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Posted September 16 2020
Written by Augustin Panait

Optimizing Dynamics 365 With Business Process Flows

One of the top features of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement SaaS (formerly known as Dynamics CRM) is the use of business process flows.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement SaaS_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

Let’s explore the following:

Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations?

Standard business processes reduce the risk of errors and increase the maturity level of a company. Tasks that rely on processes followed by all stakeholders generate a clear view of each situation. We can track the progress of every step based on relevant goals, within each department.

Below are the three main benefits of business process flows in Dynamics 365.

Versatility

  • In marketing: standardization of the lead qualification process. Goal #1 of marketing activities is to build a bank of leads. Goal #2 consists in improving lead quality for potential qualification, and investing the right amount of corporate effort based on the interest of leads in the company.
Marketing versatility_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch
  • In sales: management of opportunities.
Probably the most common automation process. It means to define the different stages of development of an opportunity, from opening to closing, whether it is won or lost. The main advantage is the monitoring of upcoming opportunities to follow up with sales goals.
Sales versatility_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch
  • In customer service: incident management.
One of the most important KPIs in customer support is response time. Once it is well defined, incident management offers overall control over open incidents, and prevents unnecessary micromanagement.
Customer service versatility_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

Flexibility

With very little setup, business process flows adapt to any business model. In all the implementations we carry out, we analyze the processes in place, and adapt the business process flows to your reality. Here is the example of a configurator that adapts the sales process to the management of opportunities:

BPF Setup_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Flexibility_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_CreatechFigure 1: BPF Setup

Automated Actions

Dynamics 365 allows automating actions at each stage of the process, before or after transitioning to the next stage. A tool such as Power Automate (included with our Dynamics 365 license) boasts over 300 connectors compatible with various software. You will find a few possible scenarios below.

  • Sales: email automation for opportunities estimated at over $1M, with a probability of achievement of at least 80%.

Connector to use:Sales connector_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Automated Actions_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

  • Customer service: SMS notification for escalation of high priority incidents, unresolved within 3 hours.

Connectors to use:Customer service connector_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Automated Actions_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

  • Operations: service request accepted by the client, then sent to a tech via Microsoft Teams.

Connector to use:Operations connector_Why Do We Use Business Process Flows in Our Implementations_Automated Actions_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

In short, the system virtually covers all your business needs.

The Evolution of Business Process Flows

Business Process Flows first appeared in Dynamics CRM 2013. Until quite recently, the functionalities and design of Dynamics had not significantly changed.

This is what Dynamics CRM 2016 looked like before Dynamics 365 transitioned to the cloud:

Dynamics CRM 2016_The Evolution of Business Process Flows_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

Since its transition to SaaS, Dynamics 365 has undergone several major improvements:

  • Simplified Setup (see Figure 1);
  • Option to trigger automated processes when entering or exiting a process step;
  • Option to create child processes and branches based on rules and branching conditions:
Child processes and branches_The Evolution of Business Process Flows_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch
  • Addition of business process flows to Dynamics 365;
  • Substantial ergonomic improvements;
    • Optimal use of space;
    • Fields linked to each step only display if we click on the step involved;

Fields linked to each step_The Evolution of Business Process Flows_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

    • Option to pin the step on the right side of the screen;

Pin the step_The Evolution of Business Process Flows_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_CreatechPin the step_2_The Evolution of Business Process Flows_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

If you are still using a non-SaaS version of Dynamics, or if you have not yet transitioned to the Unified Interface of Dynamics 365, you should enjoy the system update!

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Business Process Flows in Microsoft ERPs

The concept of business process flows is present in all Microsoft-based ERPs. Here is a use case with Business Central.

In Business Central, the Sales Cycles process is very well organized. It boasts the following features:

  • Option to set up several cycles based on the context of an opportunity;
  • Dynamic steps;
  • Control over probability of success, and win rate of opportunities;
  • Quotation required at a certain stage;
  • Activities specific to each step of the cycle.

Sales Cycle Stages_Business Process Flows in Microsoft ERPs_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

Business Central’s sales process can easily adapt to your own process. This allows the implementation of Dynamics 365 Sales to Business Central’s sales cycle, all in compliance with the stages of the process at hand. Follow the links below to learn more about Business Central:

7 Reasons to Choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

Are you ready for Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Business Process Flows and KPIs

The concept of business process flows is especially important for two reasons:

  1. Work becomes structured. By following the process, all members of the same department develop the habit of complying with the same steps.
  2. Monitoring KPIs is highly revealing. Structured work generates reliable KPIs, very useful for informed decision-making.

The sales pipeline is a classic example. Here is a report generated using Power BI, one of Microsoft’s business analytics service, which provides an analysis of the different stages of the sales cycle over a given fiscal period:

Opportunity value by pipeline phase_Business Process Flows and KPIs_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

Another notable example is the management of quarterly sales goals. By following the steps defined in the business process flows, a sales manager can view the following data in real time:

  • Active opportunities;
  • Opportunities won;
  • Goal reachability.

Active Goals_Business Process Flows and KPIs_Optimizing Dynamics 365 with Business Process Flows_Createch

Please refer to the following article to learn more about business intelligence: What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Follow the links below for more details on how we use business process flows in different client implementations: Dynamics 365 Sales

Contact us for further details on business process flows and the implementation of different Dynamics 365 modules!

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