Overview of Microsoft Dynamics 2013 Business Process Flows
In the December 2012 Update of MS Dynamics CRM 2011, we were introduced to the Business Process Flow on the Lead, Opportunity and Case entities. In MS CRM 2013, the Business Process Flow features can now be enabled for all entities, both out-of-the-box and custom. This includes the “refreshed” entities - Lead, Opportunity, Account, Contact, and Case. The “legacy” entities that do not have updated forms can still be brought into the new forms within a sub-grid and used as part of a Business Process Flow.
A Business Process Flow is a group of steps that lead to a specific end point, for your business. Instead of just setting required fields on forms and training your employees in how to complete the process, CRM 2013 provides a framework for guidance through a gated series of tasks.
As in any business system, there are a few limitations to keep in mind:
- A maximum of 10 separate Business Process Flows may be applied to an entity.
- A maximum of 5 entities may be associated with one Business Process Flow
- Each Business Process Flow may have up to 30 stages.
Here is a quick walkthrough of how to create, access, and deactivate a Business Process Flow…
A Business Process Flow can be created by: -> Settings > Processes > New Process
Once the business process flow has been created in CRM, stages can be added that will logically move the end user through the steps. The example below is for an “In Store Excellence Review” that might be used by a retail business, to evaluate each of its store locations.
Each stage can have multiple steps that are required or optional. The entire stage can be set as optional. If there is at least one required step within the stage, then this item will have to be completed before the user can proceed to the next stage in the process.
How are entities set to be available for use in a Business Process Flow? For each entity, under Settings -> Customizations -> Entity - there is a check box that allows Business Process Flows to use that particular entity. Once this checkbox is set to allow business process flows, it cannot be reversed. This is due to the underlying process that sets up the form fields for use in business process flow stages and steps.
Who has access to change the Business Process Flow? A user with the permission enabled to Activate Business Process Flows.
Once a business process flow has been created, we need to assign it to specific security roles in CRM. From within the configuration area for the business process flow, click on “Enable Security Roles” from the top menu bar. This displays the options for applying security roles, similar to the way these are assigned to forms. The business process flow can be made available to all security roles, or only to specific ones.
Once the Business Process Flow has been created and security roles have been assigned, the final step will be to activate it from within its configuration page.
Once the Business Process Flow has been configured with stages, security roles and activated, it will appear above the body of the form, on the associated entities as shown below.
When moving through the stages of the business process flow, the fields presented in the flow bar at the top of the form are directly connected to the fields on the form. So when the City field is changed to “Pennsauken” in the example below, the same field on the form itself is immediately updated to have the same value.
Since it is possible to have more than one business process flow associated to an entity, the user can switch between these by selecting the ellipsis menu and clicking on Switch Process.
The user will then be shown all of the business process flows associated to that entity that he/she has permission to use. The user can select another business process flow from the list and proceed from there. The user can only have one business process flow open at a time, on a record.
If we have multiple business process flows associated to an entity, these can be ordered so that the most-often-used flow will open first on the entity record. This is also dependent upon security roles, so the user may not see the top or any processes, if his/her security role does not have permission to do so.
If a business process flow is no longer needed, it can be deactivated through the configuration area in the top menu bar. Once deactivated, the business process flow will not be displayed unless there was already an instance of it in progress on a particular record. Then it will be visible and show the last stage in the process, for reference.
The full support for Business Process Flows is only available in MS CRM 2013. When an MS CRM 2011 system with existing business processes from CRM 2011 with the December 2012 Update is updated to CRM 2013, the existing processes will be brought forward and converted from an XML form to XAML.
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