a clear upgrade strategy to upgrade to the next version of Dynamics 365.
Our testing for the UUI has been broken down the testing into the following topics:
- App for Outlook
- Tablet/Phone Mobile Client
- Mobile Web Client (not the “web refresh”)
Spreading the Knowledge
My colleague, Chris Huntingford had already written an brilliant introductory blog (link above or here) into our initial findings of the Web UUI, which lists a few “Awesome” features and a few of the issues we have encountered so far which we have shared for all to read.
This article received some really good feedback from the Dynamics Community which highlighted some cool items that we needed to consider or had missed, so thank you!
The “App for Outlook” – a Consultants Story.
So moving on to business – I have been testing out the new App for Outlook on my trial demo environment with two main objectives:
- How do we install the preview version of the App for Outlook?
- What can we do with the App for Outlook?
This blog will serve as an introduction and will aim to help you understand how the App for Outlook can be deployed and installed (point 1) and a high level overview of what it can and cannot do functionally; my next blog will cover point 2 in more detail.
Firstly, you may be asking yourself – “why are we talking about this when there is the Outlook Client”?
I would like STOP you right there – this article is in reference to the new cloud based App for Outlook addin which was first released with Dynamics 2016; the Outlook Client (installed to the Users machine) has been deprecated (RIP) and will be removed from support at some point in the future.
As part of Microsoft UUI release with Microsoft Dynamics 365 July Release (V9.0) – the App for Outlook is only released in preview; which means:
- Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0 or later only.
- Not supported – Microsoft will not provide full product support until General Availability (GA)
- Not complete product/functionality
Full details can be found here.
So whilst this is great for the Partner to get their hands dirty and do some testing for Microsoft – for new customers, they would be stuck in a scenario where the recommended email synchronisation method is not actually officially supported by Microsoft yet. They may need to go back to the Outlook Client as an interim solution until support is offered/general availability.
Ok – what do I need to get the App for Outlook running for my Users?
Good question – there are several pre-requisites to get the App for Outlook running, I will provide the basics with the necessary links for these as separately, these can be quite a detailed process to complete.
- Switch to server side synchronisation (SSS) for all Email and Activities in your V9.0 instance – reference here.
- Have a supported version of Exchange (Exchange 2013, 2016 or Exchange Online).
- Have a supported version of Outlook (through Office) (2013/2016/Outlook for iOS/Android/Mac or Outlook on the Web OWA).
- Configure the Users mailboxes for SSS.
- Enable the preview in your environment.
How can I access App for Outlook?
Previously, with the Outlook client you were restricted to the following:
- Supported versions of Outlook/Exchange (still the case with the App for Outlook).
- Installation of the Outlook client on each device you wanted to use (Windows only)
- One synchronising client if accessing with multiple devices.
For the App for Outlook, you can use a single installation (addin to your Exchange Mailbox completed at the server level) across a multitude of devices and platforms where you access your mailbox through an supported Outlook App (i.e. Outlook for iOS). You can use the App for Outlook on the following devices:
- Outlook on the Web
- Outlook for Desktop
- iOS mobile
- Android Mobile
- Windows Mobile
What can I do with the App?
There are some major functionality differences between the App for Outlook and the Outlook Client (taken from here):
|Feature||Dynamics 365 App for Outlook||Dynamics 365 for Outlook|
|Track and set regarding for email||Yes||Yes|
|Track and set regarding for appointments||Yes||Yes|
|Track and set regarding for contacts||Yes||Yes|
|Track and set regarding for tasks||No||Yes|
|One click set regarding||Yes||No|
|Shows recipients’ summary||Yes||No|
|Shows the regarding record summary in the email/appointment||Yes||No|
|Works with Outlook on the web||Yes||No|
|Works with Outlook desktop||Yes||Yes|
|Works with Outlook for the Mac||Yes||No|
|Works with phones||Yes||No|
|Open and create Microsoft Dynamics 365 record directly||Yes||Yes|
|Apply custom forms and business logic||Yes||Yes|
|Apply email templates||Yes||Yes|
|Apply sales literature||Yes||Yes|
|Apply knowledge articles||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to monitor emails after sending||Yes||No|
|Sort, filter, format, group, and categorize views||No||Yes|
|Create Word mail-merge documents||No||Yes|
A lot of people will focus on the negatives – so neither Task synchronisation or Offline ability will be available (with this release) of the App for Outlook.
However – Tasks would synchronise via server side synchronisation as they normally would – you just will not be able to set the regarding or access the CRM fields in Outlook for Tasks.
Whilst you will not have the ability to work offline, you now can with the mobile apps!. The new functionality (in my opinion) far outweighs the functionality missing with the ability to work on the move with your mobile device – though however, this does depend on which device you are using as shown below:
Understanding the above items is crucial when deciding whether the App for Outlook is a good fit for your customers/organisation as it will help identify whether your current Dynamic/Exchange deployment are supported* moving forwards.
As I had previously stated – my next blog will talk about the functionality of the App for Outlook – what’s cool and what’s not so cool!
The below link highlights some already known issues of the App for Outlook – and will be kept up to date by Microsoft.
You can find the second part to this article here.
Thanks for reading – MW.
*when Microsoft fully release this for GA