Businessman with a computer

"I want to remain productive but what can I do while I'm offline?" 

This question comes up a lot in conversations with current and potential customers. As a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) consultant, I’m often asked about the offline capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. My goal is to have an in-depth understanding of the solution's offline capabilities so I can ensure my customers and prospects maintain realistic expectations. 

During moments of offline inconvenience – like commuting, traveling or going through security lines – Dynamics CRM users often rely on the CRM 2011 Outlook Client to remain productive. As a result, I've compiled a list of reminders for people using Dynamics CRM with Outlook offline, as well as the caveats associated with each of my points.

Points to Remember While Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Offline (within Outlook)

  • When working offline, you are not connected to the main database – so you’re working with a “snapshot” of the CRM database. This has the following implications:

- Changes made to CRM will not appear to other users until this is synced with the database.

- Changes made by other users will not be visible to the user who has gone offline until they go back online and sync with the database.

- Data in dashboards, reports and advanced find will show only the local data – not any new data that may be in the main database.

  • When a user goes offline, the entire database is not downloaded. This is done in order to save time when going offline and to save space on the local hard drive for the user. Users can adjust their synchronization settings to change how much data is available while offline. This has the following implications:

- Users can only see data that they have chosen to make available while offline. Depending on the individual synchronization settings, this may exclude records owned by other users.

- Most synchronization settings eliminate older data – so users may not see obsolete information (3 month old activities for example).

  • Changes to the CRM configuration cannot be made while offline.
  • Workflow notifications are not generated while working offline; once a user goes back online, workflow notifications will be generated.
  • Duplicate detection is not active while working offline. Duplicate detection is triggered automatically when synchronized.

Armed with this knowledge and realistic expectations, you can take full advantage of Dynamics CRM offline. If you'd like more information on C5 Insight's services or solutions, please contact us.