One of the headaches clients run into is managing the integration of Contacts between CRM and Outlook.  By default, all Contacts that are owned by a User are synchronized back to their Outlook Contacts (assuming the user has installed and configured the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook Client). This prohibits sharing contacts among Users within CRM. Teams could be utilized to help this issue, but the different combinations of who needs Contacts and who doesn’t will make the maintenance of teams very tedious and time consuming.

Here is a solution that will allow a User to pick and choose what Contacts will synchronize between CRM and Outlook aka Subscribe to Contacts: Use connections to link Users to Contacts and set the Outlook filter to synchronize all Contacts the User is connected to. Here are the steps to accomplish this:

  1. Create a new Connection Role called Outlook Contact
  2. Create a Workflow that will create a Connection to the Contact whenever a Contact is created.  Below is a screenshot of an example of what the workflow could look like (you can add additional logic if needed):
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  3. Edit the User’s My Outlook Contacts Outlook Filter:
    1. Remove the Owner Equals Current User filter
    2. Select the Related entity Connections (Connected To)
    3. Add the filter Connect From Equals Current User

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Now whenever a User wants a Contact to show up within their Outlook, they can open the Contact record and click Connect -> To Me and fill in the Role of Outlook Contact:

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Whenever the User wants to stop a Contact from showing up within their Outlook Contacts, they can open the Contact and click on Connections and remove the Connection linked to them:

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