Mon, 06/29/2020 - 18:12 By Amaury Veron

The CRM strategies make use of several processes and automation tools. Microsoft provides many resources to implement these. This article will present different methods available.

  • A Business Process Flow is a tool which is meant to help guide users through a business process in Microsoft Dynamics 365. There are visual steps and stages that are required for an employee to complete within a given cycle. They can play an important role in saving people time, reducing training costs, and increasing user adoption.
  • A Workflow consists of a series of steps and rules that serve to automate a business process. It can be triggered in various ways, e.g. when a record is created or when a field of a record changes. It can also be triggered manually. Workflows are developed using a graphical interface. Then, they can easily be used by the final user of the CRM. They can also be extended by custom dev with Dynamics SDK. 
    Note: Microsoft plans to replace Asynchronous Workflows with Microsoft Power Automate
  • An Action is similar to a Workflow. The main difference is that actions are invoked from a code, such as plug-ins. They extends the existing API with new "methods". 
  • A Plug-in is a code added in the CRM to extend its functionalities. It can be triggered when a record is created or updated, it can be triggered by the execution of an action
  • In Azure, the Azure Functions provide a way to develop functions that run in the Cloud. They support many programming languages such as C#, JavaScript, PHP. They can be used with Dynamics 365 using the Web API.
  • Also in Azure, the Logic App resource in Azure is a process automation tool using a graphical interface. It provides many usual programming functionalities: variables, conditions, loops, etc. Logic Apps provide dozens of built-in APIs (or “connectors”), such as Dynamics 365, Outlook, Gmail, Twitter.
    However, in some projects, Logic Apps can lack flexibility compared to Azure functions. Another important consideration is the cost. Logic Apps save time of deployment but are more expensive at execution than Azure functions.
  • Power Automate is a resource based on Logic App. The two are very similar, but here are a few differences: Power Automate is part of an Office 365 License whereas Logic App is part of an Azure subscription; some connectors are not available in Power Automate depending on the Licensing level; there are more development options with Logic Apps compared to Power Automate.

Logic App/Azure Functions compared to Plug-ins:

Pros:

  • They are used outside the CRM so it can relieve the computation resources of the CRM
  • They can be triggered on Schedule

Cons:

  • They can’t be integrated in a solution of Dynamics 365 so the deployment in environments requires some manipulations
  • They require a subscription in addition to the Dynamics 365 License

Note: Power Automate can now be used with Dynamics 365 without additional license (but with some limits), and can be put in solutions of Dynamics 365

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