Introduced in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Business process flows gave an additional (in addition to dialogs) way to guide someone through creating or updating records within CRM. They aren’t perfect and had a number of limitations, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 however brings a few enhancements that hopefully will prove useful.
The fundamentals of Business process flows remains the same, the entity form displays a ribbon at the top of the screen which details stages and steps of the process flow this provides an area to enter or edit record information and move through the process by clicking “Next Stage” on the far right of the ribbon.
So what’s new in Dynamics CRM 2015?
Within Dynamics CRM 2013, the process flow are linear, that didn’t deviate or change, starting at the Start and finishing at the Finish, simple.
In Dynamics CRM 2015 it is now possible to branch and merge depending of the inputs that have been given whilst completing the Business process flow. It is therefore possible to have more flexibility in designing a Business process flow that is suitable for different situations.
As you’ll see in the example below, it is also possible to include multiple conditions and join them together with “AND” or “OR” logic.
The above example asks for the contacts credit limit, if the credit limit is greater than or equal to 500 AND less than or equal to 100 the Business process flow branches off and asks for us to assign or create an Account record for the contact. This wouldn’t’ have been possible in Dynamics CRM 2013 and would probably required a separate process.
Depending on the field data type that is being evaluated you will be able to use different Operators within the IF Statement.
Logic Type (Value, Field or Formula) can also be used to evaluate if the condition is true or false, this is the same when designing Business Rules.
One point to highlight…The value(s) in the condition(s) need to have been included the previous step of the Business process flow, before the condition.
When using Business process flows within Dynamics CRM 2013 you could loop back the primary entity once which closed the process flow and therefore would not allow any more stage to be added. In Dynamics CRM 2015 you can return to the primary entity throughout the process flow as long as the whole Business process flow doesn’t exceed five stages.
If we look at a business process in Dynamics CRM 2015 we are able to move from New Contact > [conditional branch to Account] > Review Contact > Open Case.
A similar business process in Dynamics CRM 2013 needs to more from New Contact > Open Case > Review Contact, note that we are able to Review Contact is midway through the Business process flow whereas in CRM 2015 this needs to be the last stage in the CRM 2013.
When transitioning or creating additional records within Dynamics CRM 2015 the associated entities don’t need to need to be have a One to Many (1:N) relationship, as they did in Dynamics CRM 2013.
Below in the Business process flow designer for Dynamics CRM 2015 you can now specify the relationship to association entities together, here we are able to set the Contact Relationship when creating a Case with in the Business process flow in Dynamics CRM 2015.