A Comparison of Standard Workflow in Business Central and Power Automate Workflow

A Comparison of Standard Workflow in Business Central and Power Automate Workflow

Alex Wiley, a Senior Presales Consultant at ArcherPoint, delivers a video presentation on Standard workflow versus a Power Automate setup in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. With so much information on setting up workflows in Business Central, this video provides a comparison between the Standard workflow setup in Business Central and setting up a workflow in the Power Automate environment.

For example, the eighteen-minute video shows how the Standard workflow uses one approval tile, while the Power Automate environment offers multiple. Plus, you can send different types of records in Power Automate based on different criteria to multiple people in other groups. Other topics include creating approvers, chains, limits, and/or groups and notification setup; modifying events, condition filters, and responses as needed.

Wiley also offers tips, common requests, and a comprehensive view of the Power Automate environment. Popular requests include the ability to see who the sender is, add Recipient to the Approval step, customer blocking and order locking of record automatically on the field update, or by request for approval.

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The transcript of this video on Standard Workflow and Power Automate follows

Hello and welcome to this ArcherPoint presentation on Business Central workflows standard versus power automate. My name is Alex Wiley. I’m a senior presales consultant here at ArcherPoint, and I’m gonna be leading you through this demonstration today.

The first thing is I’m not going to be doing a step by step detailed guide on setting up a standard workflow in Business Central because there’s already quite a bit of information out there for Microsoft on that already. I am gonna review what the setups look like in comparison. So, you can see a Standard workflow set up in D365 Business Central versus what Power Automate requires.

And then we’re going to walk through a full setup of a Power Automate workflow. And then we’re gonna finish by covering some tips and common requests that people ask for when setting up workflows in Power Automate. So the first thing that we wanna look at is what setup is required. Usually you are creating a workflow from a template and that can be done either within Business Central or within power automate. The workflows are almost exactly the same. All of the templates that are available in Business Central are available in power automate with the exception of some integration workflows that are specific to inside of Business Central.

The next thing is when you’re setting up a Standard workflow, you’re assigning a condition and a response. So, in this example of vendor approval, when an approval’s requested you can set that to only be if the vendor belongs to a certain type of category or if there’s other criteria that you want, then you can modify your responses. And the responses include: should that go to one person, should that go to a group and power automate? All of those are handled in the Power Automate side. The second one is you create the approvers chains and limits. So if you’re using standard or power automate workflows, you still use this approval user setup. And so power automate will go and look at what this chain is just like the standard workflow. So in this case, uh, you know, Kelly is reporting to Molly’s reporting to Kelly and Kelly’s reporting to the admin, and then these limits are in effect.

So, you only need to request approval. If your sales amount for sales documents are above these mounts for those users in the standard setup, only you have to go into the users and set up the workflow notification options. So if you want it to use email, you have to define that email here. And additionally, if you are setting up the standard workflow within Business Central, you have to set up an email account and you have to set up and turn on your job queue entries and run that job queue. So that email notifications go out. So some pros and cons between those two different setups. Really the, the only pro that I’m aware of with the standard workflow with Business Central is that you can use the approval tile. You can have this on your, uh, role center and as requests come in and up to your sending approvals out, you can see how many outstanding sent and how many requests that you have to approve all within that, uh, dashboard.

The cons are you can only have a single condition type. So that screen that we looked at earlier, what a vendor request is approved. If we wanna set this here to say only vendors that are from the east region go to Sandra for approval and vendors from the west region, go to Bob for approval. You can’t do that because you can only have one condition and you can only have one type of workflow for vendor approval requests at one time in Business Central.

With Power Automate, you can have multiple and you can send different types of records based on different criteria different people in different groups. There’s less integration options with the standard workflow. You don’t have as many actions or notification options; can modify the power automate workflows to send messages through your teams and integrate other areas. You can create records, which we’ll look at or insert modify records based on responses. And I put job queue as a con, and that’s only if you’re not using it today, if you’re already using the job queue, setting up an additional job and managing that is not a big deal, but if you’re not using the job queue, setting it up only for managing this email notification internally could be a kind of a headache because you’re not familiar with using it. Now you have a whole new thing that you have to administer.

So we’re gonna jump into the Power Automate workflows. As I mentioned, the templates already exist in Power Automate and we have the benefits of the email being managed, the workflows, our, the same type you can have multiples, um, and our full ecosystem integration. So let’s go ahead and jump in and I do have one note here. If you do set up a Power Automate workflow and a Business Central workflow at the same time, and they’re both enabled the Power Automate workflow is going to override the Business Central workflow. So that’s just something to be aware of. If you’re setting this up and testing it and something seems wonky, just keep in mind, if you have two enabled workflows, the power automate one will supersede. So let’s go ahead and jump into our workflows and see our workflows in Chronus and I want to set up a new customer approval workflow. So I can go to power automate, say, create, go to my templates over here on the right hand side and Business Central customer.

And now we have request approval for Business Central customer. So I’m gonna click this, it’s gonna load my services and you’ll see it, uh, approving and getting the authorization for my related Microsoft services. You might have to click in here and authenticate if it doesn’t automatically load those up. And that’s unique for whichever power automated service you’re using, depending on which different Microsoft accounts you’re working with. And so the first thing that we wanna look at is here’s our record. So these are my Business Central power automate areas. We have to define our environment and our company name before our conditions work. So if I clear this out right now, it doesn’t know what to pull because I haven’t given it my company parameter. Now, when I come in and select the company, now it can pull these values because it knows what the customer record looks like in that environment. And you know, this can be anything from credit limits to, as I mentioned before, if you wanted to have different responsibility centers and different types of customers going to different people, you could set those conditions here. I’m just gonna start off and leave this blank. So we just have a simple one.

And the next we continue to define our companies and for our APIs, we’re using workflow endpoints. We can put in the email of who we want this to go to. I’m in my demonstration environment. So I’m using the admin administrator and now we have our conditions. If it is approved, then we use our workflow endpoints for approvals. And all of these are, are out of the box with power automate. So really it’s, this is exactly what you would do and just select the workflow endpoints. And then it knows what to do from there. And now it’s gonna send this email. You can modify the, uh, standard text if you want, for what comes back to the users when it’s approved or rejected, and that’s our workflow. So it’s fairly straightforward. You might find it a little tedious that you have to declare the company names and the APIs on, uh, each step. But when you really get into working with power automate, you’ll see that there’s so many things that you can do with it. And it can work across multiple environments. You can go to different Microsoft services. And so it’s, uh, yeah, the, the setup is a little redundant points, but it’s all because that gives you so much flexibility and so much power.

All right. So now we have this set up and ready to go. So I’m gonna come back and refresh my Business Central environment, and we’ll see that my customer, our approval workflow is here and set up in enable. And that’s another thing to point out is if you are not doing best practice and not setting this up in a, a test environment first, then you wanna be aware that as soon as you save your power automate workflow, it’s going to create and enable it in the environment. So, uh, you would have to either come into here, you can open this up and disable it from here. If you don’t want it to be immediately enabled, or you can go to your flows and click on this ellipsis here and say, turn off. So you don’t have to delete it and rewrite, you can just turn it off. All right. So now let’s see what this looks like. I have another user account set up. This is Kelly K. The account that we looked at with the approval user set up and Kelly is going to go in and create a customer. And we already have a default template set up. So we’ve already got our posting groups that defaulted in here, and now I can go to request approval and send approval request. Now that approval request goes out and it’s going to send an email to mod administrator up here. And then when that comes in, I will be able to look at and decide whether or not we want to approve it.

And here we go. So now we see the approval request and it’s requested by mod administrator. And we’ll look at, at the end, the tips on how to change this so that you can see who the request came from. That’s a common thing that is, uh, asked for, and now I can come in here and approve this and say, credit limit 10,000 and submit that. And now that’s going to simultaneously approve it in Business Central. And then it’s going, going to send a confirmation to Kelly with my note on the approval limit. So now we look in Kelly’s box and we see that we have credit limit of 10,000. So now the setup of the rest of the customer record can continue. Now. There’s really a lot of cool things that can be done in addition to that. Um, and so we wanna step through some of that and look at some examples. So some solutions to some common requests we can look at, if we want to see who the request came from, then here in the start of the approval, we go to advanced options. And in requester here, we can now change this. Uh, you might have to scroll down to the bottom depending on, uh, your instance, but you can say requested by user email down here and the dynamic content. And now when that comes through the request, we’ll say from Kelly K, this is, this is the request.

Customer blocking and order locking. So, you do have the ability to make changes to the records and that can, this can also include automatically filling in information, and that can even be on responses. So if you say yes to the approval, then you want to have it go out and add additional information. In this case, when we get the record, if we want to set it to block, so it doesn’t actually get used. Then we just add another Business Central piece and we say update record. And now we can come in here and set this so that it goes back to that customer record.

And we find our workflow endpoints and our workflow customers. And then we find our row ID, and then we can set blocked, equal to all. And now when the request is sent, it automatically blocks the customer. And so you have to go back in or you can set it to unblock automatically on your condition steps. So when you’re down here, if you wanna execute action, you can, uh, you can modify the record again and you can unblock it. Otherwise it’s up to the user to go in and unblock it after that set. So there’s a lot of things that you can do here. You can, you can update records. You can add records, delete them from, from different tables that are, uh, natively available outta the box. There’s quite a lot of options. So it’s all dependent on what you’re looking for. And if you need, and you have a very complex workflow, then you can modify, create a new API for a new table.

If you, uh, want to do something, that’s not in the default set of APIs. Now, another request is people ask, well, I want to have this blocked. Even if there is no request, because as soon as the record’s created it, hasn’t been approved. That actually has to be modified back here in Business Central. So if I come to my power automate workflow and you want to block this, as soon as the record is created, you come into the event, we have to disable it first. And then we go to our first event and we say, when customer is changed. So if like you saw where we have a template created, if you have any kind of default value like that, then you can come in and set your condition and say, when a customer record is changed, and then whatever that default that you’re using is so the general business posting group, for example, when that’s changed, then you want it to be blocked.

And so that’s how you can change that. So as soon as the records are being created, they’re immediately being blocked. One thing that doesn’t do is it, it doesn’t create any permission around the user that prevents them from unblocking. It, so it’s, if you’re very worried about the user going in and, and doing something that they’re not supposed to be doing, then you have to go even an additional step and you could do something like create a, uh, power app that looks at the customer record. And it’s basically a custom, uh, customer record screen where the user can’t see the block field. And you can either hide that in the setup, or you can use a power app. Uh, my colleague has created a great video on how to do that. So if you search for ArcherPoint how to start using power apps, um, you can see how to create an app.

That’s the customer record, and you are in control of those fields. If you really want a very isolated locked down methodology for that. And that gets into our, our last piece here using customer approvals with other other limits. So sometimes you need multiple workflows in place. For example, this customer approval workflow will lock it down, but then you can also use that in combination with the sales document approval workflow and say, Hey, if the customer doesn’t have a, if the customer has a credit limit, that’s, um, anything below a certain amount, or if it’s zero, then you can’t have the order created and you have to send those out for approval. That that’s another additional step. So sometimes depending on the amount of controls you need, you might have to use multiple workflows and go from there. All right. I hope this demonstration has been, uh, useful. And if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with the ArcherPoint, and we will do our best to answer your questions. Thank you.

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