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Available Processes and Uses

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In the previous step, we looked at an overall view of the Power Platform. In this step, we will explore the various choices when it comes to automation in the Power Platform.

Each offers capabilities on its own, and you can combine the different automations to use the best of each to benefit our users. Each of these options will be explored in much greater details in this activity.

Business Rule

Business rules provide a simple way to implement commonly used rules. For example, set Field A required when Field B has a specific value. They can be implemented with an execution scope to run only in model-drive forms or also on the server when CDS (Common Data Source) processes a record update. These rules are built using a graphical drag and drop rule builder. Business rules can us simple logic to quickly enhance the user’s experience.

Business rules are built using conditions and actions. The following can be accomplished with business rules:

  • Set field values
  • Clear field values
  • Set field requirement levels
  • Show or hide fields
  • Enable or disable fields
  • Validate data and show error messages
  • Create business recommendations based on business intelligence

Classic Workflow

Workflows offer automation with or without direct user interaction. Workflows contain triggers that could determine a record’s participation in the workflow, define workflow triggers, and set actions to be taken as a result of the workflow running. There are two types of workflows available, real-time and background.

Workflows target a single entity (you can target additional entities in child workflows). A workflow can be triggered automatically based on user or system interaction with data or manually by a user initiating a workflow on demand.

With stages and steps to manage the workflow definition, it is highly recommended that you create a naming pattern that is easy to follow.

Available workflow actions include:

  • Create record
  • Update record
  • Assign record
  • Send email
  • Start child workflow
  • Change status
  • Stop workflow

If the out of the box workflow actions do not fully support your needs, developers can create custom workflow activities that extend that list.

An example of a workflow definition: Screenshot of Workflow Definition

Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow is a service that helps you create automation between apps and services that can synchronise files, get notifications, process approvals and more. It is built on top of Azure Logic Apps. Flows offer a modern workflow engine providing increased flexibility over the classic CDS workflow engine for background workflows. Flows can be packed along with other CDS solution components.

Building a flow:

Image showing the steps to building a flow

The main types of flows are:

  • Automated
  • Instant
  • Scheduled
  • Business process

Flow offers a rapidly expanding group of connectors including a CDS connector. A few examples are below:

Screenshot of common connectors available on the Microsoft platform

Business Process Flow

A business process flow offers users a guided experience for data entry following a defined path on a record. A business process flow can include up to five different entities within a single process. Business process flows can be simple and direct or offer conditional branching and merging based on business logic. User activity in a business process flow can be tracked by time spent in a given stage, and also used to trigger additional automation such as workflows.

Business process flows are designed using a graphical drag and drop editor.

Unlike the other processes mentioned here, business process flows are represented by both a process definition and a custom entity for each business process flow configured. This custom entity will allow more granular control of user access by using the platform’s built-in role-based security.

A note on dialogues: You may see a process called dialogues in various environments in which you work. This type of automation has been declared as deprecated and will be phased out over time. With no future investments planned in this type of automation, this course will not be covering dialogues. Information on legacy dialogues can be found here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/flow/use-cds-for-apps-dialogs

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Dynamics 365: Working with Power Platform Automation

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