Dynamics 365 provides amazingly powerful tools for tracking business processes step-by-step, initiating stage-dependent actions, and maintaining strong relationships with clients. Dynamics 365 even comes with a handy drag-and-drop interface for creating and changing Business Process Flows, allowing enormous control over a business’s moving parts. Like any program, this process-creating function places some boundaries on what can go into a process.
Five’s The Limit On Entities
A process sometimes requires or benefits from the use of more than one entity. However, a single process can only “span across” up to five entities, though they don’t necessarily need to relate to one another. Each stage in a process works with an entity type. So, for example, if a process contains ten stages, those stages can only pertain to a total of five entities. Perhaps 3 stages regard Account entities, 2 stages to Opportunity entities, 1 to the PhoneCall entity, 4 to AccountManager entities, and 1 more to a Lead entity. Be careful, too, because when attempting to create stages belonging to a sixth or more entity type, Dynamics won’t warn the user until they try to save, popping up with the message below. If a job requires more than 5 entities, it’s likely the design might benefit from being broken up into more focused processes.
Five’s The Limit On Decision Tree Depth… Kind of
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During almost any process, decisions must be made and/or conditional events must be considered. “Is such-and-such allowed?” “Did they show up or not?” In designing a process in Dynamics 365, this is represented by adding a Condition component to the process map. Conditions can only resolve in two ways, a “positive” route and a “negative” route. As of now, there can only be five conditions in a given branch in any “positive” route. However, a process will support any number of conditions in “negative” routes. It’s a little confusing. If your process requires more than 5 conditions, you may need to break it up into more processes.
Some Conditions Apply… To Conditions
A Condition component must “ask a question” answered within the Data Steps of the Stage immediately preceding the Condition. Within a Condition, the Process creator can combine multiple AND or OR statements to create the rule, but the two operators cannot be used together. This means that a complex decision point in a Process—one requiring a combination of ANDs and ORs—will likely require some combination of multiple Condition components.
30 Stages, 30 Steps Each
There can be only 30 stages total in a single process. A lot can be accomplished in 30 stages, but the limitation is important to keep in mind. For reference, the out-of-the-box process, “Lead to Opportunity Sales Process,” has only four stages and twenty steps split between them. It would have to be a truly massive and complex process to come close to facing the 30-30 roof.
In all likelihood, only enormously complex edge cases will encounter the limitations of Business Process Flows in Dynamics 365. Dynamics 365 remains an incredibly useful tool for client-based operations.