The new visual process designer brings drag-and-drop design capabilities to Dynamics 365 for business process flows, task flows, and business recommendations.

  • For business process flows, the designer enables composition scenarios with workflows that can be configured to execute on Stage Entry and Stage Exit to further automate the business processes.
  • For task flows, the designer enables visual modeling of the flow structure and integration with portable business logic.
  • Business recommendations are rule-based, action-driven insights that can be defined by key users through the use of portable business logic.

In this blog, I will focus on how the Process Designer can be used to design Business Rules for Entity Forms.

There are 4 aspects of the Process Designer that I would delve into:

  1. Process Designer Command Bar
  2. Flow Designer
  3. Components and Properties Panel
  4. Validate Button on the Command Bar

Process Designer Command Bar

The Process Designer Command Bar lets you add a Flow or an Action to the Business Rule. A Flow comprises Conditions, and the Actions comprises of components such as locking and unlocking fields, business recommendation, setting a field value etc. It also lets you to Cut-Copy-Paste the Flow and the Composition Rules to other components within the Business Rule. Users can design the business rules here and take a Snapshot of the Business Rule to be shared with a wider audience or within their documentation.

process designer command bar

 

Flow Designer

The Flow Designer lets you build the business rules and apply conditions to it. You can drag and drop components such as Recommendations (New), Lock /Unlock, Show Error Message, Set Field Value, Set Default Value, Set Business Required and Set Visibility to the positive and negative conditions of the Flow.

Components and Properties Panel

The following components can be used as part of Business Rules on the Process Designer

  1. Recommendations (New)
  2. Lock /Unlock
  3. Show Error Message
  4. Set Field Value
  5. Set Default Value
  6. Set Business Required
  7. Set Visibility

Components (2) to (7) were part of the previous versions of CRM. The configuration of Business Recommendations is a new feature released as part of Dynamics 365. Think of a scenario wherein you are capturing the Day Time Contact Number and After Hours Contact Number for a customer. You could configure a Business Recommendation which would prompt the user to copy the Day Time Contact Number to After Hours Contact Number if the After Hours Contact Number is blank.  This feature lets the user interact and make decisions on the data they capture on the form, which wasn’t a possibility in the earlier versions of the product.

Here’s how this is done

  1. I need to first configure a condition on which this business recommendation need to work. In my case, the condition is this needs to fire when the ‘Day Time Contact Number’ field contains a value.
  2. I would then drag and drop a Recommendation component to the positive flow indicated by  check-mark.

recommendation-component

 

  1. Now I would specify the properties for recommendation by specifying the name of the field this recommendation needs to appear, the Recommendation Title and the Details.

properties-recommendation

 

  1. I’m not done yet! There has to be an ‘Action’ taken by recommendation. This is a mandatory step. In my case, I want the After Hours Contact Number to be populated with the Day Time Contact Number. The designer also provides you a Business Rule Text View which summarizes the business logic.

business-rule-text-view

Validate Button on the Command Bar

When you have designed the business rule, you can validate the rule and make sure there are no errors associated with the business rule by using the ‘Validate’ button on the Command Bar. The system does not allow you to save the business rule unless and until the validation is successful.

Here’s how it would look on the CRM form. The Recommendation appears when I fill in a value for the Day Time Contact Number. When I click on ‘Apply’ this copies this number to the After Hours Contact Number.

validate-button-on-the-command-bar

 

What it doesn’t do is to turn off the Business recommendation when it has been actioned upon. Maybe this something that could be logged on the CRM Ideas Portal for a further enhancement.