In my working team we’ve only recently started to use Microsoft CRM 3.0 for organizing our own work. The CRM system has been already rolled out to 200 users globally, but these databases have been reserved solely for end customer data. Now we finally have a separate CRM environment to manage our team’s internal customer data, projects and tasks, hence the “dog food experiment”. I’ll blog here some of my experiences as a newbie user, like this mystery with appointments.
This monday I opened up my Outlook calendar and was greeted with a surprisingly empty schedule for the upcoming week. Hmm, didn’t I have plenty of meetings booked for every day, as usual? Going back to my Outlook’s “Recover Deleted Items”, I was actually able to restore a fair amount of ucpoming appointments. But who put them in the bin?
Upon opening CRM’s My Activities view, I still saw the missing appointments in the list. Looking back, I realized each of the appointments I had to recover from Outlook’s trash bin had been tracked into CRM by myself. Why on earth were they simultaneously removed from Outlook?
Well, it turns out that there was a contact record in CRM that matches my default outgoing email address with it’s .com domain. My actual CRM user account used an email address with .fi at the end. So, CRM was not able to find any CRM user resources in the list of appointment attendees and promptly synched my Outlook calendar, thus removing the appointments (since I wasn’t participating them). I did remain as the owner of the appointment and was of course one of the contacts listed as attendees. Come to think of it, Microsoft CRM did provide some error screen to me about scheduling issues when pushing the track button, but who reads those?
Makes you realize how an email address alias can make things confusing for many parties. Also makes you remember not to blindly trust what the system tells you and instead always make a mental note in addition to the virtual one.
Dan Barnett, WORKetc founder talks about the exact same thing here: http://admin.worketc.com/Blogs/Development/69
Once Barnett found that the appointment scheduling module in WORKetc was obsolete (and being replaced by other software internally) he knew it was time for an upgrade. It’s this type of internal use that helps the product develop properly.