Microsoft Dynamics CRM is highly customizable and can be used to reproduce/automate business processes.   For someone familiar with the basic use and implementation of workflow processes in Dynamics CRM, creating short workflow processes can be attained by simply inserting a couple of steps and check conditions.  But when business processes become complex, it can become daunting and without planning, you can end up wasting a lot of time designing and re-designing the workflow.My general approach to planning a CRM workflow process is:Part 1

  • Identify the Business Requirements
  • Visually model the Business Requirements

Part 2

  • Translate the Business Requirements into CRM workflow processes
    • Initial CRM Planning
      • Create forms and fields
      • Identify triggers that start the CRM workflow process
    • Convert the Business Requirements into Dynamics CRM workflow processes that account for all possible cases
    • Identify duplicate processes
    • Identify CRM workflow process loops
    • Simplify CRM workflow processes

Based upon a real life scenario, in Part 1 of this post, I discussed identifying and modeling the business requirements.  Now in Part 2, I will discuss translating the business requirements model into full-fledged CRM workflows.


One of the business units in a company is working on a new venture with a series of manufacturers and needs to ensure that the manufacturers are being compliant.  They have placed auditors in distribution centers, but need a system to track/report on passed audits and the communications regarding compliance progress (or lack thereof.)  They intend to classify the manufacturers by status (red, yellow and green) to help determine which manufacturers are in compliance, and which might be troublesome.



Now that the business processes have been outlined, we need to identify the fields for form design.Scenario fields:

  • Audit Start Date
  • 1st Passed Audit Date
  • 2nd Passed Audit Date
  • 3rd Passed Audit Date

To begin planning the translation from business processes to CRM workflow processes, identify the trigger that starts the CRM workflow – for this scenario, the trigger is when the Audit Start Date is changed.


CRM workflows must be more explicit than typical business process because they must not only account for what should happen, but also for what should not happen.  They need to include early exits and account for all possible cases.  At first glance it seems that all the workflows, when looked at independently, seem simple to implement.  The Passed Audit Process and Status Update Process are simple enough, because there are few decision points (or Check Processes) and there are no looping processes.  The Audit Progress Process is more complex because it requires that a task be auto-created every five days until the next audit is passed, and it has multiple decision points.  Also, to ensure the most efficient path is used, you must plan for different cases that may occur.  For instance, what happens when a manufacturer completes all three audits before the first task is supposed to be auto-created? The workflow must account for all possible cases, at all times.  (In reality, this may not be realistic.  But designing your workflows with the 80/20 rule in mind and having a firm understanding of their function will help greatly in troubleshooting later.)All of a sudden, this simple business process…