by Raine Steadman, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant

Business Process Flow in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Business Process Flows for Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM ensure you and your business enter data consistently and follow identical steps for each customer interaction. Classic examples of a business flow touch on critical business processes such as the Customer Service process, enabling your service desk to handle or escalate requests in the same fashion. Or the Lead qualification process establishing a quick and easy data capture method. Empowering Sales with key information and validating time spent on opportunities with high probabilities.

Why use business process flows?

Business process flows provide a streamlined guide for people to get work done. They provide a user experience that leads users through the processes their organisation has defined for interactions that need to be advanced to a conclusion. The experience can be tailored so that people with different security roles can have an experience that best suits the work they do. Business process flows define a set of steps to follow to arrive at a desired outcome. Each step provides a visual indicator that highlights where a user is in the business process. Business processes reduce the need for training because new users are naturally guided to which entity such as Lead or Opportunity should be used.

When to use business process flows

Use a business process flow when you want staff to move through the same stages and follow the same steps to interact with a customer. Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM comes includes several ready-to-use business process flows for common sales, service, and marketing tasks that you can use with little or no changes required. You or your partner can create custom business process flows.

What can business process flows do?

A business process flow definition is represented as a custom entity and an instance of a process is stored as a record within that entity. Each record is associated with a data record (such as an Account, Contact, Lead, or Opportunity) and in case of cross-entity processes, with a data record for each participating entity. With business process flows, you or your Microsoft Partner define a set of stages and steps that are then displayed in a control at the top of the form.

Business Process Flow in Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Infinity Group

Each stage contains a group of steps. Each step represents a field where data can be entered. People advance to the next stage by using the Next Stage button. You can make a step business required so that people must enter data before they can proceed to the next stage. This is commonly called ”stage-gating”. 

Branching Business Process Flows

What if your current business processes aren’t strictly linear. For example, a member may have different processes depending on if a lead is looking for a monthly or annual membership.

Business Process Flow in Microsoft Dynamics 365 | Infinity Group

Business Process Flows allow a system administrator to use IF/ELSE clauses to advance to different stages in the process depending on the information entered in the previous stage. It is also possible to merge branches into a single flow again.

Branching is easily customised through the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM configuration UI. Here you can also create a new Business Process Flow for a single entity or to move across out of the box or customer entities.

Partners can programmatically update Business Process Flows to collapse the process control bar, advance to the next Stage or skip a stage.

It’s also possible to change the existing Business Process Flow to a completely different flow based on the data steps that have been filled or the stage that has been entered. These automated options reduce clicks and improve user adoption by making Business Process Flows even more user friendly. The support for rule based branching and non-linear processes allow more users take advantage of this powerful business process tool.

“Even smaller businesses – like myself, a solo consultant, can benefit from this solution: says Krystian Szastok from Newtide Digital, who has been using Microsoft Dynamics and business process flows for a year now”.

What you need to know when designing business process flows with branches

Take notice of the following information when you design the business process flow with the branches:

• A process can span across a maximum of 5 unique entities.
• You can use a maximum of 30 stages per process and a maximum of 30 steps per stage.
• Each branch can be no more than 5 levels deep.
• Branching rule must be based on the steps in the stage that immediately precedes it.
• You can combine multiple conditions in a rule by using the AND operator or the OR operator, but not both operators.
• When you define a process flow, you can optionally select an entity relationship. This relationship must a 1:N (One-to-Many) entity relationship.
• More than one active process can run concurrently on the same data record.
• You can rearrange tiles (Stages, Steps, Conditions etc.) on the process flow using drag and drop.
• When merging branches, all peer branches must merge to a single stage.

The peer branches must all either merge to a single stage, or each peer branch must end the process. A peer branch can’t merge with other branches and at the same time end the process.

Setting up your first Business Process flow

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