Within Dynamics CRM 2013, there are a variety of tools available to help define and model out business processes, including Dialogs, business rules, workflows and now, Business Process Flows (BPFs). Today, I want to talk about BPFs because they’re one of the greatest additions to CRM 2013 and every business should have the opportunity to be aware of how to maximize this tool.
Why They Matter
Essentially, BPFs make it possible for organizations to represent their business processes in CRM, as presented in a easy-to-understand user experience. If there are three key takeaways that should be understood about the value of Business Process Flows, this is what they are:
- Enforce Standards and Consistency – Developing processes in CRM 2013 can help drive structure. Users can be prevented from progressing to the next stage in a process until they have completed the necessary steps. As a result, it becomes easier for users to grasp and use processes correctly.
- Easily Configurable – Many business processes are available out-of-the-box and can easily be configured by Power Users. (In other words, it doesn’t have to be a challenge to get started!) Find a list of out-of-the-box BPFs here.
- Save Costs on Training New Hires – By using CRM 2013 to help build out processes, it will be easier to train new users to follow standard practices.
Why now? What did we do before?
There has been a demand for process-centric and outcome-oriented guided experiences in CRM. Prior to CRM 2013, the development of business processes was achieved largely using dialogs and workflows. The introduction of Business Process Flows provides more structure and visibility into an entire process.
Putting BPF’s to Work: Pizza Delivery Example
The easiest way to demonstrate the value of BPFs is through using a simple example. In this case, I’ve mapped out how an organization might configure a Business Process in CRM 2013 in order to implement a pizza delivery process that will capture customer details and track the order. I’d encourage you to think about other scenarios where BPFs might be utilized in your business – potentially something like an opportunity qualification or customer onboarding process.
Now, back to pizza delivery. Whenever a customer calls, the following sequence of steps happens:
- Identify ordered item
- Capture Customer’s Contact Details
- Enter special instructions (if any)
- Confirm Order
- Prepare pizza
- Hand over to delivery
- Deliver to customer
- Accept payment
- Close order as complete
Now, if Pizza Delivery were an object in CRM, we could actually capture the whole process in the Process bar as below and have it function as a checklist for users:
To take it a step further, it’s possible to streamline this process even further by automating some of the steps through workflows that operate in the background. The level of automation used really depends on what you want to achieve with the process. For example, it would be possible to trigger an email to the customer confirming their order when one step is completed in the BPF. The possibilities are endless.
In addition to helping businesses enforce standards and save costs on training new hires, process flows like the one above offer organizations an opportunity to reflect on current practices in order to design consistent and streamlined processes. Hopefully I’ve helped get the wheels turning around how you can maximize these tools for your own business.