Continuing with our posts regarding the recent release of Dynamics 365, next up are the changes Microsoft has added to Business Process Flows. Additionally, head over to the CRM Roadmap site, or the CRM What’s New site to see more of the features that have recently gone live.
Business Process Flows were first introduced to Dynamics CRM back in the CRM 2013 release, and enhanced in 2015 and 2016. Continuing the trend, there have been enhancements in the Dynamics 365 release.
First off, one major change is that for every Business Process flow you have, you’ll see these show up in native Security Roles in a Business Process Flow tab. From this tab you’re able to provide Create/Read/Write/Delete/Append/Append To permissions to your BPF. This is because going forward, every business process you create and activate becomes a table in the database just like any other entity. Every instance of that process (applied to a record) is a row in the table.
For example, you may want certain users to only see the Lead to Opportunity Sales Process, but other users you want to be able to not only see the process, but also move between stages of the process (Write permissions). You’ll need to provide Append permissions if you want a user to be able switch processes and Append the process to the record they’re on. The security on the BPF tab does not drive the ability to update the fields in the stage – that’s driven through normal field level security and security role permissions that have existed pre-Dynamics 365. Note: Your process will not show up in this tab until you Activate the process. If you Deactivate it after updating security roles, the process will remain in the available in this tab so you will NOT need to go back and update your security roles again. It’ll only be removed from the security role tab once you delete the process.
Business Process Flows that are active on record can now be abandoned. This can be done via the Process dropdown, and business processes can be queried using Advanced Find (an entity will appear for each BPF you have) with status reasons of Active, Finished, and Aborted. Users can also mark a process as Finished if it’s in the last stage of the process. Abandoned processes change the process color to gray while Finished processes remain green. You can reactivate Abandoned and Finished processes.
Your abandoned processes will still be viewable via the Switch Process dialog, if you click on the Archived Processes link. You can then select the abandoned/archived process to view it.
With Dynamics 365, you’re no longer confined to having a single Business Process flow active at a time for a record. You can now have concurrent processes that run in parallel without conflict. Different users or departments may be working multiple processes on the same record at the same time, and the state of the process is maintained.
When you switch a process, you’ll be able to see what date/time each process was started on for the record you’re on.
Business Process flows now include additional actions that can be taken versus simply updating fields (steps) within as stage. Stages can now execute workflows with a trigger of Stage Entry, or Stage Exit (you may want some workflows to send notifications when users enter a stage, and others to send notifications upon users existing a stage).
Here’s a screenshot of the workflow component on the new Visual Process Designer (described in more detail here). Note that for the workflow to show up to be selected in your Business Process, it has to be set to run On Demand, has to be the same entity as the Business Process stage, and has to be activated.
A great use case of using workflow is to have it at the completion of a Business Process (therefore Stage Exit of the final stage), that will then use the Perform Action workflow step, to Set Process. You can then automatically kick off the next Business Process as the current Business Process ends. For example you can have the completion of a specific Business Process on an Opportunity kick off a workflow that creates a Case, and activates a Business Process on that newly created Case.