Business Process Flow Vs Dialogs in Microsoft Dynamics CRM #MSDynCRM #CRM2013

Process Enablement in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is achieved through a number of capabilities including Business Process Flows, Dialogs and Workflows in Dynamics CRM 2013.

When is best to use Business process flows and when best to use Dynamics CRM dialogues is a dilemma that many CRM consultants and developers face.

This post gives a simple comparison table between Business Process Flows Versus Dialogs in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Point of Comparison Business Process Flows Dynamics CRM Dialogs
Session  Mostly for Multi-Session processes but could work for Single Session ones  Single session capture only.
 Wizard  Using process to reproduce all fields on a form is not recommended approach Misses opportunity to highlight key outcomes that should be addressed  Yes. Dialogs are perfect for a wizard based process.
 Guidance or Control


BPF are intended to guide a user through a process, not to control them. Strict compliance is not well served by Business Process Flows.

 Control.Dialogs are intended to provided a structured strictly controlled processes. Strict compliance is better served by Dialogs
 Linear Information Capture Where there are significant linear information capture processes, then dialogs or forms work well, and provide better mechanisms for this type of information capture.  Dialogs can be useful for information capture if the information is to be used across multiple entities.
 Tracking  Tracking of stage in a processReporting/ management awareness of state of business TrackingQuick insight to user on initial access  You can’t stop a dialog half way through, close it and then re-run it from where you stopped. Business process flows can via current stage and state tracking.
 Complex Processes Guidance Yes. Particularly cross entity and cross person, where mistakes can occur during the
hand offs between parties.Support for infrequently used or inconsistently performed processes, where mistakes are more likely to occur through lack of familiarity
 Yes as well. Dialogs can provide help, tips and guidance text throughout each page of Dynamics CRM dialog.
 Training Business Process Flows can assist by supplementing training.It can be used to support new processes before they are well understood by staff.Used to roll out new or changed processes, minimising need for explicit training Training material or sessions.  Not really. Dialogs are not a good approach for training users or for users who are not familiar with processes.

In summary, Business Process Flows and Dialogs are both equally powerful process enablement capabilities of Dynamics CRM. However, BPFs are more for guidance, multi session, tracking of process status. Business process flows provide the ability to show the current stage of a process allows user to rapidly see where a process is up to, for example reviewing a deal and seeing what has been completed to date. It can also be used to show related information easily e.g. the originating lead for an ongoing opportunity. BPFs are also good for ensuring key steps in a process aren’t missed providing consistent checklist for steps that need to be completed as part of the process. It also provides guidance through complex process flows and can be used for Training.

A Dynamics CRM Dialog on the other hand, is a single session Wizard Form, strictly controlled process which can be used in capturing completely linear information similar to forms but across multiple entities.

Hope this post gives some guidance on the difference in use of Dynamics CRM business Process Flows and Dialogs in a readable comparison table. Please note that this post has used content, text and information published as part of Microsoft’s Process Enablement White Paper (Download Here)

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