Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Training
Productive Business Process Flows
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Productive Business Process Flows
Thank you for viewing “Creating Custom Dashboards.” Below, you will find a short practicum designed to help you reinforce this lesson as well as a summary of the material covered in the video.
Practice makes perfect! Complete the short assignment below to reinforce the material that you learned in this lesson. For guidance please refer to the instructions in this email and the “Productive Business Process Flows” video.
Create your own Business Process Flow. Make sure that your Business Process Flow contains at least two stages and that each stage contains multiple steps. You can use an existing Business Process Flow as a model, or design your own from scratch. Once you have completed your Business Process Flow, make sure to Save and Publish it.
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics CRM 2013, a Business Process Flow provides a visual guide that Users can follow to complete a process successfully. Business Process Flows are made up of two parts: Stages and Steps. A Stage is a part of a process that contains one or more Steps, and a Step is an item that could be an action or simply a data point that needs to be collected. Steps also happen to be fields in the database - data elements that are collected and tracked along the way. A Business Process Flow is represented by a bar across the top of an entity form, such as a Lead or a Case. Together, these Stages and Steps make up a Business Process Flow.
Process Flows can increase sales productivity in two important ways: by communicating to the end user the important steps and stages in the sale, service, or custom process that is unique to an organization and by potentially enforcing a standardized system, which many organizations lack. Business Process Flows also help track critical data elements that must be captured during the process itself, and in conjunction with the appropriate entity, such as the Lead, the Case, or whatever entity or entities support the process.
Step 1 – The Design of the Business Process Flow
To create a productive Business Process Flow, the first thing you must do is to map out the Stages and Steps in a separate document; Word or Excel work well for outlining both. At this point it is also important to identify whether more than one entity is going to be used. A good example is the Lead and Opportunity, where the entire process spans two entities. If you determine that this is the case in your process, you must consider and plan which Stage belongs on which entity.
While you are designing the Stages and Steps, ask yourself whether each step is necessary to move things along, or is it just a data point that can exist elsewhere on the form? Steps that are sufficiently important to present in the flow itself should be stored on the process flow bar, and should appear in your design document or Excel spreadsheet. Extraneous data elements not necessarily critical to the process can be stored on the entity form itself , since “Real Estate” on the process bar is in relatively short supply.
Note that as you plan your design, you must determine and note the data type of each step because “Steps” are actually fields in CRM. For each step, the data type must be identified. The following are examples:
1. A checkbox (Conceptually, this means “I have done this.”)
a. These are tasks that well can mark with a yes or no answer.
2. A date (I did this on this day.)
a. Here I can record the date of important event such as “First Contacted.”
3. A choice (This is the choice I made.)
a. We can use these to mark a choice that we have made. (For example, the fiscal quarter in which the sale has closed, which can be considered a critical data point for reporting purposes.)
4. A lookup (An existing account or contract is an example, but it can be a lookup to anything.)
a. In this example, the lookup is to identify if there is already existing information in CRM based around this, but the lookup data type can be used whenever it is appropriate.
5. Any other type of attribute that exists in CRM, such as Currency, Number fields, decimal fields, etc.
a. Any other type of field that exists in Dynamics CRM can be called upon and inserted into the process bar. This includes multi-line text fields.
To recap, once the Stages and Steps are identified, and once the fields themselves are constructed in CRM, then and only then are we ready to build the Business Process Flow itself.
Step 2 - Building the Process Flow
To construct the Business Process Flow, you must have the permissions necessary to create Business Processes. The most efficient way to Build Process Flows is by navigating to Settings, Processes, and clicking New. Then, choose “Business Process Flow” as the category, choose the entity, and provide a name for your process. The “Business Process Flow” creation interface will appear. Now you can add entities, if necessary, and you can also create Stages and Steps as necessary.
Here we will create the new stage on our Business Process Flow. Since we have already designed and created our steps in CRM as fields, we can choose them as we create new Steps. All we do is click New Step and then supply a name and choose the appropriate field that we created in our design.
Once we are finished, we can Save and then Activate the Business Process Flow. Notice that if there is more than one process flow for that entity, we can “Order Process Flow” by clicking above, and decide which order to present the flows in when a person clicks on an entity record.
Now that we have Saved and Activated, once we refresh the page using CTRL + F5, we can browse to the entity for which we created this process, and we will see it appear. You will notice that you can click the Ellipses and “switch” to the flow we just constructed. Having multiple business processes for a given entity allows for flexibility in sales and service organizations who have complex processes.
Step 3 - Using the Business Process Flow
We can use a Business Process easily. First, we open a record, and note the Steps on the Business Process bar. Here we can see what needs to be completed in the first Stage, before we move onto the next one. Once we perform the necessary Steps to advance the Process, it is important to report what we have done, which we do by interacting with the Process Bar and changing the Step’s value to whatever is appropriate. Now that we have completed the last step of a Stage we can click the Next button and save the record. It’s worth mentioning that this advancement can also happen automatically with a workflow.
Business process flows are important to both managers and end Users. Managers can run reports against the database using Stages and Steps as criteria. For example here we can see that our sales pipeline reflects the stages of the process log. End Users can interact directly with the Process Bar to keep track of where they are in any given process, on any given record.
It is important to note that it is possible to have more than one Business Process Flow for a form. For instance, if some Leads are handled differently than others, users can switch to whichever process is appropriate for the type of Lead in question.
This video has covered the basics for Business Process Flows, which are a new feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Dynamics CRM Online. To summarize the most important points, please remember:
Business Process Flows can improve productivity and enforce standard processes.
More than one Business Flow is possible for an entity.
When constructing Business Process Flows, please remember to design first, then build.