The business process flow feature in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps the user to understand the various stages associated with the business and the vital information that is captured in each stage. There can be multiple business process flows for an Entity, along with the ability to create custom ones whenever needed. This blog explains business process flow with Lead to Opportunity Sales Process as an example, including how custom business process flows can be created and managed in Dynamics 365.
Tip 1: In Dynamics CRM, a business process flow consists of various stages and within each stage, a certain number of steps have to be completed which will be the fields to fill out. Each stage of the business process flow will have a heading and users will be able to understand in which active stage they are in. Users cannot jump to the next stage of the process flow before filling the fields or completing the required steps in the current stage.
To see all the available business process flows in CRM, navigate to Settings->Processes.
Under Processes, change the view to Business process flows. It will list all the available business process flows in the system.
Let’s take ‘Lead to Opportunity Sales process’ Business Process Flow as an example.
Since business process flow’s primary entity is Lead, it begins from the Lead entity. When we create a new Lead, a business process flow section will be displayed on top of the page along with the fields to capture the lead details.
Tip: There is an option to collapse the business process flow if the user does not want to see that. Users can change the business process flow by using the ‘Process’ option in the top command bar if there exist multiple flows for same entity.
A business process flow will be having many stages. In the Lead to Opportunity business process, we have 4 default stages Qualify, Develop, Propose and Close. In each stage, the title will be displayed with a flag which indicates whether the stage is active or not. At the bottom of the flow there is a timer which helps us to identify how long the record has been in that stage.
In each stage there will be a set of steps to be filled by the customer before moving to the next stage. After filling the required information when user clicks on the ‘Next Stage’ option the next stage of the flow will get activated. Sometimes the stages may stay locked until user completes certain steps or actions. For example: from moving from Qualify to Develop stage, user should manually qualify the Lead using the top command bar options.
Once the Lead is qualified to Opportunity the entity will be changed from Lead to Opportunity and the flow active stage will also be changed from Qualify to Develop.
The user can now complete the steps and move to next stage until they complete the process. Finally, once the user closes the Opportunity using the Close option, the flow will also become complete and the Opportunity record will become read only. Users cannot make changes to the process stages until they reopen the Opportunity.
Business Process Flow Designer in Dynamics 365
Creating a set of business processes for your business can be challenging and time-consuming. The Dynamics 365 Business Process Flow designer helps users to define and manage their business processes easily.
In CRM the lead entity has a default business process flow to manage the lead to opportunity sales process. Assume that our organization needs to implement another business process flow for the sales process.
Now let’s see how we can create a Business Process Flow using this new designer. Navigate to Settings->Processes, then click on New. It will open a pop up, where you can enter an appropriate name for your Business Flow. Select the category as Business Process Flow. Now select the entity to which it is associated (e.g.: Lead) Once you enter the details click on OK – you will be redirected to the Business Process Flow designer page.
Once you open the designer page, on top of the page you can see a set of primary commands. Save, Validate, activate. The Save option updates the changes we made to the Business Process Flow. Validate is a new feature which checks logic of the business process flow and makes sure that nothing is missing in this. Activate is used to turn on or activate the business process flow within the CRM organization. The Order Process Flow is used to set order of the business process flows if we have multiple flows for the same entity. And the Edit Security Role option helps us to decide which security roles has access to this business process flow.
Tip: The components and properties side panel has options to add stages, steps, conditions and workflows to the flow which we are creating. Adding Workflows from a Business Process Flow is a new Dynamics 365 feature. We can drag and drop the components available here to the main canvas area in the form and values can be added.
Let’s assumed that our initial Lead identifying sales process contains two stages – a Sales Call and a technical call – and each stage contains certain steps through which information is captured. Let’s see how this can be implemented using the new flow designer.
We are starting with the first stage – Sales call. By default, one stage will be there in canvas. So, we can change the properties of that to our initial stage. We can set the stage name as Sales call and set the first data step as existing account. Now add one more step to the same stage – Existing contact. Likewise add other steps also.
Now to add one more stage to the flow, drag the stage option from components tab to canvas area and place it after the first stage. Add steps to that stage as the same way we did for first stage.
Now click on Save, it will validate and Save our Business Process Flow. Use the Order Process Flow option to place our custom business process first in the order.
Click on Activate to activate our Business Process Flow. Navigate to Sales->Leads->New Lead to see the result. Now the default Business Process Flow will be changed to the new Process Flow which we created.
Business Process Flows are mobile compatible. We can access the same business process flow in mobile using the Dynamics 365 mobile app. Business process flows helps the users to design business flows in an easy way based on the business process of the organization which they belong to. The stage and steps components can be easily dragged and dropped to the design area and connections can be set accordingly. So, even users with less development expertise can work on customizing the flow for their business quickly and effortlessly.
About the Author
Soumya P S is currently working as a Business Analyst at Suyati Technologies. She holds a certification in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customization and configuration. She is an expert in ASP.NET too. Soumya is an avid writer who likes to write stories, screenplays, poems and blogs.