If you’ve ever wanted a quick description of the CRM 2011 Email Router options, and maybe even tried a quick google or bing search, there aren’t a lot of plain-English descriptions. Sure you can dig up the deployment scenarios document on TechNet, but it’s a 2.4MB Word document that tends to get a bit too technical when explaining to a business user what the difference is.
There are three options available…and here’s the skinny on each.
Outlook Client Synchronization
An individual user would have Outlook open, which communicates both with CRM and with Exchange (or whatever the email application is). For email to be copied to CRM or sent from CRM, the person needs to physically have Outlook open with the CRM Plug-In installed, Enabled, and Connected. This requires the least amount of administration and troubleshooting from an infrastructure standpoint, but introduces time lag in email being tracked in CRM as well as overhead when a user opens Outlook and the synchronization takes place.
Individual Mailbox Monitoring
The CRM Email Router monitors each user’s inbox. Each email that matches certain rules are copied to CRM. Depending on the number of Individual Mailboxes, this method can have significant overhead from an administration and troubleshooting standpoint. Microsoft puts a figure of fewer than 10 being the ideal number of individual mailboxes to monitor.
Forward Mailbox Monitoring (a.k.a. Sink Mailbox)
The CRM Email Router monitors one inbox (the “Forward” or “Sink” mailbox) that each user’s email is forwarded to. Emails in the Forward Mailbox that match certain rules are copied to CRM. A user does not need to be online in order for their email to get into CRM. As far as administrative overhead and troubleshooting, this is more appealing than the Individual Mailbox Monitoring option. Though all emails are evaluated through a single mailbox, the resulting emails in CRM are the individual user’s emails (it doesn’t lose the ownership and security, which is consistent with each of these methods).
A couple of other notable items:
- Note, it’s not an all-or-nothing game in making this decision. This can be set up differently for different users connecting to the same CRM organization. Though there is additional administrative overhead involved with tracking and troubleshooting each user’s individualized setting.
- The Mailbox Monitoring options do not require a user to have the Outlook application, but the Outlook Synchronization option does.
- Outbound email does not have the concept of a Sink or Individual mailbox, this email is all processed individually.
- Outbound email that is processed through the email router does not show in the Outlook “Sent Items” view, the email must be found through the CRM interface.
- Inbound and Outbound email methods can be set differently for each user. For instance, inbound email could use the Outlook Client while outbound email uses the CRM Email Router.
- The email router can be used with CRM On-Premise or CRM Online.