How to develop workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

By | August 12, 2014

Workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are used to automate business processes. They are specifically used to automate tasks that do not require user interaction. Workflows do away with the need of significant amount of coding. The system administrator has the permission to create workflows applicable to records all through the company’s implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Others can create workflows that affect the records they own.

Microsoft Dynamics have two types of processes: workflows and dialogs. Whether a process will be a dialog or a workflow depends upon the process properties which you select. Once a process is defined as workflow the other properties and the process logic which is available will be specific to workflows.

Each workflow requires the following properties

  • Process name- It’s not necessary that the process name be unique. However, if you anticipate having a lot of work flows, you need to have different names for the processes.
  • Category- This property determines whether this is a workflow process. You need to select workflow as the category.
  • Entity- Every workflow process has to be set to a single entity. Note that the entity cannot be changed after the creation of the workflow process.
  • Type- You have the option to specify whether the process is to be created is a new blank process or a process template. A process template is used exclusively for creating other processes. It cannot start workflow jobs.
  • Scope- The scope needs to be selected in order to determine the records that the workflow can act on. For example if scope is organization then the workflow logic can be applied to any record present in the organization. Else the workflow can only apply to a subset of records that fall within the scope.
  • Available to run- One option which can be selected is to run the workflow in the background. If you want to let users run the workflow from the “Run Workflow” command choose as on demand process. Choose “as a child process” if you want another workflow to be able to invoke this workflow.

Process Logic

Whatever process logic is added to the workflow will determine the specific action that the workflow will implement on records.

  • Stages-The stages are used to group steps in the work flow.
  • Steps- These define business logic within a workflow. They include conditions, actions, other steps or a combination of these entities.

The following steps can be added to workflows.

1. Check Condition-Defines a specific scenario, any actions to be implemented in case of the occurrence of that scenario.

2. Conditional branch– This defines an alternative condition, an action when the criterion in a check condition element is not satisfied.

3. Default action– It defines steps for all cases that do not match the criteria defined in condition or branch element.

4. Wait condition– Enables a background workflow to pause itself till the criterion defined by the condition is satisfied.

5. Parallel wait Branch– This defines an alternative wait condition which has a set of additional steps which are performed only when the initial criterion is satisfied.

6. Custom Step– Developers have the permission to create custom workflow steps that define conditions.

Actions – These define the steps for the work flow to do when the conditions are satisfied. The following steps can be added to the workflow.

  • Create a record
  • Update a record
  • Assign a record
  • Send an e-mail notification
  • Start a child workflow which is a nested that only executes when initiated by another workflow. The initiating workflow is termed as parent workflow.
  • Change record status
  • Stop the workflow
  • Execute a custom workflow action.

Start When– There exist a Start When option in the CRM and the user can check the checkboxes which he wishes to include. They are as follows.

  • Record is created
  • Record status changed
  • Record is assigned
  • Record fields change
  • Record is deleted

Now you have the required knowledge to create workflows that efficiently and effectively automate the core business process of your organization.

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