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The Client based Groupware Integration package was introduced in CRM 2006s2/2007 with very positive feedback from the customer base as now it is possible to allow the users much more control over what is going on between their groupware system and the SAP CRM system.

This little Plug-In that gets installed locally to alows client-side integration does not need any server component that would require constant admin monitoring but instead works using SICF over HTTPS only. This makes it possible to run this scenario with much decentralized with low TCO and much benefit for individual CRM users.

In the meantime we have received first feedback from you, both positive and negative. So we have put a plan in place to address some of the requirements in both CRM 7.0 and the Enhancement Pack 1 (EHP1).

Today I would like to talk about one enhancement that in available for customers using MS Outlook as of CRM 7.0 based on customer feedback.

Users reported that they want to do more of their collaborative work in MS Outlook. Therefore we have introduced support for these user cases:

  • create contact in MS Outlook and assign to exesting Account in SAP CRM
  • create appointment or task assigned to account/contact and a related CRM record like lead or opportunity.
  • use one-click-actions to cross navigate from the Outlook item to the corresponding CRM objects.

Create Contact and assign to account.

When creating a new contact or editing an existing one in Outlook, data coming from both the CRM account and CRM contact tables is made editable in a combined view.

In MS Outlook the user now can open the assignment popup for linking the new contact to a specific account. The assignment is getting save with the record in MS Outlook and with the next replication the new contact associated to the account would be replicated to the CRM System as new contact available in the accounts contact list.

 image

Create Appointment and assign to account and existing lead.

The appointment (or task) use case is similar. The assignment popup allows to search for accounts, contacts and reference objects to establish the assignment. Especially the reference object is perfect to include collaboration aspects in the sales process while not leaving MS Outlook.

image 

The assignment popup has two modes.

Read mode:
In case the user is offline it will show the data that are linked to the Outlook item. no cross navigation or editing is enabled.

Edit mode:
In edit mode the system is online connected to the CRM server and allows the search operation against the backend as well as cross navigation.

For doing a search the user hits the corresponding link (e.g. find CRM Reference Document) which opens a field for the search parameter.

The link “Details” shown later allows to user start the CRM UI and lead the corresponding CRM object.

image

Search results personalization

Users can personalize the columns shown in the results list of the search in the local settings screen they are familiar with for other settings as well. This empowers all users to define how they want to see the result list individually.

image 

Key Takeaways:

  • allows to link MS Outlook item to CRM objects when being online
  • view related object information when offline or online
  • use cross navigation when online
  • support MS Outlook only
  • supported objects in Outlook are appointment, tasks and contacts 

This development was the first step in the direction of tying CRM Sales process feature and groupware collaboration scenarios closer together.

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32 Comments

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  1. Wolfgang Mayer
    Hello Martin,
    we’ve already talked about this new features, I’ve got some additional questions for you:
    – Any news regarding the downgrade of this for CRM 2007? If planned, what support package will ship this?
    – What MS outlook version is preconditioned? 2007? Or does it work with 2003 as well?
    – Offline capabilities: will it be possible or is it planned to link to organisations and contact persons in offline mode by directly entering the corresponding business partner number? A further extension would be to store the business partner number in the MS outlook contacts to provide the BP number even in offline mode.

    Thanks & regards
    Wolfgang

    (0) 
    1. Martin Dauer Post author
      Hello Wolfgang,

      – for now I can not confirm the downgrade but it will be most likely CRM 2007 SP06.
      – The groupware integration including this enhancement will perfectly work with Outlook 2003.
      – the scenario desribes is only supported when being online. For now we have no plans to extend that as e.g. OL 2007 does not have the contact field in standard UI anymore.

      will keep you posted

      Greetings to Vienna
      Martin

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      1. Marco Cleopazzo
        Hello Martin

        Thanks for this interesting blog.

        We are currently on CRM 2007 SPS04. You wrote that this “new” functionality probably will be available for CRM 2007 SPS06. Are there any news on that?

        We are working with CRM Mobile Sales 6.0 SP2 and Outlook 2007. The synchronisation between the Mobile Sales and the Outlook 2007 doesn’t seem to be supported (in the Mobile Sales installation Guide under software requisites I found:
        Optional (for integration): Microsoft Outlook 2000). Now we are looking for an alternative.

        Thanks in advance!

        Regards

        Marco

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        1. Hello Martin,
          This is an excellent blog which is quite useful. I have a question here.
          Can I implement Server based GWI for a set of users and client based GWI for a different set of users in once system (Client/Server).

          Regards,
          Sri

          (0) 
          1. Martin Dauer Post author
            Hi Sri,

            both would work independent but you should avoid replicating the same objects using ´both. E.g. sych of appointments using server GWI and contacts via client GWI would work. pls contact me by email for any further question.

            cheers
            martin

            (0) 
  2. Subhasis Panigrahy
    Nice to know the features. However i have certain queries.
    + Can there be any performance related issues ?
    + Also the Accounts are created as General Business Partners and Contacts are not being created in contact person Role. Is there a way to rectify the same?
    (0) 
  3. Christian Elgaard
    Hi,

    I like the idea of being able to create contacts and appointments in CRM from my Outlook but it could have been done a lot better. So here is a few suggestions for improvement :

    1. There should be a OK, RESET and CANCEL button on the assignment window. Currently you have to close it by clicking on the X in the upper right corner and that doesn’t follow normal logic. The reset feature should remove the “CRM Relevant” tag.

    2. The search result boxes are so small they can only show 1½ line – they should be removed and replaced by a pop-up window with the result of the search from which you can make your pick

    3. If I make an appointment with one of my contacts in Outlook and this contact is already related to CRM then I still have to assign both the contact and the customer once again if I want to relate it to CRM. Wouldn’t it be smarter to offer a “Suggest Relation” feature rather than asking the user to reenter the same information once again?

    4. You seem to have forgotten to take into account the scenario where a contact has been related to CRM and subsequently deleted in Outlook. If the contact has been used in transactions in CRM the GW sync cannot delete it in CRM and instead it raises an error after every sync.

    All in all it is a step forward but there is still a long way to go before SAP’s GW integration is catching up with the competition in this area.

    It would also be helpful if you could document all the synchronization options/settings. Most of the options are currently not documented.

    Kind regards

    Christian

    (0) 
  4. Kanthimathi Krishnan
    Thanks for the excellant blog. It is very useful. I have a query here, when I search for the reference opportunities, only few of them are displayed – the search query doesn’t return all the relevant documents. Is there any customizing that is done to restrict the opportunity type.
    (0) 
  5. Markus Doehr
    Those features look really nice! We are currently in the evaluation if we should use the client based integration (as shown) or the server based. I have opened a thread in this area (Groupware integration – Server or Client?).

    It looks as, if one reads the documentation, that the client based is much more advanced. Is the server based integration development stopped?

    Markus

    (0) 
    1. Martin Dauer Post author
      Hi Markus,

      no, the server based integration is still one of the two options. I have posted an answer to the forum on the same.

      best regards
      Martin

      (0) 
      1. Hello Martin,
        This is an excellent blog which is quite useful. I have a question here.
        Can I implement Server based GWI for a set of users and client based GWI for a different set of users in once system (Client/Server).

        Regards,
        Sri

        (0) 
  6. A. van Vondelen
    Hello Martin,
    We are currently implementing Groupware integration and currently we have managed to get the synchronisation working. I wasn’t aware that it is possible in Outlook to assign accounts to contacts and contacts to appointments via an assignment pop-up.
    Can you tell me how I can trigger this pop-up since I’ve been trying to do what you say in your blog, but haven’t been able to.

    Thanks in advance,
    Alex

    (0) 
    1. Martin Dauer Post author
      Hi Alex,

      in Outlook 2007, you can see a tab “add-in” in my screenshot. this holds one button that would start the assignment popup. 

      Please note that it is only possible to assign contact to accounts, not the other way around! in case of further questiosn please let me know.

      Best regards
      martin

      (0) 
      1. A. van Vondelen
        Never mind,
        I just found that version 7.010 is available, installed it and now I have an extra tab in Outlook in which I get the option “relate to CRM”.
        I assume this is the correct way to do it.
        (0) 
    2. A. van Vondelen
      Never mind,
      I just found that version 7.010 is available, installed it and now I have an extra tab in Outlook in which I get the option “relate to CRM”.
      I assume this is the correct way to do it.
      (0) 
  7. Chaya Buhari
    We completed a recent upgrade to CRM6 (2007) and would like to integrate to Exchange2007 (server side)
    According to the SAP PAM, Exchange 2007 is not listed as a supported version.(only 2003) Can you let me know if there is a solution for gw integration between CRM6 & Exchange07.
    If we were to use the Client side integration, will it work with Citrix XenApp & the WebUI?
    Looking forward to your reply.
    Regards,
    Chaya
    (0) 
  8. Manfred Feger
    Hello Martin,

    thank you for this Blog.
    We are on CRM70 and use the GWI with MS Outlook.

    Is there a way to sync specific contact persons from CRM to the personal outlook adressbook.

    The user should be able to decide if a contact person is synchronised or not. For example with a sync-button in the CRM contact person UI.

    Is this somehow possible?

    Thank you
    Best regards
    Manfred

    (0) 
    1. Martin Dauer Post author
      Hi Manfred,

      this would be done using a specific relationship for the contact. this means every contact comes with a list of users who get the record replicated to Outlook. So it is not a button on the UI but via a relationship.

      hope that helps. if you need more details you can reach me by mail.

      regards
      martin

      (0) 
  9. F. Forbo SAP Competence Centre
    Hi Martin

       Currently we use SAP CRM 6.0 with Outlook 2003. We are facing the problem that when some users synchronize their contacts, they get empty lines. These involve as many as 1880 entries so it is really important for the user.

       What could be the problem?

    Regards,
    Sowmiya

    (0) 
  10. Mukesh Bablani
    Martin,

    These would certainly be nice features.

    We have IT folks complaining about security concerns with the Client based Outlook integration. Especially the IE security settings to allow “Initialize and script ActiveX controls not marked as
    safe -> Enable”

    Did you hear this from other customers and if there is any guidance on this that can help adoption.

    Mukesh

    (0) 
    1. Ashish Rawat
      Hi folks,

      Like any other Activex, you need to allow it for once during installation, after that even if you disable activex it should work.

      Best Regards
      Ashish Rawat

      (0) 
    1. Ashish Rawat
      Hi

      You need to restart the system to get the relate to SAP CRM, if it doesn’t work that way you need to download extensibility dll.

      and install it..

      (0) 
      1. Santosh Menon
        Hi ,
        I am setting up client based groupware integration for MS outlook 2003 and SAP CRM 7.0 /SP7 . Most of the things are working fine . However I am unable to find the “Relate t CRM” button on the MSOUTlook .
        Kindly advise how to go about it ?

        Thanks & Regards,
        Survee

        (0) 
  11. Phyllis Gregoire-Marks
    I’ve been looking for a field mapping document that indicates how the client-based GWI maps between CRM <-> MS Outlook. Does such a thing exist? We are implementing GWI V8.017 at my customer’s site in a few weeks, and they are looking for a field-by-field explanation.

    thanks,
    Phyllis

    (0) 
  12. PRAJITH NAIR
    Martin,

    Your articles on GWI are just brilliant, our team has learnt so much on the area just reading your articles.

    I’ve been trying to setup the GWI for Lotus notes for one of our CRM 7.0 clients here. I’ve been facing issues where :

    1) I’m unable to initiate the E-Mail transfer fom CRM transfer into Lotus or vice versa. Unlike MS Outlook, there isnt a seperate
        Mail folder which is created in outlook for EMail Transfers

    2) Can I trigger a synchronization request from Lotus Notes?

    3) How do you add contacts/accounts from CRM into Lotus notes 6.5?

    4) Is the relate to CRM feature exclusive to MS Outlook? Is there no comparable feature in Lotus Notes for this?

    Any documentation/guides or inputs on this area is highly appreciated.

    Regards / Prajith Nair

    (0) 
  13. Shivaprasad Renukappa
    Hi Martin,

    Nice Blog.
    I had 2 questions related to usage of Client based GWI for B2C scenarios.

    1. If we create an individual account (person), the private email address is never synched up with Outlook. However if I assign this person as a Contact Person to an Org Account, the work address gets synched.

    2. In “Relate to CRM” screen, we can search and assign only Org accounts and no individual clients.

    The above two issues point to the fact that Client Based GW integration was primarily built for B2B. Is my observation correct?

    Regards,
    Shiva

    (0) 
    1. Martin Dauer Post author
      Hi Shiva,

      you are right, the main target of this integration is B2B. There is no flexibility to select and run different scenarios as we had to hard-wire bigger parts of the integration. For supporting a B2C Scenario you need to investigate the server-side Integration. there you can select the “site-type” to establish B2B or B2C integration scenarios.

      Hope that helps

      cheers
      martin

      (0) 
  14. Markus Prevot
    Dear Martin,

    i have got a question concerning the “Relate to CRM” functionality:

    Are the Accounts/Contact Partners, that are available for selection, stored on the Client or are they beeing pulled from the CRM-Server every time?

    (0) 
    1. Martin Dauer Post author
      Hi,

      the accounts and contacts are retrieved from CRM via HTTP request. So the user does not need to ahve the account/contact in his Outlook. As we do replicate accounts only along with contacts the behavior would have to be much different on the relate screen anyway.

      hope that helps
      martin

      (0) 
  15. Harish Cingi Reddy
    Hi Martin

    Your blog is very informative.

    We implemented groupware integration with CRM 7.0 and Outlook 2007. The groupware version is 10.29.06.
    I have couple of questions regarding creation of an Appointment in Outlook.
    1. Can I link an Appointment to multiple Accounts?
    2. Can I link an Appointment to multiple Contact Persons?
    3. Can I link an Appointment to multile reference docs from Outlook.

    At this moment, I can’t do it. Let me know if it is possible.

    Thanks
    Harish

    (0) 
  16. Joel Ramirez

    Hi Martin,

    Great information.

    I have the following question\issue.

    When I tried to assign an account to a contact in Outlook and click on search by any criteria, I don’t get any results.

    This is also true for tasks that I want to assign to a lead or an opportunity.

    We are only using HTTP connection between CRM and Outlook.  We have SAP CRM 7.0 EP1 and Outlook 2010.

    Would this work with HTTP or is HTTPS required?

    I appreciate your response.

    Thanks,

    (0) 

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