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Propagating Deletes on Items Synched between Microsoft CRM and Outlook

Propagating Deletes on Items Synched between Microsoft CRM and Outlook

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There are some complex rules that govern how deletes are propagated on items that are synched between CRM and Outlook.  I’ve seen some information out there that captures a portion what is going on, but thought I better paint the full picture.  Deletion behavior can depend on entity, owner, state of record, place of deletion, direction of prevailing wind, MSFT stock price, and other more esoteric factors.

When a user has the CRM Outlook client, contacts, tasks and appointments can sync between the two systems.  When a linked item is deleted from either system, two things can happen to the corresponding item in the other system: it could also be deleted,  or it could be left but with the link broken (no further synching handled for it).

In 1.x, we erred on the side of leaving things behind.   Preventing loss of data is one of our major commandments so we wanted to play it as safe as possible.  The only time a linked item was also deleted was in the case of “pending” tasks or appointments, to ensure that time wasn’t taken on deleted items.

Our strategy of playing it safe was mostly good.  Things sometimes got a bit ugly if we were leaving large numbers of contacts behind in people’s Outlook contacts folder.  In 3.0, the Fancy New Linking also exposed some issues around deleting appointments (where declining an appointment could delete it for everyone).  We also discovered that our “pending” rule was not well-understood (by us, that is) and inconsistently applied.

A bunch of us sat around in conference rooms, followed through various scenarios, argued, drew lots of tables on whiteboards and came up with the delete propagation strategy that we have in 3.0.  It’s a bit complex, with lots of conditionals, but there are so many requirements it had to meet.

The Rules

·      A contact deleted in CRM will be deleted from your Outlook only if you are not the owner.  Outlook contacts can have additional information on them that we didn’t want to lose.  Also, if you uploaded all your contacts to CRM and someone came along and deleted them and it cleaned out your Outlook, you’d probably be annoyed.  However,  if someone is cleaning out CRM, you probably don’t want all those old CRM contacts that you don’t care about hanging around in your Outlook.

 

·      If a contact is deleted in Outlook, it will never be deleted from CRM.  There is too much risk that someone will be tidying up their personal Outlook and not realize that it might have CRM server ramifications.

 

·      A pending appointment deleted in CRM will be deleted from Outlook.  This prevents calendars from being blocked by invalid appointments.

 

·      A pending appointments deleted in Outlook will be deleted in CRM only if it is deleted by the owner or organizer of the CRM activity.  This prevents an attendee declining an appointment and it being deleted from everyone’s calendar.

 

·      A pending task deleted in either Outlook or CRM will be deleted in the other system.  This avoids users working on invalid tasks.

 

·      Past appointments and complete tasks will not propagate deletes.  As future resource allocation is not at risk, and archiving policies can differ between systems, it’s safer to keep old appointments and tasks around.


The Table

Type

Act

State

Result

Contact

Deleted in CRM

N/A

Deleted from Outlook of non-owners.  Remains in owner’s Outlook

Contact

Deleted in Outlook

N/A

Remains in CRM

Appointment/ Service Appointment

Deleted or Cancelled in CRM

Pending

(Scheduled Start in the future in Outlook)

Deleted from Outlook

Appointment/ Service Appointment

Deleted in Outlook

Pending

(Open or Scheduled in CRM)

Deleted from CRM if deleted by the Owner or Organizer. 

Not deleted from CRM otherwise.

Appointment/ Service Appointment

Deleted or Cancelled in CRM

Past

(Scheduled Start in the past in Outlook)

Remains in Outlook

Appointment/ Service Appointment

Deleted in Outlook

Past

(Completed or Cancelled in CRM)

Remains in CRM

Task

Deleted in CRM

Pending

(Not complete in Outlook)

Deleted from Outlook

Task

Deleted in Outlook

Pending

(Open in CRM)

Deleted from CRM

Task

Deleted in CRM

Past

(Complete in Outlook)

Remains in Outlook

Task

Deleted in Outlook

Past

(Completed or Cancelled in CRM)

Remain in CRM

 

 See, coming up with this stuff is the kind of fun that we get to have around here.  Truly, it’s like we’re rock stars. J

- Ilana Smith

  • PingBack from http://javista.wordpress.com/2006/10/30/synchronisation-outlook-microsoft-crm/

  • Ilana, this is a wonderfully concise overview for an area that is far from intuitive.

    The items here do seem in direct conflict to information published on 3.0.  For example, in the certification documentation they still list that if you are not the owner, deleting a contact in outlook will delete in both systems.

    Would you say that this information presented now supercedes the information published?  Should we expect corrected version of documentation later on?

  • This reflects the current product, Sam.  I'll follow up with our doc folk about updates.

  • please note.  Web site not up yet!

    Hi guys, can you help me with this one?

    When you track email in CRM from within outlook, it is brought in to CRM, the date it uses to track the email is the date you click the 'track in CRM' .  

    If for example, you have brought in (migrated) email from another CRM system how would you keep the recived (email recevied on) date and use this one to track the emails in CRM?

    I'm sure this must have been done, or at least discussed already, but I have't been able to find it yet.

    Thanks for you advice

    Kind regards

    Al Ball

    alan@mrcrm.com.au

  • Ok.. so, if I delete a contact from Outlook, then want to 'recreate' that contact in Outlook, how do I do this?

    Is there a way?

    Tx

    Les

  • @Les, check out the following post: http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2006/05/09/593601.aspx

    @Al, sorry, this was a change in v3.0 that will be swapped back in Titan.

  • Thanks for this but, we are unable to day to synch more than 3500 CRM contacts in outlook on a laptop with 1 G memory. All memory get eaten little by little and the sync process stops on an error, getting the window message 'not enough virtual memory' (we put this to 5G to be sure).

    We have 4900 contacts to synch on some PCs.

    Support is lagging in this problem since 1 month now.

    Even if we find a way to reach the target, what if a user inadvertantly delete an outllok contact, in this cas we will need to resynch everything....

  • What about synching completed appointments in CRM with Outlook? The users for one of my clients is frustrated by the fact that their outlook reminders still pop up for appointments they have saved as completed in CRM. Tasks work fine.

  • I have a user that comes to our helpdesk with the following:

    A task made in CRM enters Outlook = OK

    Task in CRM is marked as complete. Task is deleted from Outlook and remains in CRM = OK

    Now the problem after a while sometimes a week a task comes back in Outlook = is not OK

    Can you give us a clue in why this is?

  • I am having the same problem as Peter.

    Completed tasks deleted out of Outlook are reappearing weeks later.

    Does anyone have a solution?

  • Question: My synced contact folder got overwritten with a previous copy, all of my track in crm links are broken. How do I force a full resync to restore my crm contacts

    mgcurry@gmail.com

  • I'm very confused. One of my Users deleted all his Outlook contacts because he only wants to have his crm contacts. But he also deleted all contacts tracked in crm. No I can't get his owned contacts back to his contact folder in outlook. What can I do?? Any ideas?

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