What are Business Process Flows?

Business Process Flows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 are a new and powerful addition to the Processes section that helps visualize the necessary steps in a business process.

From MSDN:

A business process flow guides you through various stages in the business process, from start to finish. …..The process flow will tell you where you are in the process, where you came from, and what to do next. You are able to continuously monitor your own progress. 

Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn481586.aspx

Creating/Modifying Business Process Flows

As business process flows are an out–of-the-box construct in CRM 2013, it is quite simple to create or modify a business process flow.

The easiest way to view all business process flows is to first select Settings on the command bar, then Processes from the sub-options in settings. Then you will be able to change the view of the processes to Business Process Flows (as shown below):

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013

By default, there are 3 business process flows already created and activated, and you can click open a process to view or edit its steps. When opening a business process you’ll see a pop up window as pictured below:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 2

 

Breaking it down

On this form there are a couple of key components that dictate how a business process flow should work:  Included Entities and Stages.

Included Entities:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 3

The included entities section shows how a flow will progress from entity to entity. Entities can be linked if there is an N-To-1 relationship from the leading entity. If I try to add more related entities from Opportunity for example, it lists all of the available relationships:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 9

 

Only a maximum of 5 entities can comprise the business process flow, and you can choose to close the loop, or finish the business process flow by selecting an option for Close Process Cycle:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 5

 

Stages:

Stages show the necessary fields that should be populated to progress in the business process flow. You can have as many steps as you like per entity, as many fields as you like within a step, and can set fields to be mandatory in a step to progress through the stage. This is all done out-of-the-box.

To add a new stage, select the relevant entity and hit the + Stages button:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 6

 

To add a new step, select the relevant stage (it should get highlighted orange on selection) and hit the + Steps button. A new step will pop up and you can select a field in the entity:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 7

To make a field required, you will notice that there is a check box for required – just check it:

Business Process Flow Dynamics CRM 2013 8

 

That’s it! With this out-of-the-box functionality, you will be able to have a process driven approach – showing users the most relevant steps in each stage while streamlining the work that has to be done for any process.

Extending the Out-of-the-Box Business Processes in Dynamics CRM:

Business processes are great out-of-the-box, but there are also a few things that we can do in terms of extending the functionality of the stages with some customizations. The two things that I have done are:

  1. Hiding/showing a section based on the current stage – learn how
  2. Using out-of-the-box field level security to apply security to the business process flow – learn how

 

Feel free to give me a ring if you would like additional information about Dynamics CRM 2013 and Business Process Flows.

 

Written by:
Henry Lin, CRM Consultant, FMT Consultants

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