In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations need to optimize their operations to stay competitive. One of the best ways to achieve this is by leveraging workflows, which are automated, repeatable sequences of tasks that help streamline business processes. Workflows can reduce errors, increase productivity, and improve collaboration between teams. But with so many tools available, choosing the right workflow solution can be challenging.
Here, we’ll explore the differences between workflows created natively in Dynamics 365 Business Central and those created with Microsoft Power Automate. We’ll also provide guidance on when to use each solution, so you can make an informed decision on the best approach for your organization. So, buckle up, grab your coffee, and let’s dive into the world of workflows!
Native Business Central workflows allow users to automate their business processes directly within the platform. They are designed with a drag-and-drop interface and can be triggered by events, such as when data is created or changed. The workflows then move through different steps, such as sending notifications, approvals, and reminders until the process is complete.
Business Central offers several pre-built workflow templates for popular use cases like sales orders and customer accounts. These templates can be used or customized to fit an organization’s specific needs. These native workflows also allow users to create custom code blocks that extend the system’s capabilities beyond what is available out of the box.
Power Automate workflows provide an additional layer of automation that allows users to integrate with other platforms like Outlook and SharePoint. They’re also triggered by events within Business Central but, unlike native workflow, they can also interact with external platforms. This opens up a wide range of possibilities, including integrating with third-party applications, automating complex processes across multiple systems, and building sophisticated integrations between different applications and services.
Together these too workflow tools offer powerful capabilities to help organizations streamline their operations and stay competitive in today’s digital landscape, but knowing when to use which requires an understanding of each of their advantages in disadvantages, which we’ve outlined below.
Advantages of Native Business Central Workflows
- Centralized Management: Business Central workflows are set up and managed within Business Central itself, providing a centralized location for all workflow-related tasks. This eliminates the need for external tools or platforms to manage workflows, reducing complexity and saving time.
- Easy Approval: The approval functionality is integrated directly into Business Central landing pages, making it easy for users to access and manage it. Users can quickly see pending approvals and take actions within the system, streamlining the process.
- Simple Sharing: Native workflows can easily be shared within organizations, making it simple to standardize processes and ensure consistency across departments. This can be especially useful for complex workflows that involve multiple departments or stakeholders.
- Seamless Integration: Business Central workflows integrate directly within the system, making it simple to incorporate workflows into existing processes. This can help to reduce manual effort, minimize errors, and increase efficiency.
Disadvantages of Native Business Central Workflows
- Limited Flexibility: Business Central workflows are built on a pre-defined set of templates and rules, which can limit flexibility when designing workflows. This can make it challenging to customize workflows to meet specific business requirements, particularly for complex or non-standard processes.
- Limited Customization: While Business Central workflows can be customized to some extent, the customization options are limited compared to other workflow automation tools available. This can restrict the ability to create unique workflows to the organization’s specific needs.
- Limited Integrations: Business Central workflows are designed to work within the Business Central platform and may not integrate easily with other third-party tools or applications. This can be a significant drawback for organizations that rely on other software solutions to manage their business processes.
Advantages of Power Automate Workflows
- Integration with Other Platforms: Power Automate allows for seamless integration with other platforms, such as Microsoft Teams. This means that notifications and approvals can be handled within Teams, streamlining communications and reducing the need for multiple interfaces.
- More Notification Options: Power Automate provides more options for customizing notification emails, including the ability to add comments directly within the email. This can help to provide more context and streamline approval processes.
- More Approval Options: Power Automate offers more flexibility when it comes to handling approvals. For example, Power Automate can easily handle an approval request that only requires one out of three approvers, while a native Business Central workflow could not. This can help to reduce unnecessary delays and streamline the approval process.
- Greater Flexibility: Power Automate provides greater flexibility when it comes to designing workflows, allowing for more customization and control over the process. This can help organizations to create workflows that are tailored to their specific needs, rather than being constrained by pre-defined templates and rules.
Disadvantages of Power Automate Workflows
- Technical Complexity: Power Automate requires a level of knowledge and expertise with the platform. This can be a significant drawback for organizations that lack the resources to manage workflows in-house.
- Setup Complexity: Power Automate can be more complex to set up, especially for organizations that are new to the platform or dealing with more unique workflows. This often makes setting up workflows a longer and more challenging process than using the native Business Central workflows.
- Integration Challenges: While Power Automate offers integration with other platforms, there can be challenges in getting these integrations to work smoothly.
- Security: Power Automate workflows may involve the transfer of sensitive data between different systems, which can raise security concerns. Organizations need an understanding of these potential risks and take measures to ensure that data is protected during these transfers.
Which workflow tool should I choose?
Overall, native Business Central workflows provide a great starting point for automating business processes within Microsoft Dynamics BC, while Power Automate enables users to extend their automation capabilities beyond the boundaries of the system itself. Deciding which to use will depend on the complexity of the workflow your creating, the integrations you require, and your own technical expertise in relation to each of the platforms. Businesses need to take the time to consider their options when it comes to which platform to use. A great place to start is by working with the right Microsoft partner
How Catapult can help
At Catapult, we have extensive experience helping businesses design and build workflows for Dynamics Business Central. Our team of experts can help you assess your workflow automation needs and develop a customized solution that meets your unique requirements. With our deep understanding of Dynamics Business Central and Power Automate, we can help you navigate the technical complexities of workflow automation and ensure a successful implementation and adoption.
Our workflow automation services are just one of the many ways that we can help you unlock the full potential of Dynamics Business Central. We offer a range of services, including implementation, customization, training, and support. Our goal is to help you get the most out of Dynamics Business Central and enable your business to grow and thrive through our Client Success Framework.
If you’re interested in learning more about our workflow automation services or how we can help you maximize the value of Dynamics Business Central, we encourage you to contact us today. Our team of experts is ready to help you achieve your goals and take your business to the next level.