Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Distribute Workflow for CRM 2011

In CRM 4.0, a wonderful little free workflow plugin was introduced that allowed workflows to be distributed. This can be downloaded from codeplex. The idea behind this workflow plugin is simple and effective. For example, say after completing a campaign, I wanted to generate a follow up activity on each opportunity generated from the campaign, I could create a single workflow against the parent campaign monitoring the campaign status and as soon it was completed, I could generate workflows to be kicked off for each of the child opportunities. So one workflow could spawn sub-workflows for all it's children. Useful in many different scenarios.

The functionality described above was not out of the box in 4.0 and I don't believe it is out of the box in CRM 2011 either (please enlighten me if I'm wrong as I haven't researched this to the Nth degree). So why am I mentioning this?

Well in light of my previous blog entry which discussed limitations with CRM 2011 Online - one of the limitations was that workflow plugins are not supported... And guess what - the utility mentioned above is in fact a workflow plugin which means that if you've deployed this feature in your on premise installation, you may have difficulty replicating this functionality if you decide to move to CRM 2011. So either you will need to dispense with the functionality or come up with another creative way for handling the requirement. Of course, upgrading to CRM 2011 on premise does not present the same challenge, since workflow plugins can be added in that case.

If anyone is aware of a way of executing the workflow distribution logic in CRM 2011 Online in a simple and elegant manner as the aforementioned plugin enabled - your input would be appreciated.

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