One of the most exciting new features in Microsoft Dynamics 2013 is the addition of Business Process Flows. Yes they are pretty, guided, and thoroughly ‘modern’, but more importantly they seek to replicate real world business process inside of an enterprise application. The real world processes do not have to bend to fit the constraints of data entry, multiple windows, or a pile of fields on forms. Instead, users are given only the interfaces they need at that point in time.
If you are not familiar with Business Process Flows in Microsoft Dynamics 2013, there is a picture of one below. These are presented as an area on top of forms in CRM that guide check lists and data entry into a form. As the stages of the process change, so does the color and little flag at the top. Administrators are free to change the stages and the content required to move to the next stage. The entered data can trigger additional workflows within CRM in the background. Multiple processes can be applied to a single form or record. A recent example we built for Opportunities was for a company that wanted one process for regular sales cycles, and another shorter one for use at trade shows. Users could quickly toggle between the two processes. That is the ‘what’ of Business Process Flows. Below we take a look at the top five reasons why you should use them.
USER ADOPTION: The overriding benefit of this new feature is user adoption. When users see only what they need when they need it, they are more likely to see the CRM tool as a help and not a hindrance to their core mission of sales, service, or marketing. It’s always important to ask what is the motivation of the CRM user to use the tool. This tool gives them the ability to manage more sales efforts quickly and efficiently. This is multiplied when they are working with a team selling approach.
CONSISTENCY: Business Process Flows can be used to ensure there is a consistent approach to your real processes. Many times, we use checklist or sign-off type of actions in the flow, like ‘Are key documents uploaded?’. Even though we are not asking for a data point that is necessarily replicated on the form elsewhere, we know that this user ‘signed off’ on the uploading of the documents. Customer trust also increases with standardized engagement processes. According to
IMPROVED COLLOBORATION: One of the cool things about this tool is the ability to move between entities from within the Process UI. Imagine a complex sales process that starts with an insides sales person creating an opportunity, but then gets handed off to an outsides sales person, then to a presales engineer, then to legal, and then back to the the outside sales person. With BPF, the process in CRM can start within the Opportunity form for the sales guys, then switch to an quoting or sample entity, then to a legal entity, and then back to the opportunity. All within the same flow and without having to have multiple windows open at the same time. Since BPF can be tied to traditional CRM workflows, the engaged parties can be alerted when stages are met and they are called into action.
INSIGHT: Management and the involved team can always know which stage the process is in. Because key data is consistently entered at the right stage of the process, forecasting and risk is more accurate and easier to roll up.
TRAINING: One of the more immediate improvement areas we have seen has been in training. Because BPF allows you to lay out ‘the way we do it’ in simple but specific terms, new users will learn process with less formalized training materials. New processes can be rolled to existing users with less need for training sessions.
by Customer Effective, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner