Not too long ago, Microsoft introduced an exciting extension to office 365 known as Microsoft Flow. It is a cloud-based service that allows you to create automated workflows between your favorite applications and services.

Microsoft Flow is particularly useful for Dynamics 365 users because it gives them the power to build workflows that automate time-consuming business tasks and processes without having to rely on IT departments and developers.

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How does Microsoft Flow fit with Dynamics 365?

By using a Dynamics 365 connector, you can connect to create flows that start when an event occurs in Dynamics 365 or some other service. This then performs an action in Dynamics 365 or some other service, just like the out-of-the-box Dynamic 365 Workflow feature.

However, it is only available on Dynamics 365 as an external service from Microsoft and thus can’t be found natively within Dynamics 365. This service lets you automate your integration for various applications through workflows.

It’s smooth and logical and, most important, it requires virtually no coding. Sometimes, we use Flow for things that Workflow can’t do easily.

 

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What can you achieve with Microsoft Flow?

The integration between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Flow means that we can develop new functionalities. For example, Microsoft Flow allows a power user who needs these new functionalities but lacks advanced developer skills to create workflows that are not readily achievable with out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 Workflow feature. Some of these functionalities include:

1. Automating approval of processes

With the Microsoft Flow approval feature, approvals can be made via emails, push notifications, and even from the flow app using the approval center.  You can quickly and easily create an approval Workflow for your processes without necessarily logging in to Dynamics 365.

2. Connecting to data across apps and platforms

You can automate the integration between Dynamics 365 and other applications, such as SharePoint, One Drive, Azure services, Dropbox, and even social platforms. This greatly helps to improve collaboration and interaction.

For example, you have a spreadsheet that includes all of the records that meet specific criteria, but you don’t want to use export to Excel; simply a create a Flow to update an Excel spreadsheet in your Dropbox or One Drive whenever a record is created in CRM.

3. Creating personalized workflows

Although Dynamics 365 workflows can be used to create personalized workflows, the interface can be a bit confusing to non-developers. On the other hand, Microsoft Flow provides an easy way with a user-friendly interface that a user can quickly use and understand.

4. Deleting records

Microsoft Flow gives users the ability to delete records by getting a list of records and executing an operation for each record in the list, which is not achievable using the standard Dynamics 365 Workflow.

However, a user’s security role must allow deleting records in Dynamics 365 in order to be able to make use of the functionality. It is also good to note that this functionality should be used with caution to avoid deleting the wrong data.

 

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How can you start using Microsoft Flow with Dynamics 365?

To start using Microsoft Flow with Dynamics 365, you need a connector. A connector acts as a proxy that allows Dynamic 365 to communicate. It works by providing a way for users to connect their accounts and leverage a set of pre-built actions and triggers to build their apps and workflows.

You can then choose to either create a flow using the available templates on Microsoft Flow or create a new one from scratch if the templates cannot be used for what you want to achieve.

To further understand Microsoft Flow, let’s consider a scenario in which a task is to be created from a lead whenever a lead is created on Dynamics 365.

  • Log in to your Microsoft portal and click on the “Flow” tile to launch the app. This navigates you to the Microsoft Flow website.
  • Click or tap My flows and then click or tap Create from blank.
  • In the list of flow triggers, click or tap Dynamics 365 – When a record is created.
  • If prompted, sign in to Dynamics 365.
  • Under Organization Name, select the Dynamics 365 instance where you want the flow to listen.
  • Under Entity Name, select the entity that you want to listen to; this will act as a trigger initiating the flow.

When record is created

  • Click or tap New step and then click or tap Add an action.

New Step and Add an action

  • Click or tap Dynamics 365 – Create a new record.
  • Under Organization Name, select the Dynamics 365 instance where you want the flow to create the record. Notice that it doesn’t have to be the same instance that the event is triggered from.
  • Under Entity Name, select the entity that will create a record when the Select Tasks.
  • Subject box appears. Click on it and a page appears where you can choose the field for the field to be inserted in the Subject field of the task when it’s created.
  • Then hit Save Flow and Done.

Once the Workflow is deployed, it will run in the background and users will have the ability to track the Flow execution history and detailed error logs for troubleshooting.

However, performance must be considered, because the more flows you have created that working simultaneously, the bigger impact that may have on system performance on your Dynamics 365 application.

Using Microsoft Flow, you can automate your business processes most especially integrations with external services to suit your business needs and requirements to ensure easy access to valuable data and saves loads of time over doing them manually. This provides a great opportunity to achieve more thus increasing your organization’s productivity.

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Written by Mariya Zinchenko Employee @ SherWeb

Mariya is a Junior Developer at SherWeb who spends most of her time exploring the technical aspects of Dynamics 365. She is currently completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and has a preference for coding and SQL databases. Aside from being a self-proclaimed techie and a regular subscriber to the TWIT podcast (This Week in Tech), Mariya has another secret passion: scuba diving. She has explored coral reefs and exotic fish in Egypt and is partial to bubble eye fish.