3 Ways to Synchronize Your Email System with Microsoft Dynamics CRM: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Anyone tasked with synchronizing their email system and Microsoft Dynamics CRM probably has this lingering question: Which is the best way to accomplish this task, considering Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows you to do it three different ways?

Every organization is different, as is the setup of their Microsoft Dynamics CRM and email systems. To help you make the right decision, we came up with a side-by-side comparison of the three approaches. But first, let’s start with an explanation of each.

Synchronizing email with Microsoft Dynamics CRM: An explanation of each approach

Server-Side Synchronization. Server-side synchronization can be used to set up email processing. It connects Microsoft Dynamics CRM with one or more Exchange servers or POP3 servers for incoming email, and one or more SMTP or Exchange servers for outgoing email. With server-side synchronization, you can centrally manage mailboxes and profiles, configure email for users and queues, and track email processing errors. This approach can also be used to synchronize appointments, contacts, and tasks between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Email Router. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Email Router is a software application that creates an interface between Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premises or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and a supported Microsoft Exchange Server, SMTP, or POP3-compliant email server. After the email router is installed and configured, it transfers email messages to the CRM system and sends outgoing email messages created by users, workflows, or custom applications in the CRM system. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Email Router can act as an interface between one Microsoft Dynamics CRM system and one or more Exchange servers or POP3 servers for incoming email and one or more SMTP or Exchange servers for outgoing email.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook (Outlook Client) enables access to the same data through Microsoft Outlook as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web client. Dynamics CRM for Outlook is for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users who need access to CRM data while using the Outlook application. The Outlook Client integrates Outlook with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In the Outlook client, you have full CRM functionality and data, plus some extra features and functions. Many users like the Outlook Client because it eliminates the need to navigate and log into an additional program to access CRM data. You can add contacts and activities by tracking them to CRM, which saves you a significant amount of time because it eliminates the manual process of re-typing that data into a new record in CRM. Additionally, you can attach CRM Sales Literature and Knowledge Base Articles directly to the emails you send through Outlook. The Outlook Client also has offline capabilities which allow you to look up CRM data without connecting to the internet.

A comparison of the 3 approaches to synchronizing email with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The following table compares the three approaches:


As shown above, all three approaches are full-featured, offering support for POP3 and SMTP-based email servers, the ability to synchronize records between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Exchange Online, and more. However, there are distinct differences—such as the need for a separate server and offline capabilities—that you need to take into consideration when determining the best approach for your organization.

Important notes regarding email/ Microsoft Dynamics CRM synchronization

  • Server Side Synchronization can be used together with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook.
  • Users can still use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook to manually track records (using the Track button or the Set Regarding button) even if synchronization occurs through Server Side Synchronization. Microsoft claims using Server Side Synchronization together with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook can boost the performance of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook.
  • Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) email servers are not currently supported by Server Side Synchronization or the Email Router.
  • Server Side Synchronization uses asynchronous services for mailbox synchronization. This means there could be a need for scaling up Async server for optimal performance.
  • Moving forward, Microsoft recommends using Server Side Synchronization as the preferred method of integrating email system with CRM.
  • You cannot synchronize appointments, contacts, and tasks with POP3 email servers.

Recently, Microsoft launched the Dynamics CRM App for Outlook, which is different from the traditional Outlook Client in that it is a lightweight app that enables you to easily track email and preview CRM information wherever you are. Refer to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Help & Training for a detailed explanation of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM App for Outlook and how it compares with Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook.

Need more information or help deciding on the best method for your organization? AKA can help. Contact our CRM experts today.

By | 2017-10-20T20:10:49+00:00 August 29th, 2016|Sales & Service (CRM)|0 Comments
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Contributor: AKA Enterprise Solutions

AKA is comprised of professionals with deep experience in business, technology, and their respective industries. Our team members regularly share their knowledge and expertise through blog articles. We hope you find them helpful, and we welcome your comments.

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