Tip #1117: Category/delegate tracking in Dynamics 365

If you have been a long-time reader of CRM Tip of the Day, you know that we have had a lot to say about delegate tracking, or the lack thereof, in Dynamics 365 with server-side synchronization. That’s why we are very excited about the announcement earlier this month of the new Outlook category based tracking in update 8.2.2.1458. With this update, we now have a viable delegate tracking option for emails and appointments, as well as an answer to some long-missing scenarios for activity tracking.

How do I set it up

Read the official documentation. It’s pretty easy:

  1.  Enable the OrgDbOrgSetting TrackCategorizedItems.
  2. Within 15 minutes, all users will see a new category in Outlook, “Tracked to Dynamics 365”
  3. Users set the category on emails or appointments that they wish to track, and these items will be tracked in Dynamics.

Why is this important?

In industries like financial services, professional services, or the higher up the org chart you go in enterprise companies, you will find people whose inbox and calendars are managed by professional assistants. If these people want their activities tracked to Dynamics 365, they have been out of luck without using some complicated workarounds (or sticking with client-side synchronization, which is not optimal, because the delegate activities don’t track if the owner of the calendar isn’t running Outlook and the Outlook client at the time the activity is tracked and because client-side synchronization is gone in version 9 of Dynamics 365).

A secondary reason that this matters is because the tracking story has been very limited outside of the world of Outlook. Sure, that world has grown exponentially bigger with the introduction of the Outlook App for OWA and Outlook mobile, but if you use a different email client than Outlook, the only option to track emails is folder based tracking (and no option for appointments). With category tracking, users of other email applications can track emails and appointments, as long as their app supports exchange categories (sorry IOS Mail).

A surprise benefit of this change is now tracked items (regardless of how they were tracked) will now have the category set to “Tracked To Dynamics 365” if this option is enabled. This will make it easy to visually identify the tracked items.

Gotchas

  • 8.2 only. V9 update to enable category based tracking is in the works.
  • Category based tracking does not “set regarding” item on the activity. Activities will be linked to the recipient/activity parties linked to the activities, but if you want to set regarding a specific record, the recommendation is to use another tracking mechanism, like the Outlook app or folder-based tracking.
  • The public release is for D365 Online. If you are on D365 8.X on premises and need this update, open a support ticket with Microsoft.

8 thoughts on “Tip #1117: Category/delegate tracking in Dynamics 365

  1. […] Tip 1117-Category/delegate tracking Developer Masterclass D365UG Virtual Summer Camp call for […]

  2. CreatedByQuestion says:

    Is there a way to have the CreatedBy field populated with the creating user rather than System, when using this method to track Outlook objects?

  3. Recently Implemented TrackCategorizedItems says:

    When tracking Outlook items to D365 using the category, is it possible to have the CreatedBy field populated with the creating user rather than SYSTEM?

    • Joel Lindstrom says:

      I’ve seen tracked activities created by system when using server side sync without category tracking. There is no setting to change this.
      My recommendation is base your activity metrics on owner not created by. Owner should be set to the person creating the activity.

  4. Hi,

    I followed the instructions in your post and linked websites, but the category isn’t appearing on my Outlook Client.
    Any known issues with this functionality?

    Thanks and BR
    Mario

  5. Abram Cardoza says:

    Joel, I am testing this now in our DEV environment and I am seeing a peculiar (and awful) behavior. After categorizing, once the meeting (I am testing with calendar appointments) is synced and created in Dynamics, the appointment in my Outlook calendar is moved to the Delted Items (essentially, it’s getting deleted). This is bad. Very, very bad. Have you seen this? One caveat, this is only for future appointments.

    • Joel Lindstrom says:

      Look at the tracked appointment in CRM. Look at the meeting attendees–what does the meeting attendee for the person from whose calendar it was deleted linked to–is it linked to a contact or a user? This sounds like what used to happen with the Outlook client when you had the same email address on Contacts and Users–when an appointment would get tracked, if the email address was on both contacts and user records, it would track to one–if it picked the contact, it would remove it from the user’s calendar. This was fixed in Outlook client, but I wonder if it could be a regression for this behavior for this new tracking option.

      • Abram Cardoza says:

        These are all user records. And in this case, I am testing with my mailbox and there is both a user record and contact record for me. BUT, the contact record does not have an email address associated to it.

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