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Tracking Email Attachments to SharePoint

   Words by CRM Consultancy

   on 29/10/2018 13:00:00

Dynamics provides the excellent App for Outlook to track business related Emails into the History we have with a particular Project, Company or Contact.

However any attachments to these Emails can also be dropped into CRM and both expand our CRM Database Size with large Attachments, plus prove to an ineffective place to store Documents as Dynamics lacks the Good Governance and Metadata that SharePoint provides.

We can tackle this problem by automatically tracking Attachments into the SharePoint Document Location for that Record, rather than into the Attachment/Notes Table in CRM.

This can be done quite simply in DocMan by activating the ‘Track Attachments’ flag for a particular Entity in the DocMan Configuration Area:

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Configuring whether Emails tracked to a particular Entity should have their Attachments promoted to SharePoint

With this enabled, any Emails tracked from Outlook to CRM with Attachments will have the Attachment uploaded to the SharePoint Location for that record – so the Attachment is stored in SharePoint instead of Dynamics CRM.

Often however we do not want our Attachments from Emails grouped in with all our other Documents uploaded to that Record, and instead want our Attachments placed in a separate Sub-Folder or other Location that is slightly removed from the Record main location.

We can configure this as a further Rule in DocMan by defining an Entity specifically for ‘email’.

The Config for this Entity will then come with the typical DocMan Rules that we can use to define where we want Email Attachment Documents to be stored.

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Adding the Entity Configuration for Emails – so Documents for an Email have an additional step in finding / creating the best Document Location

This is typically done by using a Parent Map for the Regarding Record, as this instructs the Document Location for Emails to be set in relation to the Regarding Records Document Location:

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Defining the Parent Map that places any Documents for an Email in relation to the Email’s Regarding Record

And then a fixed ‘bucket’ map to define a Fixed Folder to store all Email Attachments as they are tracked into Dynamics and SharePoint:

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Defining the ‘Bucket’ Map that defines each Document for an Email will be placed in an additional Folder for ‘Email Attachments’

This then results in any Email tracked in Outlook placing each Attachment File in this specific Sub-Folder from the Regarding Record’s SharePoint Document Location.

If we take our Lead Entity as an example, this appears to the User as:

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With the top-two documents being uploaded as traditional documents to the Lead – whereas the bottom three documents are results of tracking Emails with Attachments into Dynamics using these Rules.

This can give us a good method of keeping uploaded Documents away from Email Attachments.

As Emails can have a number of attachments, and this can include Images or smaller Images for Signatures – it is important to ‘tune out’ certain attachments.

To implement this, DocMan offers two useful options:

  • Images attached to an Email to Gallery – this places any images into the SharePoint Picture Library for the Record, rather than the default Document Library – we can then view these via the Images Tab via Thumbnails.
  • Reject Smaller Images – this avoids tracking smaller image files that are traditionally images for an Email Signature and so not relevant Business Information we want to store in SharePoint

These options can be useful for stronger better management of how we extract the real business information from Emails and store in SharePoint for better governance.

This aspect of Dynamics and SharePoint is essentially a natural evolution of the default functionality in Dynamics for looking at how we define which Emails are Business-level information, vs Personal-level information – and we govern tracking important parts of the business-to-business relationship from Email to tracked CRM Activity History.  The Attachments form part of this narrative in storing business information effectively.

For more information about DocMan generally, our mini-site gives a higher-level view of the functionality to being Dynamics and SharePoint together.

Find out more about DocMan here

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