CRM 2013 Business Process Flows

With the release of the RTM version of CRM 2013 on the near horizon, there are many exciting new features to look forward to:

  • A new command bar to replace the ribbon in CRM 2011
  • A flat user interface to replace the pop-up windows in CRM 2011
  • Auto-save functionality that saves a record that the user is working on every 30 seconds
  • Quick create forms which allow a user to complete a subset of fields required to create a record

To learn more about these new features, click on the following link:

While there are many new features to be released with CRM 2013, the one in particular I would like to elaborate on in this article is called Business Process Flow.

The business processes functionality was first released in the Polaris release of CRM 2011 (December 2012 Update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online).  However, at that time the business process functionality was limited to the lead, opportunity, and case entities. In CRM 2013, this limitation does not exist. Therefore:

  • Processes can be created for any entity
  • Processes can be created across entities including custom entities. For example, turning an opportunity into a quote, order or invoice. In addition, multiple processes can be created for the same record type and made available to users through security roles
  • Multiple processes can be created per entity and one can switch between each process in a record

So what are the basic steps to create a business process flow?

  • The first step is to enable the business process flow functionality for an entity, if it is a custom entity.  If it is an out of the box entity, the business process flow functionality will be automatically enabled:

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  • When the business process flow functionality is enabled on a custom entity, the following two fields will automatically be created.  The ‘ProcessId’ signifies the ID of the process associated with a particular record whereas ‘StageId’ signifies the ID of the current stage of a particular record in the process.

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  • To create a business process flow, proceed to Settings>Processes and click on ‘New’ to create a business process flow. Two new categories are available for selection in CRM 2013:post 2 image 3
  • In this case, select ‘Business Process flow’ and then select the entity, the process needs to be created for

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  • Next, add stages and steps to the process flow:

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  • Multiple stages can be added in the process flow and multiple steps can be added in each stage.  The required flag can be used to tollgate a stage to ensure that one cannot move to next stage without completing the required step.  A business process flow can include multiple entities by clicking on the Options buttonpost 2 image 6

The following are examples of out of the box business flow processes:

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Additional features of Business Process Flows

Switching: Multiple business flow processes can be created per entity and as such one can switch from one process to another in a particular record using the post 2 image 10 option available under the ellipsis in the record menu command bar. Selecting the ‘Switch Process’ option opens up a ‘Select Business Process Flow’ dialog like the example below.  Select the process you would like to switch to and the record will be refreshed with the new selected process.

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Process Editing: The process that is currently selected in the record can be edited directly from the record using the post 2 image 12 option available under the ellipsis in the record menu command bar.  However, please note that in order to edit the business flow process, one must have the appropriate privileges in his/her security role(s).

Role-Based: Business Process Flows are role-based, which means different processes can be designed for different job designations. Roles can be assigned to processes through the ‘Enable Security Roles Option’:

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Now that the end user can design business process flow, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will really provide a process driven user interface.