In June 2017 Microsoft announced that the Outlook add-in for Dynamics 365 would be deprecated and would be replaced by the Dynamics 365 app for Outlook. This meant that the Outlook add-in would be supported in its current state but also would be removed from Dynamics 365 version 10 (next major release).
Recently Microsoft announced that because of overwhelming feedback from customers and partners the Outlook add-in deprecation would be reversed. Largely this was due to functionality gaps in the new Outlook app. Microsoft will continue to release the Outlook add-in and customers upgrading to newer versions of Dynamics 365 will have the same Outlook integration experience they are used to with the add-in. The add-in will continue to be fully supported in future versions of Dynamics 365 and bugs will be fixed. Additionally, Microsoft said they would be making much-needed improvements to the performance and reliability of the add-in.
The Outlook add-in was in our opinion one of the most problematic areas of the Dynamics CRM solution. It would randomly stop working, need un-installed/re-installed, and was generally unstable. It also upon installing degraded the performance of the users PC, sometimes to the point that it had to be uninstalled. Microsoft developed the new Outlook app that uses more current design and places no code on the user's device, however, there were a number of key pieces of functionality left out of the new app. See below for a few key gaps between the two solutions:
The newer Outlook app does not offer:
- Track and Set Regarding for Tasks
- Work Offline
- Sort, Filter, Format and Group Views
- Control Field Level Sync.
This is however balanced with the enhanced functionality of the Outlook App:
- Ease of installation (pushed from Office 365 admin)
- One-click Set Regarding
- Shows D365 summary alongside the email
- Works with Outlook Web
- Works on mobile devices
If Microsoft simply creates parity on the above Outlook app functionality gaps the add-in can be deprecated. I personally switched to the Outlook app when it was released and never looked back, however, this is much more difficult if users rely on the functionality only offered in the add-in.
I commend Microsoft for listening to customers and partners! Until performance and stability enhancements are made I recommend deploying the Outlook app as those that use the add-in will tell you it is one of the largest sources of problems and user complaints.
Stay tuned, we will be watching this topic and posting info as it becomes available. If you would like to discuss your unique situation please contact us anytime.
About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. David is President & CEO of Strava Technology Group, a firm that is focused on helping businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM and Dynamics 365. To reach David connect with him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Strava Technology Group visit www.stravatechgroup.com