Out of the box, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 does NOT send meeting requests for Appointments that are created from CRM. This is handled very well from Microsoft Outlook, so the best practices are to create your Appointment from Outlook and track it in CRM using the CRM toolbar. Let’s learn more about the Dynamics CRM send meeting request functionality.
However, on rare occasion, there is a requirement to send a meeting request from CRM. That may be if you want Appointments created from workflow, or in the case that PowerObjects tackled recently, you want a meeting request sent to a shared calendar or resource in Microsoft Exchange.
The problem with getting an Appointment from CRM to display on a shared calendar is that Appointments do not synchronize between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Outlook through the sending of meeting requests. Appointments synchronize through the Outlook Client being installed on the user’s machine. Therefore, in order to synchronize Appointment to a shared calendar, you would have to set up the Active Directory user as a CRM user, and then set up a workstation with Microsoft Outlook and install the Outlook Client for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. All this would be JUST so that it can sit there synchronize appointments. That would be a big pain!
If you were to be able to create Appointments in CRM and have CRM send meeting requests, you probably would not want ALL appointments to automatically be sent as meeting requests. That is why PowerObjects created a plug-in for Microsoft Dynamics CRM which allows you to specify in a configuration area which Email addresses should be sent a meeting request.
Whether the Appointment is being scheduled for an Account, Contact, Facility/Equipment, Lead, or User, the plug-in looks at the E-mail address on the record. If the E-mail address matches one in the configuration area, a meeting request is sent for that Appointment.
Another variation of this plug-in is the addition of a checkbox to the Appointment indicating that a meeting request should be sent to all required participants that are not users (since presumably users have the Outlook Client for synchronizing Appointments). Even though Microsoft Outlook would still be the preferential way to send meeting requests manually, this field could be checked via workflow, if needed, and it might even be hidden from the user.
While this is not complete XRM development, it does give you a good idea how extensible this solution can be! Please let us know if you are looking for help with custom crm screens, hosted Microsoft crm, xrm development, or anything to do with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.