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Understanding Process Bars in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

What are Process Bars?

Process Bars in Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM solution) were released in 2013 and were updated with the guided process bar in 2016.  The screenshots below are from a CRM 2016 system however the process bars are available on both on premise and online versions of Dynamics 365 for sales and customer service. Process bars allows companies to include certain processes that users need to follow for certain procedures. The out of the box functionality with CRM systems is including a process for onboarding/new customers. This is the lead to Opportunity process bar, this allows the users to create a new lead, fill in the specific data that is needed then to access/qualify to the next stage which in this scenario is the Opportunity.

The process bar is called a Business Process Flow in CRM. These bars/flows can be created for any entity in the system and not just from lead to Opportunity. For example, if you want to create a process bar for the case entity so the support technicians know the exact process for a specific customer type or even a specific customer then a process bar can be created so the users can follow and every user is completing the same steps. The process bar allows you to insert any field from that specific entity onto the bar. If the field is inserted onto the form of that entity and a user fills the field on the form and it’s stored in the process bar, it will be filled in on the process bar with same data as well as it’s the same field.

Below we go into detail about how Process Bars in Dynamics CRM work, along with a handy 5-minute video that you can watch here:

How Process Bars work in Dynamics CRM

In the test system, I have created a new lead record. The process bar that is active on this lead record is the Lead to Opportunity Process bar. This allows the users to start from the lead record then qualify into an Opportunity.

Lead to Opportunity Process Bar in Dynamics CRM.

As you can see the process bar is currently in the Qualify stage as this is still in the lead record. The process bar has a couple of fields but only one is required. To see which fields are required, the fields with a red asterisk are “required” in the bar.  This means that the fields will need to be completed before the system allows the user to move to the next stage.  If the field isn’t completed and the user tries to get to the next stage, they receive the below message:

Error message from incomplete task in the process bar in Dynamics CRM.

This makes sure that users can’t move over to the next stage until all the required fields are filled out. When the field is set to Complete, then the user can move over to the next stage. This is a brilliant tool for companies as it makes sure that users get the required data/information before moving to the next stage. After the fields are filled in, I will qualify the lead into the Opportunity.  The process bar can be included into custom/different entities and the process bar can start from the case then go to a different stage of a different entity like the Lead to Opportunity does.

Develop stage in the process bar for Dynamics CRM on the opportunity entity.

As you can see from the above screenshot, I have qualified the lead to an Opportunity. This has now moved from the Qualify stage which was stored on the lead into the develop stage on the Opportunity entity. In the develop stage, there are some fields that are from the Opportunity record, as you can see one field is required as it has a red asterisks, meaning the user has to fill this in or set it as yes before they can move to the next stage. When I set the field as yes, another stage appears called Support. This is called branching.

Required field to be complete in the develop process bar in Dynamics CRM.

Branching within a process bar allows you to change the process based on a criteria of a data field. For the test system I have selected “yes” in the Support/Maintenance field, this has opened a separate stage which is part of the process bar but hidden unless the support field is set to Yes. This allows companies to say we still want users to use this process but if this specific field has a certain type then show the users another stage that they need to fill out before going to the next stage.  See below screenshot of the fields in the branched support stage.

Branching example in Dynamics CRM process bars with a branched support stage.

This is an important part of the process bar for businesses because it allows the company to edit the one process bar instead of adding different processes for one specific entity.  However, adding different process bars can be a good thing as well, as the process bars can be security enabled to only allow certain security roles of the users to see certain bars.

If you are not yet using process bars within your Dynamics CRM system and want to get more from them, then get in touch with Synergy Technology.

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