Friday, November 11, 2011

Lync Presence in CRM Outlook Client

My previous post highlighted some of the enhancements that Update Rollup 5 has brought to the table.

The last one on that list - CRM Outlook Client enhancements - includes fixing a pet peeve that was noticeably absent until now. Which was the lack of an integrated Lync presence on the CRM Outlook Client. This seemed to be a glaring oversight as it did work in CRM 4.0. We had logged this as a support ticket to Microsoft and the response we received was none too encouraging and I quote:

Thank you for your patience, I wanted to give an update on this.  Our Escalation Engineers have determined that this is functioning by design and will not get fixed in the current release of CRM.  This functionality worked within CRM 4.0 client because CRM data was display on web pages which allowed presence data to be displayed.  In CRM 2011, our development team opted to give CRM more of an integrated look and feel with Office, so standard Outlook controls were used.  As a result, the control in which CRM uses to display data does not support the usage of presence data.   
To implement functionality to include presence data within Outlook would require a redesign of how the CRM client displays data.  Such a redesign will not come in the middle of a product lifecycle but it certainly is possible for a future release of CRM.  Please feel free to submit this as a product suggestion to our developers at
Let me know if you have any remaining questions on this issue.  If you do not, I will go ahead and archive this support incident.

Anyway, this story of course has a happy ending. The support rep indicated that the enhancements would be possible in a future release of CRM. When he said that I assumed that it would be pushed out, at a minimum, to the next major release of CRM. But I guess it depends on how you define "release" and in this case it seems to be that Update Rollup is classified as a release. Either that or Microsoft development changed their mind but either way I'm not complaining.

Below is a screenshot illustrating the user experience (I couldn't get anyone else to pose so you'll have to settle for an image of moi).

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