CRM.me Exchange Cloud Integration

I love CRM.me and while I’m an advocate of social messaging I, like many people, still find I’m dependent on the advanced features and flexibility that an Exchange email system provides. Now thankfully, we can have the best of both worlds synchronizing email, contacts, calendars and tasks between CRM.me and our Microsoft Exchange mailboxes.

The CRM.me Exchange integration provides great flexibility, you can control the way users synchronize their data in one place using Sync Service Templates or give your users the control set their own sync preferences. 

Best of all its all configured right in CRM.me, no downloads, no client side installations just 100% cloud based ready to go integration.  So now you can leverage the benefits of 24 hour synchronization directly between CRM.me and your Exchange mail account whether accessed through Outlook, Web mail, or Active Sync on your smart phone.

If you are a standard CRM.me user and want to get your Exchange integration up and syncing then feel free to read on, provided you have the necessary details you can get set up all by yourself without any help from your CRM administrator.

If you are the CRM administrator then we strongly recommend you take a look at our section on using Service templates so you can complete most of the configuration for your users and also access some extra options to better control how the sync will work.

Jump to the FAQ section of this article

Overview

Before we get started its important to we quickly cover the concept of service configurations.  Since we are syncing records between Exchange and CRM.me we must set both a CRM.me service configuration and the Exchange service configuration for our sync to work.

That means providing details of your CRM and Exchange accounts and setting your sync preferences, i.e. what you want to sync and how!  Lets begin by going through the process of enabling and setting the sync configuration for a user.  :)

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: For the synchronization to work both the CRM.me and Exchange services must be enabled for your user. If either service configuration is not enabled the sync will not function. 

 

Enabling the Integration for my user

In order to set up the sync you will need to configure both your CRM.me and Exchange sync services.  To do this go you your User Profile area, hover over the Configuration dropdown and select Exchange Integration Settings.

On the screen that loads you can choose to configure your Exchange Sync Options or your CRM.me Sync Options.  Remember you must configure and enable both services for the synchronization to work.  Lets begin by looking at the Exchange Sync Options.

You may find that many of the settings have been pre-configured for you by your administrator so all you need to do is confirm your login details.  For the purpose of this guide however we will go through all the options available here.

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TIP: Your CRM administrator can pre-configure your sync settings for you using Service templates making the set up super easy for everyone else.

STEP 1: Exchange Sync Service Options

On the Exchange Service Configuration you will need to provide details of your Exchange or Office365 server, your Exchange username and password.  You can also choose here what items you wish to sync from Exchange. 

Exchange Sync Options

The Exchange Sync options are where you enable the service and enter your connection details for your Exchange account:

  • Enabled: Defines whether the Exchange sync service is enabled or disabled for your user.
  • Server URL or EWS: Enter here the address at which your Exchange server can be found.  If you have an Office365 account simply enter https://outlook.office365.com
  • Email: Enter here the primary email address of the Exchange account you will sync.
  • Username: Enter your Exchange username, this is likely going to be your full email address.
  • Password: Enter here your the password for your Exchange account
  • Test Connection: To be sure that you have correctly entered your details we provide a test connection button that will verify if CRM.me is able to communicate with your Exchange server

 

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you change your Exchange password changes you must enter your new password here as well or CRM.me will not be able to authenticate to your account and complete the sync. 
To get around this issue we recommend your Administrator set up an Impersonation account to manage the integration.

Now lets decide what we want to sync.  We decide that by checking or unchecking the box next to each option and then choosing the additional sync options.  Unchecking the box means those records will not be synced.

Contact Sync Options

In the above example we have chosen to synchronize all contacts from Exchange to the crm.  Assuming we have also enabled Contact synchronization on our CRM.me service as well all contacts from our Primary Exchange address book will be synced to CRM.me.

Meeting Sync Options

In this example we are choosing to only sync Exchange Meetings that have been associated with the Outlook category CRM.me.  Only meetings with that category in Outlook will be synced and others will not.  This give us control over which Outlook events sync which is useful if you don't want your dentist appointment appearing in the CRM.

Task Sync Options

In this next example you see we have unchecked the Sync Tasks option.  Doing this means that no Task records will sync to or from Exchange.  The additional sync options for tasks will continue to show but are now obsolete.  

Email Archive Options

Finally we choose if we want to enable the ability to archive emails from Exchange to CRM.me.  If you enable that option you must provide at least one Outlook category in the Sync Emails associated with the following categories box.  You can specify multiple outlook categories here separated by commas.

In this example if I wanted to archive an email from Outlook I would tag it with the CRM.me category and that email would be synced to the crm the next time the sync cycle runs.

Once we are done making our selections lets Save our changes and head over to the CRM.me Sync Options and complete our set up.

STEP 2: CRM.me Sync Service Options

You will need to enable CRM.me service and add your CRM.me password to the configuration in order for the sync to work correctly.  Should you change your user password for the CRM remember to update it here as well so that the Exchange cloud sync can still connect to your account.

Here you can simply choose to enable the sync service to sync Contacts, Meetings and Tasks to and from your CRM.me account.

Once you have made your selections, click the Save button to save your changes.

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REMEMBER: The module must be enabled on both the Exchange and CRM.me services for the synchronization to work.  So if you plan to sync contacts you must enable the contact sync on both services, if it is disabled on either service nothing will sync in either direction. 

STEP 3: Lets Get Syncing

Great, so you have configured your Exchange and CRM.me sync services so what now?  Well you don't really have to do anything, the Exchange integration will take care of itself, synchronizing your records back and forth between the two systems each time the sync cycle runs.

How often does the sync happen?

The integration will sync records every 15 minutes, checking for new or updated records in either system and creating or updating records in the other.

Can I speed that up?

Yes, if you are in a hurry and need the sync to run sooner then you can.  At any time in CRM.me simply expand your user menu by clicking on your username at the top right of the screen and select Exchange Data Sync to request a sync of your data right now.

Doing this will add add your users sync to the queue immediately instead of waiting for that to occur automatically.  You may still need to wait a moment or two before your sync request is processed but you will have your records synced as soon as the the integration will allow.

 

Service Templates

Service templates give administrators the ability to set up up how the sync policy should work for all users and then push those service settings to all users in the crm.  This saves your users time and confusion if they are not comfortable setting up the sync services themselves.

The service templates also come with a few extra global options like the ability to set a service to function in Read only mode or use a impersonation account for the Exchange service.  Specifying an Exchange Impersonation account means you no longer need worry about changes to a users Email password breaking their sync.

You can find and configure the Service templates for the Exchange integration in the Administration > Plugins > Exchange Integration Settings area. 

Here you will be able to switch between the CRM.me Template and Exchange Template.  You can also view a list of users who have enabled the sync by clicking on the list users button in the action menu

CRM.me Service Template

Here we can set up the template for the CRM.me service and push that out to all users.  Lets look at each of the options on the template in detail below:

Administrator options:

  • Enable Sync for everyone: Choose to enable/disable the CRM.me sync service
  • Force user of the global policy set here to all users? Checking this box will force all users in the crm to use the sync preferences you set here and they will not be able to change those themselves. NOTE: this feature is currently not available
  • Force update of global policy set here to all users? Check this box before saving the template to push the service template settings to all users in the system.

Contact Sync Template:

  • Sync Contacts: Enable the contact sync for the CRM.me template
  • Read Only mode? Checking this sets the CRM.me service for Contacts in Read Only mode.  This means that contacts created, modified or deleted in Exchange will not sync to CRM.me.
  • Synchronize deletions? Checking this will sync deletions of contacts in Exchange to CRM.me.  If Read Only mode is also checked then deletions will not sync.

Meeting Sync Template:

  • Sync Meetings: Enable the meeting sync for the CRM.me template
  • Read Only mode? Checking this sets the CRM.me service for Meetings in Read Only mode.  This means that meetings created, modified or deleted in Exchange will not sync to CRM.me.

Task Sync Template:

  • Sync Tasks: Enable the task sync for the CRM.me template
  • Read Only mode? Checking this sets the CRM.me service for Tasks in Read Only mode.  This means that tasks created, modified or deleted in Exchange will not sync to CRM.me.

Deletions of Meetings and Tasks made in Exchange will sync and delete the corresponding record in CRM.me by default. 

Exchange Service Template

Here we can set up the template for the Exchange service and push that out to all users.  Lets look at each of the options on the template in detail below:

Administrator options:

  • Enable Sync for everyone: Choose to enable/disable the Exchange sync service
  • Force user of the global policy set here to all users? Checking this box will force all users in the crm to use the sync preferences you set here and they will not be able to change those themselves. NOTE: this feature is currently not available
  • Force update of global policy set here to all users? Check this box before saving the template to push the service template settings to all users in the system.

Configure Impersonation:

This section is optional, if you wish to configure impersonation you will want to include details of a user with Impersonation privileges here.

  • Exchange Impersonation Username: Enter the username of a user with impersonation privileges over all other accounts that will be synced
  • Exchange Impersonation Password: Enter the password for this account.
  • Test mailbox on this server, to check impersonation connection: Enter the username of another exchange user account here and click the Test Connection button to confirm if impersonation is correctly set for the impersonation account you have specified.

Contact Sync Template:

  • Sync Contacts: Enable the contact sync for the Exchange template
  • Read Only mode? Checking this sets the Exchange service for Contacts in Read Only mode.  This means that contacts created, modified or deleted in CRM.me will not sync to Exchange.
  • Synchronize deletions? Checking this will sync deletions of contacts in CRM.me to Exchange.  If Read Only mode is also checked then deletions will not sync.

Meeting Sync Template:

  • Sync Meetings: Enable the meeting sync for the Exchange template
  • Read Only mode? Checking this sets the Exchange service for Meetings in Read Only mode.  This means that meetings created, modified or deleted in CRM.me will not sync to Exchange.

Task Sync Template:

  • Sync Tasks: Enable the task sync for the Exchange template
  • Read Only mode? Checking this sets the Exchange service for Tasks in Read Only mode.  This means that tasks created, modified or deleted in CRM.me will not sync to Exchange.

Deletions of Meetings and Tasks made in CRM.me will sync and delete the corresponding record in Exchange by default. 

Email Archive Options Template:

  • Enable Email Archiving: Enable the ability for emails to be archived to CRM.me on the Exchange template.
  • Sync Emails associated with the following categories: Enter here an Outlook category that when associated with an email will sync the email to CRM.me.  Multiple Outlook categories can be entered separated by commas.

 

Setting Impersonation Privilages to an Exchange User

If you plan to use use an impersonation service account on your Exchange Service template you may wish to follow the instructions below which provide instruction on how to grant impersonation privileges to an Exchange user.

Office365 and Exchange Online

To configure a service account with Impersonation privileges on Exchange Online/Office 365, please review the following Microsoft article:
http://cloudfinder.com/user-impersonation-settings-office-365/
Please note that for hosted Online, Impersonation is only available with the Midsize Business and Enterprise plans. If you are using the Small business plan, you will not be able to use an Impersonation account.

If you wish to set application impersonation manually using MS Powershell then you can do that too following the steps below:

  1. On your local computer, open Windows PowerShell and run the following command.
    $UserCredential = Get-Credential
  2. In the Windows PowerShell Credential Request dialog box, type your Exchange Online user name and password, and then click OK.
  3. Run the following command.
    $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
  4. Run the following command.
    Import-PSSession $Session
  5. Run the New-ManagementRoleAssignment cmdlet to add the permission to impersonate to the specified user. The following example shows how to configure Exchange Impersonation to enable a service account to impersonate all other users in an organization, you will need to replace the serviceAccount with the name of the account that will be granted the application impersonation role assignment.
    New-ManagementRoleAssignment –Name:<impersonation Assignment Name> –Role:ApplicationImpersonation –User: "<account name>"

On-Premise Exchange Server

For on-premise Exchange (2007/2010/2013) server you need to setup an Active Directory user account with Impersonation privileges so that it can access and synchronize other users' mailboxes. To configure Exchange Impersonation, please review the following Microsoft articles:

  • Exchange 2007: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb204095%28v=EXCHG.80%29.aspx
  • Exchange 2010: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb204095.aspx

FAQs

We understand that there are lots of you out there who still have questions about how all of this works and what you can expect from the integration.  Therefore we have included the FAQs area below stocked with just about everything we thing you might want to know.

For convenience we have also broken down the FAQs into sections depending on the theme.

General FAQS

Q. How does the Exchange integration work?

A. Once you configure the sync settings globally each user who wishes to sync their Exchange account simply needs to follow simple step by step instructions to activate the sync for their account.  From that point onward new or modified records on either system will be processed by our cloud based integration service and passed back, ensuring the data held in both is the most accurate and recent.

Q. Do I need to set up Impersonation on one of my Exchange accounts?

A. That's up to you!  The integration allows you to specify a single Exchange user account with Impersonation rights or simply allow users to configure their own services by entering their Exchange username and password during activation of the integration.  Both options work great but you my prefer to use Impersonation if you have a policy of changing your users Exchange passwords on a regular basis.

Q. Are there any extra costs involved?

A. None! The Exchange integration is included for all Pro and Enterprise subscriptions at no cost.  If you plan to use the Exchange integration simply contact support@crm.me and let us know so we can enable your account.

Q. Can I use both the Exchange integration and the Outlook plugin?

A. The Exchange integration should not be used together with the Outlook plugin.  If a user is using both the Outlook plugin and Exchange integration then this can cause issues including synchronization loops that can corrupt data.  If you have any questions about this then contact support@crm.me

Email Archiving FAQs

Q. Where will the emails I archive appear in CRM.me?

A. When an email is archived CRM.me will associate it for you to any Contacts or Leads with an email address matching those in the Email From, To or Cc fields.

Q. What happens the email I archived does not match any existing Conact or Leads?

A. In this case CRM.me will create a new contact for you with the first name, last name and email address of the unidentified person in the email header and associate the email to that new contact.

Q. If I archive an email with attachments will those appear in CRM.me as well?

A. Yes, valid email attachments including pdf, docx, xlsx, txt, csv, jpg, and other popular file extensions will be included on the email record that is creeated in CRM.me.  There is a collective size limit of 5 MB on email attachments included on any one email.

Q. What happens if my email attachments are collectively larger tan 5mb?

A. In this scenario your email will still be archived but the attachments will not be included.  Emails archived from Exchange will include a summary of any files originally included on the email you attempted to archive in the footer of the email record.

Contact Sync FAQs

Q. What contacts will sync from CRM.me to my Outlook account?

A. The Exchange integration will only sync CRM.me contacts owned by your CRM.me user.  It will not sync any contacts that are owned by other users in the system to Outlook.

Q. Can I sync contacts from CRM.me to an Outlook address book other than my default one?

A. The Exchange integration will only sync contacts to and from your users primary address book.  It is not currently possible to sync contacts to or from secondary address books you may have configured in Outlook.

On CRM both mail account, primary and secondary will be recognized and normally synced.

Q. Some of my Outlook contacts have been assigned a category of "Yoxel Delete", what does that mean?

A. This means that the correlating contact record in CRM.me has been deleted or was reassigned to another user.  If Contact deletions have been disabled on the Exchange sync service by your administrator then the contact in Outlook will not be removed, instead we assign this contact with a category of "Yoxel Delete" to let you know that it is no longer being actively synced to CRM.me.

Q. When I sync a Contact from Outlook will that create a Lead or Contact in CRM.me?

A. Contacts synced from Outlook will appear in CRM.me as Contact records.  If the Outlook contact has a Company name specified it will also create an Account record for the new contact.

Q. We want to sync our Outlook contacts to CRM.me but we are worries about creating a ton of duplicate records

A. We use fuzzy name recognition both when creating Contact and Account records in CRM.me.  So, if you and a colleague share a similar contact in Outlook and both synchronize with CRM.me then only one contact record will be created, not two.

Of course using fuzzy name recognition will not completely prevent duplicate records being created but it will go a long way to help prevent them.

Q. Will contacts I delete in Exchange also delete the related contact records in CRM.me

A. You should check with your CRM.me administrator.  By default deletions of contacts in either system will not sync and to the other an remove the contacts there as well.  However your CRM administrator can enable synchronization of contact deletions in both directions.

 

 

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