Microsoft Dynamics Flow has been around for a while (as long as Dynamics 365), but many organizations are still wondering, “Why might we want to use Flow?” – OR – “How can we start using Flow?” Well, those are great questions! There are many reasons that Flow could aid your organization but the primary reason we see for simple uses of Flow, is to automatically write information from Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement to another application (I will refer to “D365 CE” or “CRM” going forward in this blog). Let’s explore a little more about the type of technology in general.
Flow is based on a Microsoft Technology called “Logic Apps” which have been around longer than Flow, although it too is a new technology – only a few years old. Flow has been built as an easier, more “analyst” friendly type of technology. You do not need to be a developer to use it. As such, it makes it a lot easier for organizations to have automations put into place without having to use an integration or other similar technology that requires a developer. Microsoft has developed a number of connectors for Flow to allow different technologies to communicate – right now it is closing in on 200 and growing! Here is a list of connectors: Microsoft Flow connectors
Let’s explore an example of setting up a Flow between D365 CE and Microsoft SharePoint. In this specific example, we’ll have a Flow taking a new Case that has been created in CRM and creating a record item in a SharePoint list using that CRM information. One potential reason for this scenario is that there are employees in the organization that need to know about customer service problems that do not have a license in D365 CE, but do have access to SharePoint. Here is a walk-through of how to create the flow:
First, I select the CRM Connector for Dynamics 365:
Next, we get to select the Trigger: which is what kicks off the Flow from CRM:
As you can see, I’ve selected “When a record is created”.
Immediately following, the Flow screen updates and asks me to select the Organization name and the entity. I’ve chosen Cases from my D365 system:
Flow then prompts me to choose an action or a condition. There are other options, but these are the primary two. I’ve chosen an action…. And then Flow wants to know where to put the information from CRM. I’m going to choose SharePoint.
Flow now wants to know what SharePoint site and where in the site to put the data:
I select the site and then I select the site list. I’ve pre-created a list in SharePoint called “CRM Cases”. In that list, I’ve created fields to match up to the data from CRM. This is a condition that needs to be done before you create the Flow. You can always edit the SharePoint list and the Flow later if you need to make changes or corrections.
Flow, now knowing that I want to take data from CRM Cases and put it into the SharePoint CRM Cases list, shows me all of the fields in the SharePoint list and provides the source data fields from CRM so that I may select each of the fields that go into SharePoint. Here’s how it looks:
The completed mapping is below:
Now, we just save the flow and we can see it work:
I go to CRM and I create a new case:
I fill in the case information:
And VOILA! The case is now also created in SharePoint!
It really is just that simple! I encourage all organizations that have similar scenarios or even those a little more complex to give Flow a try. I really think you’ll like it and your Organization will have a new tool to help everyone stay connected.
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