Using real-time (synchronous) workflows in Dynamics CRM 2013

CRM 2013 came not only with a new user interface and experience, but also with some cool new tricks and tools. One of those new features is the ability to create Real-Time (or Synchronous) Workflows.

Before, you had to either create a technical process using custom OData calls and jScript, or trigger a workflow then close the record and reopen or refresh it. But now with real-time workflows, you can very easily build processes that trigger actions in “real-time,” all within the familiar workflow builder for Dynamics CRM.

In this example we’ll show you a simple way you could use a real-time workflow to update information on the opportunity with data that is stored on the related account record. The record auto saves and triggers the workflow and the new data auto-loads into the topic field without having to manually refresh or reload.

Where to start?

Workflows are managed under Processes, within the Settings Area of CRM.

Create a new Process just like you would a normal (in background) workflow.

Here’s the trick. Before you click OK and set up your workflow, you’ll want to make sure you have unchecked the box which defaults the workflow to run in the background.

After that, you’ll notice there are some new options to configure. Depending on when and how you want the workflow to trigger, you can set the scope and the start preferences.

Another thing to take into consideration is the user that the workflow runs under. You can definitely set it to run as the person triggering it, and there are some advantages to that, but if you are dealing with an update that requires permissions beyond what the triggering user may have, you will run into issues. So it depends on what you want to accomplish in your actions and the users that would be triggering it.

In this example, our basic action is to run an update on the opportunity record and set the topic to include the account number from the related account.

And after you save and (activate) the workflow you can go test it out.

We have an opportunity. We add the account. And either a manual save, or the auto save in CRM 2013 triggers the workflow.

Resulting in an updated topic, without having to manually refresh or reload the record.

If you have an existing workflow that runs as a background process and you want to convert it to a synchronous process, that’s easy too.

You can use the Convert button on the top of the workflow editor:

What will you use real-time workflows for?

Perhaps you have some processes triggered off of ClickDimensions data that you want to happen faster or smoother, or maybe you want to map data from related records but don’t want to reload or create custom scripts and web resources. With CRM 2013 Real-Time Workflows, the sky is the limit.

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