Salesforce for Outlook. Is it Right For You?
With the new Winter 11 release from Salesforce, there is a new feature called Salesforce for Outlook. This is different contact manager integration than the already available Connect for Outlook and I will be going over the differences so that you can make an informed decision on which software to install.
Let’s look at the system requirements first as these may dictate which version you can use. If you are unsure of these figures, please contact your local computer support person.
Connect for Outlook Version 3.3.110:
* Requires Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista, or 7
* XP, Vista, or 7 must be 32-bit only; 64-bit is not supported
* Requires Microsoft Outlook XP (2002), 2003, or 2007
Salesforce for Outlook Version 1.2.144:
* Requires Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, or 7
* XP and Vista must be 32-bit only, 7 can be 32-bit or 64-bit
* Requires Microsoft Outlook 2007 or 2010
* Both Outlook versions must be in 32-bit; 64-bit is not supported at this time
* Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 or later
* The Windows time zone must match the time zone set in the user’s Salesforce.com profile.
That covers the system requirements, and based on your software and hardware configuration, you may already know which program to install or keep but please read on as there are some benefits and serious limitations to each. We will compare the differences first and then the limitations.
What syncs in Connect for Outlook and Salesforce for Outlook?
In Connect for Outlook, only the contacts, tasks, and events that you manually mark for sync will sync to the Salesforce CRM system. There is an option in the configuration settings to “automatically mark for sync” for each of these.
If you primarily use Outlook for work, but have personal contacts and events, you can turn the auto sync setting on and then manually unmark your personal items. This allows you to have only one folder with both personal and work items for your iPhone but only the work items will sync to the Salesforce CRM system.
In Salesforce for Outlook, all data in the contact and calendar folders that you specify in the setup will sync. Tasks do not sync. This means that if you have both personal and work contacts in your folder, they will both sync.
There is no way to manually unmark your personal items for sync. You will need to keep separate folders for each set and possibly another duplicate folder for your iPhone (I have not done enough testing on the mobile devices yet to be sure how the separate folders will work with them).
How does it sync?
In Connect for Outlook, you manually click the sync button. You can also set up a sync schedule in the configuration settings.
In Salesforce for Outlook, you do nothing. The program runs in your system tray and your data syncs automatically in the background
How are contacts and emails associated in the Salesforce CRM system?
In Connect for Outlook, you use the association pop-up to manually associate records or emails and choose to add attachments or not. You can associate emails to contacts, leads, accounts, assets, campaigns, cases, contracts, opportunities, products, and any custom objects.
In Salesforce for Outlook, records are associated automatically in the cloud. If Salesforce cannot find an association, then the item goes to your “My Unresolved Items” page (accessed from the system tray icon) where you can manually associate it.
Emails are automatically associated to related records based on your Email to Salesforce settings. You can only associate emails to contacts, leads, and opportunities at this time. If you choose to automatically associate emails to opportunities in the Salesforce CRM system, then that email will associate to all open opportunities where the contact(s) are assigned a contact role based on the To and CC fields of the email.
This means that if a contact has multiple open opportunities, or is listed in the contact role section of other opportunities, all of those opportunities will have that email associated to them.
Where are administration settings managed?
In Connect for Outlook, each user manages their own settings right in Outlook. This can be overridden by your I.T. department if your computers are managed by them. Contact your computer support department about managed computers.
In Salesforce for Outlook, these are managed in the Salesforce CRM system by the administrator. They have the option to grant permissions so that users can manage their own settings. If so, these are accessed from the icon in the system tray. Different configurations can be assigned to different sets of users.
Do recurring events and event attendees sync?
In Connect for Outlook, recurring events sync as individual events. Event attendees do not sync.
In Salesforce for Outlook, recurring events and event attendees do not sync.
Now that we have compared the two, let’s take a look at some of the limitations of the new Salesforce for Outlook:
* Email attachments are not added to the Salesforce CRM system. You must manually upload them to the Notes & Attachments related list of the record.
* Events are not automatically associated with related Salesforce records. You must manually assign them using the My Unresolved Items page accessed from the icon in your system tray.
* Recurring events, event attendees, tasks, all-day events beginning on the first day you are configured to sync, and events with locations longer than 80 characters do not sync. Multi-day events sync as single events in either direction.
* Rich-text formatting from Outlook does not sync. If an Outlook event with rich-text formatting syncs both ways, it will sync back to Outlook as plain text, overwriting any formatting in the Outlook version
For those of you that are going to be installing the new Salesforce for Outlook, here are some tips and best practices from Salesforce:
* Salesforce for Outlook uses Outlook folders to limit which records sync with Salesforce.com. Before you complete the Salesforce for Outlook setup wizard, make sure the folders you want to sync contain the right records. If you’re syncing both ways or syncing Outlook to Salesforce.com, moving a record out of a synced Outlook folder deletes that record in Salesforce.com. If you’re syncing both ways or syncing Salesforce.com to Outlook, removing a record from Salesforce.com deletes that record in Outlook.
* Enter a company name when you create a contact in Outlook. This helps us automatically assign that contact to its related Salesforce.com account so you don’t have to manually assign it in Salesforce.com.
* Salesforce for Outlook uses data sets to limit which contacts sync from Salesforce.com to Outlook. Work with your administrator to set up the data set that works best for you.
The new Salesforce for Outlook came directly from the Summer ’10 pilot with some changes and in my opinion, it is still quite a ways from being fully developed. I expect to see great changes to this as they continue to upgrade and evolve.
If your system configuration does not allow the use of Connect for Outlook, and you find the Salesforce for Outlook limitations too constricting, you may want to look at LinkPoint Vue from our partner. Their integration software fills some of the holes that Salesforce for Outlook left.
StarrData helps you get the most out of Salesforce. If you would like information on the services we offer, call us at (888) 391-4493 x103.