As many of you know, I am a Solution Specialist for Microsoft CRM, which means I am the first line for sales questions generally for CRM in my area. Many of the blog posts here have been a direct result of emails and phone calls from my partners asking “how to”, “if” and “will this work” questions. So with that in mind, this post is NOT an official knowledge base article, statement of position, or even official enough to bother emailing to your friends.
So the bottom line, this whole post is because I am lazy and am getting tired of writing the same email to different folks every week. Special Thanks to Dominic P from the Dev Team for proof reading and giving me a ton of information to build this on.
Before we go down this trail, let’s disclaim as follows: “The Best User Experience and Tested Solution for Microsoft CRM involves using a Microsoft Exchange Server, either standalone or utilizing Small Business Server. That is the environment our development was done in, our testing was done in and our support folks have the most amount of knowledge around.”
So, you want to deploy Microsoft CRM WITHOUT Exchange. Your first question is why? Normally the answer is one of two things.
So let’s get some common misconceptions out of the way right up front. Microsoft CRM does NOT REQUIRE Exchange to run. However, if you do not have an Exchange server, you will not have some functionality available to you. You will still have a CRM system with functionality that rocks, a killer user interface, awesome reporting and a ton of customization ability.
Let’s also talk for a second or two about a prefer method before we start talking about what exists without Exchange. It is co-existence. If you can create a rule on your mail server, have it "forward as an attachment" a copy of your mail to an Exchange Server. (Make sure it is a Forward As An Attachment and not a redirect, not a forward, otherwise all of the emails will get attached to where your email address is or the CRM Router will not work.) If you have a customer that has Lotus Notes, let’s look at this option as well. (It does have a drawback, in that HTML get all of the coding stripped from them.) Yes folks, that generally does require the installation of an Exchange Server. (That would be in addition to the existing mail server.)
So, with all of that underway, let’s go through three areas that CRM has and handles mail. This is ONLY for Microsoft CRM 3.0. The Stuff that worked and didn't work in 1.2 was a little different, and being that I have a short memory, who cares about 1.x... :-)
UPDATE: New information released. Click Here for an update.