Enhanced Business Process Flows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Business Process Flows were introduced in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 giving users a more intuitive interface to manage cases, opportunities and other workflows.

CRM Process Flows guide users through each step in a defined process to clearly see what steps have been completed, and what needs to happen next.

With proactive guidance throughout, these flows guide users to a desired outcome using an organisation’s proven methodology and process rules.

However, in CRM 2013 Business Process Flows were subject to several limitations.

Firstly, they didn't support branch logic (If / Else) and were only designed to work in a linear manner.

Also, they offered no basis for advanced programming that would enable a CRM developer to extend these functions.

In the latest Dynamics CRM 2015 release Microsoft has enhanced these capabilities:

  • Business Process Flows now enable branching rules through the user interface which can be evaluated in real time.
  • Individual steps and stages can be setup where branching rules are defined.
  • Another restriction in CRM 2013 only enabled entities to be added to the process flow if a one : many relationship existed. CRM 2015 will add entities to your BPF even if they don’t have a relationship to the entity you’re coming from.
  • BPF programming is now available through a client API which can be updated the stage through programmatically.

To explore some of these points further, let’s take a basic example for selling a software solution.

The initial request will be treated as a Lead. If the prospect is interested in trialing of these any products it will be qualified an opportunity. If not, it will be disqualified.

Once a trial is completed, we’ll make a quote invitation, if declined the user will be prompted to close the opportunity.

The screenshot below shows the updated CRM 2015 Business Process interface.

At the bottom there are options to ‘Insert stage’ and ‘Add branch’:

The add branch option is new in CRM 2015 enabling conditions to be added to the flow. You can apply multiple conditions in a rule using AND/OR conditions.

If the condition is be true (Yes) the extra 'Interested in Trial' stage will be appear, otherwise it will be go to the else part.

Once the condition criteria is saved it will ask for a stage to be inserted. In this example we’ll insert the stage for a product trial.

In the same way a further branch is added to define the process if our quote invitation is accepted.

In the above ‘Deliver Quote’ screen a new option is available to set a relationship with another entity. If no relationships exist, this can be set it to none.

The complete Business Process Flow is shown below. In this scenario a CRM user will be prompted to close the lead if the answer to ‘Interested in Trial?’ is set to no.

This can be seen on a new Lead record. In the example below there are only two stages: ‘Qualify and Close’.

As ‘No’ has been set to the trial invitation question the only available option will be to close the lead in line with defined rules.

When the answer is marked as ‘Yes’ the Process Flow is dynamically increased to 3 stages with an additional ‘Trial’ stage following the initial qualification.

In line with the defined BPF rules the lead will now be qualified to an opportunity.

A final branching rule was set at ‘Trial’ stage to determine if the prospect required a quote.

If a positive answer is given to this question a ‘Deliver Quote’ stage is automatically added to the opportunity BPF.

In this example the Business Process Flows spanned three unique entities, the maximum limit in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is 5 entities.

Although our example was a simple demonstration BPF’s allow up to a maximum of 30 stages per Business Process and up to as many as 30 steps per stage. Each branch can be up to 5 levels deep.

We hope this have given you a useful introduction to Business Process Flows and extended functionality now available with the latest Micosoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release.

Please contact us if you want to find out more and discuss configuring Process Flows on your system.


Click here to see a demonstration of the updated process flows and other improvements in the Dynamics CRM 2015 update.