Building a Microsoft Dynamics Workflow

Microsoft Dynamics Workflow is primarily based on the programming model known as Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF). With the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Extensions specifically for WWF, you can be able to develop your own custom components – with the Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET programming languages – so that you can be able to extend the Dynamics CRM’s workflow capabilities.

With Dynamics CRM Workflow, you can automate business processes during which information, tasks, and documents are passed between parties (from one party to another) and actions performed according to a laid down set of rules. It offers several out-of-the-box components for business administrators and users to use in modeling their business processes.

Dynamics CRM presents developers with a fresh mechanism to not only extend, but also customize the standard behavior in order to achieve the functionality required by their business applications. Workflow, on the other hand, delivers a wide range of new, powerful capabilities over previous versions of Dynamics CRM, such as Dynamics CRM 3.0, and offers functional compatibility with Dynamics CRM 3.0 workflow implementation.


Designing workflows in Dynamics CRM 2011 allows you to build powerful business processes, and create and monitor workflows using powerful tools that help you build and define various business processes around specific set of rules, reason, and even activities. Typically, a workflow can kick off based on specific triggers that have been formulated by you. For instance, an activity (email, update, or task) will automatically be executed for a given lead the moment it reaches an intended point in your sales cycle. For instance, a phone call activity that is to be built for a staffing company to give an employee a call the day prior to a recent hire.

Building a Microsoft Dynamics Workflow (CRM 2011): Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Navigate to Settings > Processes (you’ll find this under the Process Center group). Then select the ‘New’ button and enter a ‘Process Name’, then define your entity, then select ‘Workflow’ in ‘Category’. After you are done, just click OK.

Note that you can decide to create a completely new ‘Blank Process’. Alternatively, you may opt to select from ‘Existing Template.’

Step 2: From your Workflow Editor Form, derive an event to execute your process from under ‘Options for Automatic Process.’

To begin with, specify the scope – an element that further defines the records to be affected by the workflow. Then define when your workflow begins under ‘Start When.’ Finish by selecting options that are most suitable for your needs.

Note that in addition to automatic triggers, you may also want to specify if you want your workflow ‘Available to Run’ either as a ‘Child’ process or as an ‘On-Demand’ process. These are ideally event triggers.

Workflow Scope

Step 3: Using your Step Editor, Create your own Workflow Logic, as well as Actions.

Find the Step Editor Toolbar and choose to add a step via: Check Conditions, Workflow Actions, Wait Conditions, or Stages. By using Conditions, you can be able to add in some business logic to a specific workflow purely based on actions, events, and/or time.

Step 4: Once you have defined your specified Conditions, you can go ahead and add your Workflow Process Actions, including Create and Update, as well as assign a Record; Send email, Change Status, Start Child Workflow, Custom Workflow Actions, or Stop Workflow. You can now be sure that your defined action will eventually trigger as long as your set conditions are met.

Step 5: This step is optional. Using Stages, you can Group or bring together common Workflow steps. You may add a Brief Description before you Group all your steps.

Step 6: Now that you have all your Desired Criteria, Trigger Events, Steps, just activate your Workflow by simply clicking ‘Activate.’

Note that this is just a basic guideline for creating Microsoft Dynamics Workflows. Dynamics CRM 2011 allows for complex design and high-level architecture.

Finished Workflow

In Dynamics CRM 2011, you can create your workflows for nearly all entities and later revisit, revise, and even edit them where necessary. In addition, you can also monitor the workflow while the Dynamics Asynchronous Processing Service is running to enable you execute extensive operations. As you have seen, using particular criteria and business logic allows you to execute your desired workflow process to help improve organizational efficiencies.

Writing workflows that will automate business process

This applies to both Dynamics CRM 2015 on-premise and CRM Online.

A key part of enterprise software application is business processes, which can be any of the following key types:

a) Automated processes that depend majorly on communication among various applications that are mostly based on some set of rules

b) Interactive processes that depend on people too to initiate and run the process and make the right decisions while the process is running.

In both CRM 2015 and CRM Online 2015 Update, use a process to create and manage automated and interactive business processes. Currently, the name ‘workflow’ has been changed to ‘process’ but the entity used in implementing a process is still known as ‘workflow’.

Through Dynamics CRM process, business administrators and users can get many out-of-the-box components they can use in modeling their respective business processes. In addition, Dynamics CRM also provides developers with a mechanism to be able to extend and personalize the standard or regular behavior of processes in order to achieve the core functionality required by their business applications by letting them develop custom components.


The typical Dynamics CRM process is solely based on the programming model ‘Windows Workflow Foundation,’ which provides many multiple components – a runtime engine; a solid, base library of activities; a framework; and default implementations of various runtime services.

Apart from supporting processes that remain active for an extended period of time, the WWF runtime engine can manage process execution as well. Dynamics CRM delivers a fresh mechanism through which developers can be able to extend and personalize the standard behavior to attain the functionality required by their own business applications. Dynamics CRM workflow, on the other hand, provides multiple out-of-the-box components that business administrators and users can use in modeling their own business processes.

Through Microsoft Dynamics Workflow, you can automate business processes in which information, tasks, and documents are passed from party to party whilst actions are being performed according to laid down set of rules.

Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of DynaMe. DynaMe is a blog focused on cloud based Microsoft Dynamics.