Snapshot Survey: Outlook Integration

This is the first of a series of snapshot surveys about features within Sage CRM.  Sage wants to better understand how customers use each feature and how we can update the product to provide more benefits to our customers' businesses.
Please answer the questions below and use the response area to provide additional commentary.
Outlook Integration
This survey is about how customers use the Outlook Plugins provided by Sage CRM.
Please comment below about the feature(s) of the Outlook Plugin you find most useful.
  • Hello,

    We need a better Outlook Plugin, more stable.

    The actual plugin can crash or not working when new Outlook's patch is installing (like for Outlook 365 and all its upgrade/patch)

    We need a Plugin without Internet Explorer... its hard to explain to the IT guy that IE is mandatoy...

    We need an Outlook / CRM intégration in a modern technology that can works with Outlook / Outlook 365 and Outllook webmail

    And if its possible an GMail Intégration too !!!

    Best regards.

  • in reply to Wauquier Mathias

    Thanks for posting this.  This is a big area of frustration for us.  I love the Sage CRM functionality.  I hate having to fight with the Outlook Plugin over and over again.  Must work with all browsers and must support 64 bit!  Windows 11 will only be compatible with Office 365 64 bit.

  • Hello.

    Let me share my experience. A time ago, I installed the system on my PC from scratch, and everything was working fine, except the Outlook CRM plugin. To make the plugin works on my computer, I had to downgrade the Office 365 version from 64 bits to 32 (because of the requirement limitation of the Sage CRM plugin). Once I make it work, I received an upgrade from Windows 10 to 11 (I am a Windows Insider Program Member) and nothing to complain about the Win 11. it is pretty stable so far but turns out the Outlook CRM plugin doesn't work at all.

    I uninstalled Office 365, reinstall it (on both versions, 64 and 32 bits) and still. Uninstalled the CRM plugin, reinstalled and nothing. I had to remove the software and its register and still. The big downside of this plugin is that it only works with 32 bits application version. Now, it is time for to Sage get better solutions to that. 

    Therefore, if you have plans to migrate the Windows version, you better wait to hear from Sage. It is a shame to have an important tool that only works with so much limitation.

  • in reply to Cristiano Rodrigues

    We only suggest customers use the Outlook Lite plugin, this works when Exchange Integration is configured, the plugin can then be installed into Office 32 and 64 bit. Just very annoying it is limited to a small number of versions of Outlook

    The lite plugin doesn't sync the calendar or contacts (as this is what Exchange Integration is used for). It's only used to file emails and where needed to create a new contact within CRM from your Outlook contacts. 

    The product is very limited, seeing what third parties have done in this area (e.g. CRM Together), plus what Outlook integrations look like with other products (e.g. Salesforce, or Acumatica (ERP with CRM element to it)), they all make Sage's plugin look like the poor cousin.

  • in reply to Wauquier Mathias

    I am not even sure if using a plugin is the best option. IMHO i think having Sage CRM connect in-product to individual users Exchange mailbox that has a a screen that allows filing of mail from within Sage CRM would be a much better option. That way you don't need to worry about plugin's and compatibility, just file emails within the CRM UI. This would also allow sent emails from CRM to show up in the users sent items folder in their Outlook profile as it would need user by user access to the Exchange server/M365.

  • We were tasked by a customer a year ago to build an in-product email import. All users had Chromebooks and accessed their O365 email within the web experience. Each user was required to individually authenticate and was then able to import emails from their Inbox/Sent Items/Archived/Deleted folders.  We also built a background sync process, that could automatically file future responses to that thread.

    The framework allowed us to easily replicate with G-Suite for another client. 
    Let's hope this survey is because Sage are finally going to invest some development resource in this area.

  • We need an up to date Outlook Lite Plugin. Sage CRM has one of the worse outlook plugin on the market. It is not possible to select or not the attachments It is a pain to change the links with the relevant company/person/opportunity.

    This should be a major feature and it seems to be the least in the product backlog !

  • To be fair, our CRM install internally is 7.3 (don't ask) so it doesn't integrate with anything. I have a number of customers using Exchange integration and a smaller subset of them use the Outlook plugin.

    I cry when a customer wants Outlook integration because it is so painful these days. It shouldn't be but it is. A clear understanding of what permissions are required to install it would be useful. So often these days I deal with external IT companies for customers and they don't want anything installed unless they can understand what is required and I can't tell them

  • in reply to Vega

    We completely abandoned the Sage plugin 4 years ago and switched to Accelerator, the advanced Outlook integration from CRM Together. 

    Sage CRM default Outlook plugin would be fine for many 'if' it were consistent. But we all know that it can be a support nightmare. Not just for partners but for the support teams too. Sage Support invests an unreasonable amount of time and energy supporting the default plugin.  We tell clients we will not support Sage's plugin. Period.

    In NA, pretty much the entire market uses Outlook (not Gmail or others) so Accelerator appears on every quote. 

  • in reply to Sean from Spire

    IMO this looks like a neat solution and actually is exactly what is needed in core product rather than trying to interface into Outlook. This way control is completely kept within Sage CRM and so can be managed much easier.

  • in reply to Sean from Spire

    Sean, very slick solution!  I agree with the others that supporting the Plugin has been a high-maintenance effort since forever.  And I know this survey is about the Plugin, but troubleshooting server-side, Exchange-CRM sync issues has been no less problematic.  One recommendation that applies to all software (in all universes...), is to provide the user with helpful, plain-English explanations of precisely what went wrong and with links to KB article(s) on how to resolve.  If there were an alert feature such that the CRM Admin gets an email that explains when and why the sync fails - with KB links - that would be a giant leap forward for mankind.  (smile)

  • That last question is possibly misleading:

         I use the Outlook plugin to synchronise appointments and tasks between Outlook & Sage CRM?

    We definitely synchronize Appointments and Tasks in all our installs, however we never use the Classic Plugin to do this.  It's always done via the Exchange-CRM server-side sync.

  • in reply to Sean from Spire

    I like the look of that. Keeping the entire thing within CRM rather than a lot of faffing about with Outlook and the plugin headache that goes with it. Is this a module that you can deploy anywhere or is this customer specific?

  • in reply to Vega

    We did script it into a generic Sage CRM component. Apart from our own custom tables to handle the configuration elements, everything else used vanilla Communication and Comm_Link entities and fields. 

    We only had 1 person working on it in-between other projects. As we had already built the Sage CRM and MS Teams integration, we are able to reuse authentication/token code from that. I reckon it was functional within 3 weeks from concept. Hopefully the Sage Dev's can add something similar to the core offering for everyone.

  • I don't breach the subject of Sage CRM's Outlook plug-in unless the customer objects to using a third-party. We lead with CRM Accelerator first because that's the experience our customers need - intuitive, feature-rich, and provides better awareness about a record without having to log into Sage CRM.

    We do still use the Exchange Integration (all of our customers are on Exchange365 at this point), but we only synchronize appointments or tasks. Some bi-directionally, others only from Sage CRM to Exchange.

    - your in-system email integration and your MS Teams integrations would enhance the value of the Sage CRM system tremendously. 

    To 's point - the functionality he described is something that's very desirable for customers and happens to be a standard offering from other CRM products. The setup of that style of email integration is also incredibly simple.

  • Hello,

    The outlook Lite plugin is the one we use the most for Customers together with the Exchange connection.
    It is very frustrating that with the current MFA authentication, that is needed for mostly every Office365 connection, that this is not possible with the current Outlook Lite Plugin.
    Make this option available as soon as possible.
    Another option is to make the filling of e-mails possible from within Sage CRM and do not forget to make it possible to connect to the mailbox with MFA.

    Best regards,

    Marcel Kooistra

  • Thank you to everyone who took part in the Snapshot Survey.  The comments are very useful.  We will turn this into a paper that will then be used to help decide the Roadmap.