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Using CRM workflow to overcome laziness, I mean, become more efficient

Using CRM workflow to overcome laziness, I mean, become more efficient

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CRM MVP Mitch Milam returns as our guest blogger today to talk about one of the most power features of CRM. You can read more from Mitch on his blog.

CRM workflow can be used for all sorts of interesting things and can sometimes help you do your job in a surprising number of ways. Let’s take the following example as a “surprising” way.  I have entered some sample data, but after I entered the data, I realize that I really didn’t make most of the records verbose enough to be useful, as you can see from the following screen shot:

image

I now have two choices: Edit by hand all of the single-word records or come up with some fancy bulk editing technique to get the work done for me.

Let’s go with option number two and see where we end up.

What Won’t Work

I can’t use the bulk edit feature because I want all of my records to be different.

I also don’t want to edit them by hand, as mentioned above.

Finally, I don’t want to write any code because that would be a real waste of my time.

How about a Workflow?

Have you ever considered using workflows for editing?  No?  Well then, let’s give it a shot.

Step 1: Create the workflow

This is pretty basic workflow at this point.  We have given the workflow a name and selected the entity, which is a custom entity called News.

We’re using CRM Online so the Scope defaults to Organization.

Finally, we will be executing this workflow manually so we want to clear all of the check boxes except for On demand.

image

Step 2: Add a workflow step

Now we need to add an Update step to our workflow.  In this step, we will be updating both the Headline attribute and the Body attribute, as you can see below:

image

If you look closely at what we’re updating we are adding new text into each field then we are adding the field to itself.  Huh?  Will that work?  You bet.

Here is what is happening ( using the Headline attribute as an example ).  We are actually performing the following calculation:

“This is important news headline number “

+

[the existing contents of Headline]

Which results in something like:

This is important news headline number one.

We then perform a similar calculation on the Body attribute.

After publishing our workflow, we can put it to use.

Step 3: Executing the workflow

After returning to our News View, we need to select all of the News records that need to be updated.  When you click run workflow button, the following dialog will appear:

image

You need to click OK to select the workflow then OK again to run actually it.

Step 4: Viewing our results

After waiting a short amount of time for the workflows to execute, we can then refresh the News view and see the results of our handiwork:

image

Is that not cool or what?

Conclusion

So what did you think?  Does that open up your eyes a little as to the possibility of using workflow to edit data?

And how long did it take?  Less than two minutes. And that is with me taking screen shots and pasting them into Windows Live Writer so I could write this article.  Since it was only two fields, I could have actually done the whole thing in less than a minute if I was really trying.

Good luck with your own workflow efforts,

CRM MVP Mitch Milam



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