A replacement for Outlook Business Contact Manager (BCM) is rolling out to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers, beginning with those who have First Release enabled. Customer Manager uses Office 365 services to search your mailbox and store related information. At this time, it is only available on Business Premium subscriptions but will eventually be released to E3 and E5 subscriptions. Customer Manager uses Office 365 services to search your mailbox and store related information and will only be available to subscriptions that include both Office 365 software and services, as it requires both Outlook 2016 and Exchange Online mailboxes. It will not work with POP3, IMAP, or Outlook.com accounts.
While not as full-featured as BCM, it's more robust and should have fewer problems, with the only drawback being that it is limited to Office 365 business subscribers with a subscription that includes both the Office software and Exchange mailbox. Data is stored online and syncs to a new Outlook profile automatically.
When Outlook Customer Manager is enabled on your mailbox, a Customer Manager button shows up in the ribbon.
Clicking the button opens a pane on the right side of the mail folder and after logging in, you can create business contacts, create deals with or view activities (email, appointments, tasks, files) with the business contact or add notes to the contact. A timeline displays these activities in the pane.
Business contact details are not available in Outlook on the web, however, an iPhone app is available, giving you access to the business contact information on your phone. (An Android app will come later.)
To enable first release or to verify the setting, log into the Office 365 admin center then browse to Settings > Organization profile. The current first release settings are listed under Release preferences. If you need to change the setting, click Edit. To enable first release for all users in your organization, choose First release for everyone, or to enable it for some users, choose First release for selected users, and select the users. To disable first release, choose Standard release. After making your selection, click Next and complete the dialog. Don't forget to click Save to finalize and save changes.
Screenshots are available at Introducing Outlook Customer Manager—relationships made easy for small businesses (Office Blogs)
Migrate BCM to Customer Manager
Outlook MVP Eric LeGualt has a free BCM to Outlook Customer Manager (OCM) migration tool at BCM Migration Assistant. This utility automates migration of business contacts, accounts, and opportunities to OCM.
Key features of the BCM Migration tool:
- Migrate default business contacts, accounts, and opportunity fields to the equivalent OCM fields
- Map additional BCM fields to OCM custom fields
- Automatically migrate BCM opportunity stages and create new OCM deal stages
- Migrate Business Notes and Phone Log history to OCM activity timeline
Eric also offers paid migration services, if you want his help migrating BCM to Outlook Customer Manager.