2015 Update 1: OneNote Integration

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 (code named Carina) brings a lot of new great functionalities, in this post the new integration capabilities with OneNote are presented.

Traditional CRM Notes vs OneNote Integration

The new integration with OneNote brings interesting new capabilities to further use the full stack of Microsoft solutions. Below is a comparison on features and on how integration with CRM works on the “traditional” CRM notes functionality (which will continue to be available) VS the new OneNote integration.

Feature Comparison

Some are worth detailing a little bit more:

  • Record Voice Notes: Why implement from scratch when OneNote already does this, and a lot more.
  • OCR capabilities, through OneNote’s built-in OCR capabilities and leveraging additional applications
    that already integrate with OneNote (e.g.: Office Lens).
  • The ability to use existing online solutions that
    integrate with OneNote, e.g.: IFTTT to automate note taking, ads another level to the automation possibilities on data related to CRM records.

Interaction Comparison

On another level, the table below shows how the existing CRM notes compares with the new OneNote Integration, on how it interacts with CRM.

Requirements and How to Setup

On this first release, OneNote Integration will be only possible in a…Online…SharePoint enabled… configuration scenario only.

In detail:

  • Only works in CRM Online
  • SharePoint integration must be configured/enabled in CRM: Only after this will the “OneNote Integration” option be available in CRM’s Documents Management area, to be used to further setup/configure the OneNote integration.

  • SharePoint Document Integration needs to be setup for the entity
    to have OneNote notebooks to be presented as related to the record.
  • OneNote Integration configuration needs to be setup for the entity
    to have OneNote available this must be specifically set on each entities configuration.

  • OneNote Integration must be enabled on the entity configuration itself.

Jesper Osgaard has a great post with step by step on how to setup this. After be above is done the user will start seeing a new tab on the Activity Wall section of the record.

How Notes are Stored and linked?

They will be stored in SharePoint.

In detail:

  • By default each record will have a new notebook

  • The notebook is only created when the user clicks on the “ONENOTE” option inside the record for the first time (this is identical to how the SharePoint Documents integration works for creating a document folder per record on first access):

  • Naming Convention:
    • Notebook name: Will have the same name has the record “name” field at the time of creation.
    • First Section: A new first section is created when the notebook is created, it will be called “Untitled” by default.
  • While in CRM Web interface, clicking on the first “untitled” link will be direct to OneNote’s web interface to the specific section:

  • Adding more sections will add more links to be presented in the record’s Activity Wall:

  • The user can manually change the location of the notebook, and even point the same notebook to several records (identical on how its currently being done for SharePoint document locations)

OneNote in CRM for Tablets

OneNote integration is also available in CRM for Tablets:

  • Clicking on links will open the OneNote app, if installed.

OneNote in CRM for Phones

OneNote Integration is also available in CRM for Phones:

  • Clicking on links will open the OneNote app, if installed.
  • Sections are sorted by “modified time”.

OneNote is everywhere

And the idea behind this new feature is to leverage that. OneNote is already a well-established solution with a vast ecosystem of:

  • Functionalises that complement other Office / Microsoft solutions.
  • Applications on all major OS’s.
  • Third party add-ons, integrations that further enhance OneNote’s capabilities.

CRM user licences still cost some €€, this will further help customers managing their licensing costs by allowing users, that only require the OneNote notes, to interact with CRM and its user’s without additional CRM licencing costs. For all this, the addition of the OneNote integration capability is very welcome.

Best Practices

Microsoft has advised on some tips and best practices on how to setup and use this new feature, a summary is below:

  1. Pin your notes in OneNote app on your device: Pin recent notes, pin to Start (Windows only).
  2. Use side-by-side experience on Surface Pro and Pen: e.g.: Surface Pen to one-click open the notes.
  3. Take notes in Quite Notes and move page later: If you are in a hurry.
  4. Close notebooks when you longer need them: Better for OneNote performance and search results.
  5. Notebook is auto created when user first clicks, very important
    Only in OneNote tab in Web Client.
  6. Navigate to OneNote to add a new note.
  7. Only enable the entities that needs a full notebook per record.

I believe this is my longest post yet, hope its useful and not a TLDR, ;). I believe the topic required it, will try to keep them as short and sweet as possible.

Stay tuned, more posts to come on 2015’s Update 1.