Business Process Flows guide users through a defined business process. It is a visual representation of the steps that need to happen to get from Point A to Point B. They are meant to highlight important or mandatory information in order to progress. Out-of-the-box, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement provides a Lead to Opportunity Business Process Flow, a Phone to Case Business Process Flow, and a few others.
In this blog, we will build a Business Process Flow on a custom Claims entity (which builds from the health insurance provider example found here.)
What is Business Process Flows?
Business Process Flows are visual representations of the steps required to complete a defined process. Classic examples include the Lead to Opportunity process: Qualify the Lead by confirming contact details, Develop the Opportunity by entering in basic information, Propose the Opportunity details to the decision makers, and Close the Opportunity.
Figure – Out-of-the-box Lead to Opportunity Business Process Flow
Many businesses have these predefined processes but are not utilizing them in a user-friendly way. Business Process Flows connect the management process to the end-user through easy steps.
Business Process Flow Designer
Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement released the Business Process Flow Designer. Similar to the Business Rule Designer, this feature is a drag-and-drop Business Process Flow generator.
Business Rule Designer Terminology
Save, Validate, Activate – these are your primary commands. Save updates changes to the Business Process Flow. Validate is a new feature for Dynamics 365. This checks the logic within your Business Process Flow to confirm there is nothing missing. Activate turns your Business Process Flow on and will be applied in the environment.If you have multiple Business Process Flows on certain entities, you can change the default order (Order Process Flow), and you can select which security roles have access (Edit Security Roles).
The Components Tab of the Components and Properties Side Panel is a more detailed view of the +AddButton. Both areas let you add Flows or Compositions. A Flow is a step in the process, such as Qualify the Lead (see figure above). A composition is the details within the Flow. It defines what fields are required to progress or what workflows are triggered. Adding Workflows from a Business Process Flow is a new Dynamics 365 feature. The Properties Tab of the Side Panel lets you customize Flows and Compositions.
Snapshot takes an image of the Canvas area so you can review the logic in a flow-chart view.
Scenario: Building a Business Process Flow
You are a system administrator at a medical insurance provider. Based on meetings with business analysts and the claims department, you have built out a Claims entity. Furthermore, the claims department leadership team wants to ensure that each claims worker follows the same path:
- Identify and Classify the Claim – management wants to know who the contact is and what category of claim it is.
- If the Category is Long Term Claim, then the long-term team should be notified, and the claims worker should get additional details from the medical professional related to the claim.
- If the Category is not Long Term Claim, then the claims worker should do basic research and confirm details on the claim without support from the long-term team.
- Finally, the claim can be resolved and resolution details need to be sent to the contact.
Here, we will build out the Business Process Flow defined above.
Create the process within the solution, navigate to Process and click +New. Give the Process a friendly name and select the Category as Business Process Flow.
Make sure to select “Run process as a business flow (classic)” – see below for mobile only version.
The entity is required – this choice dictates where the Business Process Flow originates. Business Process Flows can span five entities. In our example, we could add on after the Resolve stage and add a stage that is linked to another entity, such as Payment.
Add Process DetailsEach Flow needs at a minimum one Step.
For our example, we will add four Flows to the existing Flow (one Stage will be provided by default).
Identify & Classify will have two required fields as the Steps: Contact and Claim Category.
Condition will check if the Claim Category is Long-Term Claim. Note: conditions can only pull information from the previous Stage.
If the Claim Category is Long-Term Claim, we will ask for Medical Details (fields added to Stage), and we will fire a workflow to alert the Long Term Team to the Claim (workflow added to Stage).
If the Claim Category is not Long-Term Claim, we will do the normal process by researching the claim and continue processing.
Lastly, regardless of Claim Category, the Claim will be resolved.
Activate the Business Process FlowActivating the Business Process Flow will make it available to the users.
Note: if the Validation fails, you will not be able to Activate.
This is the result:
Stage 1 of the Business Process Flow is “Identify and Qualify”
If the Claim Category is “Long-Term Claim”, then the “Long-Term Research & Confirm” Stage is visible; else, the user is shown the “Research & Confirm” Stage
Bonus Tip – Mobile
Business Process Flows are mobile compatible – you can access the same Business Process Flow that we created above on your mobile device by using the Dynamics 365 for Phones app.
There is another Business Process Flow Type: Run Process as a Task Flow (Mobile Only). This type of Business Process Flow (shown by clicking the clock icon at the bottom left of the mobile app screen) will walk a user through a task on their mobile device. In the images below, the out-of-the-box Update Contact Task Flow is shown.
The process of setting up a Task Flow Business Process Flow is similar to the method shown above.
Awesome! How Do I Get Started?
For new deployments, it is important to meet with subject matter experts and business leaders to define the Business Process Flows. Business Process Flows are great tools, but they are not appropriate in every situation – sometimes they’re overkill, so you want to make sure you use them sparingly to produce the most impact.
For example, in most cases, you wouldn’t need a Business Process Flow on the Email entity since most users know how to add an email (additionally, email is an excellent tool but it is secondary – it is part of the process, not the entire process). Big ideas can be captured with Business Process Flows – how does a user successfully resolve a claim, or how does the sales team successfully progress a Lead to an Opportunity.
For existing environments, it is best to build your Business Process Flow in development/sandbox environments, test in QA, and then push to production. A big concern here is a known Microsoft bug: the user interface part of the Business Process Flow will remain even if the Business Process Flow is disabled. What this means is, if a Business Process Flow is enabled, then a record is opened; when the Business Process Flow is disabled, the record that was opened will still show the Business Process Flow but with a note saying that the flow has been disabled. This is why it is critical to test I QA before pushing to production in a live environment.