Microsoft Flow is an online service from Microsoft that enables workflows through various web-based services. Microsoft Flow can be combined with services such as Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Office 365, OneDrive, OneNote, as well as third-party services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, GoToMeeting and even SalesForce. When Microsoft introduced Flow many people asked: "When should I use the Dynamics Worklfow and when Microsoft Flow ?" At first glance, both tools are very similar. However, there are essential differences, which I would like to bring to you in this blog article.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Workflow
In which cases should we use the Dynamics Workflow ?
1. The entire process takes place in the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement
Usually Dynamics Workflow is the better choice when the entire process occurs within the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (but there are exceptions). The processes can be managed centrally and the performance for each individual workflow can also be seen.
2. Real-Time Workflows
A Dynamics Workflow can be run synchronously (real-time) or asynchronously (background). This means that if there is a change that triggers a workflow, the workflow is triggered immediately or shortly thereafter. Use the Dynamics Workflow for immediate actions.
3. Email notifications
One of most common workflows is an automatic e-mail notification. It is very easy to create a workflow that sends a notification to the sales manager, for example, if a sales opportunity closes or reaches the next level. The e-mail can contain a hyperlink directly to the CRM entry. Thus, work can be done directly on the data set.
4. On-Demand Workflows
If you want to give the user the possibility to manually trigger the workflow, the Dynamics Worklfow is without question the right one. Dynamics users can trigger a workflow through a button in the corresponding entity.
A Microsoft Flow workflow can almost be triggered by every Dynamics 365 event. Unlike the Dynamics Workflow, the Microsoft Flow is an external Microsoft service and is currently not available in the Dynamics 365 settings. To create a flow or edit it, you must visit the http://flow.microsoft.com page.
In which cases Microsoft Flow has the lead
Flow can be used for things that can not be easily implemented with the Dynamics Workflow. The following points contain processes or scenarios where, in our opinion, Microsoft Flow has some advantages.
1. Notifications for multiple channels
As already mentioned, the Dynamics Workflow is ideally suited for notifications via e-mail. With Microsoft Flow it is additionally possible to receive notifications via SMS. The Twilio Connector for Flow makes it easy to send SMS to any type of Dynamics 365 event. If the flow app is also installed on the smartphone or tablet, it is possible to receive push notifications on the mobile device.
2. Visualized workflows
The user interface when creating a Dynamics 365 workflow is not exactly intuitive and beautiful to look at. This can be especially a problem for users who are creating Dynamics workflows for the first time or only rarely. Flow, on the other hand, is eye-catching and operations more intuitive.
3. Granting of authorizations
With Microsoft Flow, permissions can be granted via e-mail, push notifications or the Flow App. The permissions are always given according to the same pattern. Whether it's PowerPoint, SharePoint, or Dynamics 365. Although it is possible to grant authorizations with a Dynamics 365 workflow, however, this is not very elegantly implemented. The person who grants an authorization must be an active Dynamics 365 user and log on to the CRM for each authorization.
4. Delete records
There is no default option in the Dynamics Workflow, which allows you to delete records in CRM. Of course, this option should be carefully avoided. The user's security role determines whether records are ultimately deleted or not.
5. Workflows at fixed times or intervals
Although there is the possibility to trigger Dynamics Workflows belatedly, this can not be compared with the possibilities of Microsoft Flow. Microsoft Flow provides a scheduler that allows you to specify the exact time, or at which intervals a workflow has to be triggered.
6. Better Office 365 integration
With Flow and Office documents in SharePoint, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or Dropbox, the integration between Dynamics 365 and Office 365 can be optimized. For example, an Excel can be automatically exported to the Dropbox or to OneDrive as soon as a new contact has been created.
7. Workflows across multiple applications
Many users share Microsoft products with other third-party applications. Flow has a lot of connectivity for third-party vendors and allows you to link applications outside the Microsoft world.
In general, each workflow should be viewed from start to finish. Do all processes take place within the Dynamics 365 customer engagement? Then the Dynamics Workflow is the right choice without question. If, however, services outside Dynamics are involved, or even third-party services, Microsoft Flow is the right tool for you!