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I've installed 'salesforce for outlook' on my machine and it working fine, now i need to deploy to all the users in my org. just wondering what is the best way without disturbing any of the user or does every single user have to install 'salesforce for outlook' plugin manually on their PC, same like me?

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Yes, as per the release notes and the Salesforce for Outlook Trailhead module, you will need to install the program to all users who require Salesforce for Outlook. The best way to achieve this is to provide the .msi version to your IT team, who will then install the .exe to the machines of users during a weekend or period of inactivity.

As per the Trailhead module:

Roll out Salesforce for Outlook in one of two ways.•Coordinate with your IT department to roll out the software using our .msi installer, which your IT pros can use to manage and push installations to all of your sales reps at once. •Provide your reps with our user guides and videos to train them to install the software on their Windows systems. Remember, it’s necessary for reps to periodically upgrade to the latest version of Salesforce for Outlook. Having your IT department push upgrades with the .msi installer ensures that all of your reps work from the same version. Otherwise, you’re stuck supporting multiple versions, which makes it harder to troubleshoot problems and manage users. If you don’t have IT resources at your disposal, it’s pretty easy for your sales reps to download and install Salesforce for Outlook. Later in this unit, we’ll show you a list of resources you can share with your reps to get them started.

Both versions of the installer are available from personal settings in Salesforce. 1. Close Microsoft® Outlook®. 2. Close Salesforce for Outlook. To do so, right-click the Salesforce for Outlook icon (Salesforce CRM for Outlook system tray icon) in your system tray, and then click Exit. 3. From your personal settings, enter Salesforce for Outlook in the Quick Find box, then select Salesforce for Outlook. 4. Click Download. Then click Save File. If the Download button is unavailable, ask your administrator to assign you to an Outlook configuration.

My steps

I rolled out Salesforce for Outlook to ~ 200 users in the past.

  1. I got the computer names of all users who required the programme via Control Panel | System | Computer Name
  2. provided that information in an Excel spreadsheet along with the .msi version
  3. gave that to the IT department who then pushed the .msi version to all users during a weekend. 4. Documentation was provided to users before hand and training sessions were scheduled too, to train users up on the tool.

Best practice and key questions

Obviously, the best practice is to try out with a pilot group first of all to identify the most optimum Salesforce for Outlook customization for your use case. For example, do you really want to sync all Events to Salesforce automatically? Or would you prefer users to have the autonomy to sync only particular Events? What sync direction do you want? Your business needs to understand the impacts of this. The more users and more locations you are deploying to, the more complicated things are going to get. A good idea is to get clear sign off from the business as to what is required.

My views post rolling out Salesforce for Outlook

Personally, my view is that Salesforce for Outlook is actually a distraction. The typical argument from Sales is that it helps to quickly add events from Outlook to Salesforce, thereby saving time and improving user experience. On paper, this sounds great because typically the challenge has been to move Salesforce users (especially Sales) from Outlook to Salesforce as the golden source of contacts and events/meetings.

However, in practice, at least in my experience,

  1. A huge amount of support work from Operations is used to ensure Salesforce for Outlook installations and configurations stay working the way they are expected to. As SfO isn't a cloud app, this can especially take a lot of time trouble-shooting issues that occur once users install other programmes. For example, one user was using ExcelConnector or a similar app, and that had a detrimental impact on SfO.
  2. If events have increased ten fold in your Salesforce org, so what? If the events themselves have minimum information then it's not very helpful.
  3. A lot of data analysis time is spent cleaning up incorrectly sync'd events ('pick up shopping', 'pick up dry cleaning' - yes, personal events can be sync'd if used incorrectly) or events that add zero value.
  4. Mandatory fields aren't enforced via SfO sync'ing.
  5. Get ready to enjoy all those 'if Rob and Alex are both diligent Salesforce users and they both sync the same event...do the events merge to become one unique event? Otherwise, we are recording that we have 2 events at X Bank Inc when in fact, we had only 1...' MIS related queries.

I think adding events / meetings straight into Salesforce via the UI is actually a better way forward. It may in theory take a few more seconds, but the data will likely be much more accurate. And it continuously reinforces the behaviour that Salesforce is the golden source. Although, in fairness, my experience of sync'ing contacts from Outlook to Salesforce for a set of users was very positive.

I recommend checking out Salesforce App for Outlook too - as this is a cloud app for Outlook 365!! I haven't used this yet but it would seem to alleviate some of the issues rolling out Salesforce for Outlook.

Lastly, if you become a big user of Salesforce for Outlook, you may be interested to know what is on the road-map. Damien Joly was/is the product manager of Salesforce for Outlook and is helpful in explaining what is on the road-map for upcoming releases.

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