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 188.8.131.528. 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:
- Enable the OrgDbOrgSetting TrackCategorizedItems.
- Within 15 minutes, all users will see a new category in Outlook, “Tracked to Dynamics 365”
- 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.
- 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.