Saturday, 16 March 2013

CRM 2011 - How to use Wait/Timeout in Workflows?

One of the great benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is that is has built-in support for creating Workflows. Creating a workflow involves defining a sequence of steps that describes what the workflow process should do, and when it should do it.

Often you will need to pause the execution of a workflow until a specific condition is met. To achieve this you will want to use a Wait Condition, which can be broken down into the following:
  1. Wait - use this to wait until a condition is met, examples of this could be when a Record Status changes, a field is updated or a value on a related Record is changed
  2. Timeout - use this to wait until a specific date, a period of time or a date relative to a field in a record e.g. 5 days after the Record Created Date
Example Background
We want to use Workflows to create a phone call activity so that someone from our sales department can follow up on newly created leads. When a user completes the activity we want to track if the lead has been contacted. If the lead has not been contacted within 7 days, we want to re-assign the lead to the 2nd line Sales team. 

For simplicity we will create two workflows to achieve this.

Wait in a Workflow
When a lead is created, it will trigger a workflow to create an associated Phone Call activity and wait until the activity is complete, once complete the workflow will update the "Status Reason" field on the Lead as "Contacted".

Timeout in a Workflow
When a lead is created, the Workflow will pause for exactly 7 days from when the Lead was created, when the timeout is reached the workflow will check if the Lead's "Status Reason" field is set to "New", if yes then the Lead will be re-assigned to the "Sales 2nd Line" Team.

Hopefully Wait and Timeouts now make a little more practical sense.

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