Managing Approval Processes In Dynamics 365

In some instances, an approval stage will need to be built into a process before workflows can progress.

For example, when web forms are posted a marketing manager might first want to check the quality of data before this is applied to Dynamics 365.

In another scenario, a manager might want to approve new orders before they are routed to accounts for invoicing, especially if these exceed a specified value.

Across Microsoft Business Applications there are plenty of options to configure approval rules which can be triggered from virtually any Dynamics 365 action or event.

Microsoft Flow 

Microsoft Flow is an online service that automates workflows across various web services. In addition to Microsoft products including Dynamics 365, Office 365 and SharePoint this also connects with third-party service including Dropbox, Google Drive and Survey Monkey.

Using Flow, organisations can sync data between apps and deliver automated notifications including approval requests.

Approval requests can be delivered through emails and push notifications. An individual responsible for approving actions can also manage these in the Flow approvals centre.

Dynamics 365 Workflow

If there isn't any need for a third party connector, and the entire process can be handled from within Dynamics 365, a regular CRM workflow is often the best solution.

Another important consideration will be the individual who will make the approval. Using the standard Flow functionality, approvals will be sent Dynamics 365 users.

However, depending on the type of process, an approval might need to be granted by a CRM contact rather than a user.

One example, could be an approval that sends a notification to a customer when an agent believes they have resolved a service issue requesting confirmation that the ticket can be closed. 

One limitation that we have found in Flow is that the standard functionality only provides a simple text box to display the detail that requires approval so this is not well suited if data is best presented in a table.

Example

Our team work across both solutions to address individual requirements and in some instances this can involve both.

Using the above example, a sales manager wants to check all new orders above a threshold before they are processed.

An order can consist of multiple product items so it will be more effective to display this in a table format to help approvers quickly assess this detail and confirm.

For this type of requirement our team will build the approval in Dynamics using an HTML button which links to an HTTP endpoint that pulls in the appropriate detail. In this case, it will display product lines from an opportunity record.

Where an approval is handled within Dynamics, we will construct this within a guided process flow.

Using this example, an approval stage is added to the opportunity process flow to enforce this control once an order is received.

Further rules are applied through field security controls that restrict approvals to authorised individuals only.

As shown below, a new email notification has been delivered asking the recipient to approve or decline the order:

By clicking 'approve' the opportunity will be converted into an order record in line with the configured process flow.

As part of this continuing workflow, for several clients we have configured a further process to automatically email confirmations to customers when orders are confirmed.

For these scenarios, we have used Microsoft Flow to produce a PDF of the confirmed order which is then sent as part of the approvals process.

To complete this workflow, a further Flow process can be added that will add the PDF to the appropriate Sharepoint directory.   

This is just one example to demonstrate how approval checks can be applied within a Dynamics process and how this process can be automated.

Contact us to learn more and find out how we can help you implement a robust automation process.


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