Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Training
Required Fields in the Process Bar
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In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the December 2012 Service Update introduced new flow forms for Account, Case, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity entities. A significant feature of the flow forms is the Process Bar for the Case, Lead, and Opportunity entities. It helps keep records on point and allows users to easily track their progress towards completion or closing.
Just like the old forms, the flow forms are highly customizable, including the Process Bar. You can learn how to configure the Process Bar by watching the “Process Control Configuration” lesson. One thing that is covered in that video is adding fields to the Process Bar. In this lesson, we will demonstrate what can happen if required fields are added to the Process Bar in an Opportunity record.
As you can see in this open Opportunity, there are four stages by default: Qualify, Develop, Propose, and Close. In the body of the form, there are two required fields: Topic and Currency. Required fields are marked by a red asterisk and must be filled in before the record can be saved.
Just like any other field in the body of the form, required fields can be placed in the Process Bar; however, some complications can arise.
I will quickly explain, and then demonstrate these complications. If I update fields in multiple stages without updating the required field, and then attempt to close the record from a different stage, the record may not save successfully. I will be prompted to provide a value for the required field before closing the record. If I don’t do that, any changes I made to the record since its last save will not remain.
This sale is currently in the Develop stage of the Sales Process. I have already inserted a required field labeled “*TEST” in the Propose stage. If I make a change to any field in any stage other than “Propose”, I can save the record successfully. Say I mark the Identify Stakeholders step as “completed”. When I click the save icon in the lower right-hand corner, the record saves no problem. If I click over to the Close stage without officially progressing through the sales process, and then I change one of the fields, I can save the record successfully. Watch what happens if I select the “Propose”stage and mark the Develop Proposal step as “completed”. I am not able to save the record. In fact, once I select the stage with the required field, I will encounter saving errors unless I provide a value for that field.
If I officially progress the sale to a stage with a required field, I can no longer change the stage until the required field has a value. Basically, I am unable to progress or regress the Opportunity. For example, say I’m working on this sale and I have gathered all the necessary information to progress it to the Propose stage, so I click the “next” icon.
I may not be ready to provide a value for the required field, but I need to record other information. Unless I fill in the required field, I can’t save the record. This means I can’t even make changes to fields in the body of the form. What further complicates the matter is that I can’t regress the sale back to the Develop stage so I can enter information into other fields and save those changes.
It is important to understand that this is not a bug, nor is it an oversight. Required fields are used to record critical data. Perhaps an important Workflow cannot be triggered until a value is provided for it. Maybe related records need to roll up to a parent record. This lesson is not trying to say that it is bad practice to place required fields in the Process Bar, just that it is good to know how they impact the form.
One solution to these complications would be to make the field business recommended instead of business required. That way, users would see that the field is important, but its presence in the Process Bar doesn’t hinder their ability to save changes made to the record.
Another solution would be to simply place the required field in the body of the form instead. That way it gets populated upon the record’s creation. However, if it is data that is not typically gathered until later in the process, then this may not be the solution for you.
Finally, you could simply make sure users are aware of this functionality. Perhaps the field needs to be required, and it makes the most sense logically and practically to have it in a later stage of the Process Bar. As long as users are aware of these saving restrictions, they can interact with the form accordingly.