Monday, November 25, 2013

CRM 2013 : Actions

Until CRM 4 there were Workflows that could be used for asynchronous processing of business logic, generally used for setting up automated actions and defining sales process in Dynamics CRM.

Since CRM 2011, the workflows became a category under Processes and there was another category Dialogs introduced. Dialogs provided for execution of Dialog scripts to set up process flows for the Salesforce. These could be used to guide the sales people through the sales process using a question/answer format. The Dialog included execution of automated steps like the workflows.

With CRM 2013, the Processes have been extended to now include Business Process Flow and Actions in addition to the categories from the previous versions.

What are Actions

Actions are messages that can defined for an entity. Existing examples messages include Create, Update, Set State, Assign etc. With Actions, the CRM platform has enabled the creation of custom actions for entities to extend the XRM platform. 

Actions are a type of process that is run by using custom code that uses the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web services.If you are not a developer, or if you haven’t installed some solution that uses actions, you won’t be able to do anything with Actions in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. You cannot call an action from another process except indirectly through a custom workflow activity or plug-in that contains the code to call the action.

Actions open a range of possibilities for developers and people who compose business logic. Before Actions, the primary way that developers could implement business processes was limited to plug-ins or custom workflows. With these, developers can perform operations composed of verbs like Create, Update, Delete, Assign, and SetStatus. Developers refer to these actions as ”messages”. Each of these messages is based on actions taken on an entity instance. So if the goal of a process is to create a record, then update it, then assign it, there are three separate steps. Each step is defined by the capabilities of the entity – not necessarily your business process.

Where to use Actions 

Actions provide the ability to define a single verb (or message) that matches an operation you need to perform for your business. These new messages are driven by a process or behavior rather than what can be done with an entity. These messages can correspond to verbs like Escalate, Convert, Schedule, Route, or Approve – whatever you need. The addition of these verbs helps provide a richer vocabulary for you to fluently define your business processes. You can apply this richer vocabulary from clients or integrations rather than having to write the action within clients. This also makes it easier because you can manage and log the success or failure of the entire action as a single unit.

An example of a custom action could be “Approve”. Often times we have to design an approval process for Dynamics CRM. Once the item is approved, certain actions need to be performed. In previous versions it would either be implemented as a Workflow that is manually executed from the Workflows Dialog or it involved added of a custom attribute that when checked would imply the item is approved and then the workflow would capture the update of this field to process any automated actions defined.

Copied and Shared from : Microsoft Dynamics CRM blog

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