Dynamics 365 App for OutlookMicrosoft Dynamics 365 now has two different versions of Outlook integration available:

  • Dynamics 365 for Outlook: This is the older version of Dynamics and Outlook integration. I’m going to call this the “Outlook Client” in this blog.
  • Dynamics 365 App for Outlook: This is the newer version. I’m going to call this the “Outlook App” in this blog.

Yes, those names are confusing. But choosing which one to use, and the right time to make the change, can be even trickier. Read on to understand the options and make a good decision about the best timing for your organization.

Dynamics 365 for Outlook and Dynamics 365 App for Outlook – What’s the Difference?

Dynamics 365 App for Outlook Screenshot

There are some important differences between the two versions of Outlook integration for Dynamics 365.  If you’d like to do a deep dive, you can check out this Microsoft TechNet blog. Here are the some of the important new – and lost – features as they relate to this article:

New in the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

  • Allows users to access integration from their desktop, mobile device or Outlook for web. This is huge! The ability to track email and appointments, and navigate directly to CRM records wherever you’re using Outlook is a very big step forward for users who are on the road a lot.
  • Allows users to quickly view leads, contacts, accounts and recent activities in CRM (from email and appointments) without having to track the email or appointment. This is a great time saving feature – once you see it, you will really like it. 
  • Allows users to quickly create follow-up activities from within Outlook (another very good feature that is hard to fully appreciate until you see it). 

Gone in the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook

  • Does not allow users to take their CRM data offline. In today’s connected world (and with offline options from Resco and Dynamics Mobile) this is not terribly important.
  • Does not integrate with Outlook tasks.  If you have users that are using tasks in Outlook to manage their day, then this will be show stopper!
  • The integration of contacts is somewhat more clunky in the new app. If you like using a single, very responsive list of contacts in Outlook, this will be confusing and frustrating.

Dynamics and Outlook: Which Version is Right for Me?

If it were not for the lack of integration of tasks, I would wholeheartedly recommend going to the Outlook App. If your users don’t use tasks in Outlook, or if you feel that you can migrate them to using the CRM activity list for all of their task management, then you are ready for the Outlook App.

But for me, and thousands of users who use Outlook as their task management solution, this is not an acceptable option. Nobody wants to slow their ability to prioritize and manage their day because they have to manage their list of tasks in multiple places. In that case, you’ll want to stick with the older Outlook Client.

Do I Have to Upgrade to the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook?

The short answer is: Yes.

The longer answer is: Not Yet. In August, 2017, Microsoft announced the deprecation schedule for the Outlook Client.  Here’s what this means for you:

  • Microsoft is no longer making any updates to the old Outlook Client.
  • But you can continue to use it until you upgrade to version 10.x of Dynamics 365 (which will probably be named something like Dynamics 365 2018 … or 2019).  The version that was most recently released is version 9.x – and most organizations have not yet upgraded to that and are still on something like 8.x.  Version 10.x probably won’t be out until Fall of 2018 at the earliest – and the forced upgrade probably won’t happen until Spring of 2019. So you are probably safe to keep using Dynamics 365 for Outlook (with better task integration) until Spring, 2019.

Hopefully Microsoft will roll the new task management features into the Outlook App well before that time!

Why Did Microsoft Leave Task Management Out of the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook?

I can’t say for sure. But Microsoft is upgrading a lot of their task management tools (including the acquisition of Wunderlist, a new tool called ToDo, and another new tool called Planner). So the Dynamics team might have had to get in line to setup integration to work with this new suite of task management tools. Hopefully we will see even better task management than Outlook – and integrated with Dynamics 365 – later in 2018!

 

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