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Create and edit processes

Applies To: CRM 2015 on-prem, CRM Online

Defining and enforcing consistent business processes is one of the main reasons people use Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Processes are a group of features that you can use to define and enforce consistent processes for your organization. These consistent processes help make sure people using the system can focus on their work and not on remembering to perform a set of manual steps. Processes can be simple or complex and can change over time.

Processes are designed to be used by people who aren’t developers. The rules that are defined in processes contain similar logic that a developer may apply using code, but you don’t need to call in a developer each time you want to change the rules. However, you do need to have a clear understanding of the logic in the rules and understand the capabilities of each type of process. You still need to apply processes carefully and test the results to make sure you get what you want.

The following table provides an overview of when to use each category of process.

 

Process category Description

Workflow

Use workflows to automate business processes behind the scenes. Workflows are typically initiated by system events so the user doesn’t need to be aware that they are running, but they can also be configured for people to manually initiate them.

Workflows can operate in the background (asynchronously) or in real-time (synchronously). These are referred to separately as background workflows or real-time workflows.

Dialogs

Use dialogs to create a user interface that will guide people through a script for customer interaction or a wizard to perform complex actions consistently.

Actions

Use actions to expand the vocabulary available for developers to express business processes. With core verbs like Create, Update, Delete, and Assign provided by the system, a Action uses those core verbs to create more expressive verbs like Approve, Escalate, Route, or Schedule. If the definition of a business process changes, someone who isn’t a developer can edit the Action so the code doesn’t need to be changed.

Business Process Flows

Use business process flows to define the steps in which people should enter data to achieve an outcome. Business process flows add a control to the top of a form that show people what data they need to enter to move forward to the next stage and ultimately to completion of a business process. A business process flow can span multiple entities.

noteNote
Business process flows are different from other types of processes. All processes use the same underlying technology and information about them is stored in the Process entity. Business process flows have a different configuration experience and behavior compared to other types of processes. More information: Business process flows

Only System Administrators, System Customizers or users with the CEO-Business Manager security roles can create processes that apply to the whole organization. Other people with the following security roles can create processes with limited access level. For example, people with the User access level can create workflows for their own use with records they own.

While people may be able to create business process flow, real-time workflow, or action processes, they’ll need to have the Activate Business Process Flows or Activate Real-time Processes privileges to activate them.

The following table shows the access level of processes based on default security roles.

 

Security role Access level

CEO-Business Manager

Organization

System Administrator

Organization

System Customizer

Organization

Vice President of Marketing

Parent: Child Business Units

Vice President of Sales

Parent: Child Business Units

CSR Manager

Business Unit

Marketing Manager

Business Unit

Sales Manager

Business Unit

Schedule Manager

Business Unit

Customer Service Representative

User

Marketing Professional

User

Salesperson

User

Scheduler

User

There are two paths to navigate to processes in CRM:

Settings > Processes
This path is easiest to access and allows you to use views defined for the Process entity, including any custom views.

Settings > Customizations > Customize the System > Components > Processes
This path provides convenient access when you are doing other customization work in the Customization tools.

Individual business process flows can also be edited using the Edit Process button in the command bar for the form where the business process flow is active.

noteNote
Business process flows are different from the other types of processes. More information: What can business process flows do?

Processes are user-owned, just like accounts and contacts. The actions that can be performed by the process sometimes depend on the privileges of the person who owns the process and sometimes based on the context of the person who is initiating the workflow.

Processes can check conditions, apply branching logic, and perform actions. They perform these actions in a series of steps. Business process flows contain stages and control advancement to stages, but they don’t provide any of the other capabilities. The following table describes the available steps in workflow, dialog, and action processes. For more detail see the topics for each type of process.

 

Step Process type Description

Stage

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Stages make the workflow logic easier to read, and explain the workflow logic. However, stages don’t affect the logic or behavior of workflows. If a process has stages, all the steps in the process must be contained with a stage.

Check Condition

Workflow, Dialog, Action

A logical "if-<condition> then" statement.

You can check values for the record that the workflow is running on, any of the records linked to that record in an N:1 relationship, or any records created by earlier steps. Based on these values you can define additional steps when the condition is true.

Conditional Branch

Workflow, Dialog, Action

A logical "else-if-then" statement, the editor uses the text “Otherwise, if <condition> then:”

Select a check condition you have previously defined and you can add a conditional branch to define additional steps when the check condition returns false.

Default Action

Workflow, Dialog, Action

A logical "else" statement. the editor uses the text “Otherwise:”

Select a check condition, conditional branch, wait condition, or parallel wait branch that you have previously defined and you can use a default action to define steps for all cases that don’t match the criteria defined in condition or branch elements.

Wait Condition

Background Workflow Only

Enables a background workflow to pause itself until the criteria defined by the condition have been met. The workflow starts again automatically when the criteria in the wait condition have been met.

Parallel Wait Branch

Background Workflow Only

Defines an alternative wait condition for a background workflow with a corresponding set of additional steps that are performed only when the initial criterion is met. You can use parallel wait branches to create time limits in your workflow logic. They help prevent the workflow from waiting indefinitely until the criteria defined in a wait condition have been met.

Assign Value

Dialog, Action

Sets a value to a variable or output parameter in the process.

Create Record

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Creates a new record for an entity and assigns values to attributes.

Update Record

Workflow, Dialog, Action

You can update the record that the workflow is running on, any of the records linked to that record in an N:1 relationship, or any records created by earlier steps.

Assign Record

Workflow, Dialog, Action

You can assign the record that the workflow is running on, any of the records linked to that record with an N:1 relationship, or any records created by earlier steps.

Send Email

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Sends an email. You can choose to create a new email message or use an email template configured for the entity of the record that the workflow is running on or any entities that have an N:1 relationship with the entity, or the entity for any records created by earlier steps.

Start Child Workflow

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Starts a workflow process that has been configured as a child workflow.

Change Status

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Changes the status of the record that the process is running on, any of the records linked to that record with an N:1 relationship, or any records created by earlier steps.

Stop Workflow/Stop Dialog

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Stops the current workflow, dialog, or action. You can set a status of either Succeeded or Canceled and specify a status message.

Page

Dialog

A container for prompt and response steps in a dialog.

Prompt and Response

Dialog

Displays a prompt in a dialog page and may provide a field to capture data from a response.

Query CRM Data

Dialog

Defines a query that returns data to provide options for a response in a prompt and response step of a dialog.

Link Child Dialog

Dialog

Starts a dialog process that has been configured as a child dialog.

Custom Step

Workflow, Dialog, Action

Provides extensions to the logical elements available by default in CRM. Steps can include conditions, actions, other steps, or a combination of these elements. Developers can create custom workflow steps. By default, there are no custom steps available in CRM. For more information for developers, see the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK topic MSDN: Custom workflow activities (workflow assemblies).

Processes operate after they are activated. Generally, when you import a solution that will create a new process in your organization, the state of that process in your organization depends on the state of the process when the solution was created. This is true for all solutions that were exported from a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online organization after the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13 release. If the solution was created using a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online organization before Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ‘13, the solution will be activated when you install the solution.

Sometimes you must re-install a solution or install an update to a solution that contains processes. In this case, the state of the process in your organization won’t change.

See Also

 
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