In this two-part blog series, we’ll explore the technology that is revolutionising customer service delivery in government. In our first installment, we examine the technology transformation from the perspective of back-office processes.
Hi, my name is Justin and I'm here to show you how to leverage Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Flow for your organization to grant approvals on the go. This solution is great for Dynamics, administrators, builders, really any organization that has approvals that may need to be handled in real time.
Flow gives us a no code easy solution for approvers to handle approval requests. Historically, Dynamics users had to log in, find the correct record and then do something with a record to handle an approval. Now, Flow gives us the ability to handle this all in one shot and delivers it right to your phone or your email. And can include links to SharePoint or Dynamics or even contact details from the approval requester making it all nice and easy for you to use on the go.
All right, so let's jump right in. What we have for an example today is a flight travel request system. So, as you'd expect we have all the generic flight details such as origin and destination and dates. We also have an additional details section in case the approval requester needs to mention something to the approver and of course we have the airfare costs because that's most likely what the approver is going to be looking at. And moving down below, the approval details really is where the approval engine takes into effect. And this is where we've got the approval requester and the status and the status might include items such as not started, submitted awaiting response, if it's approved, rejected or even needs more information. Additionally, we'll have the approver, in this case is Frank Keller because he approves all of our travel requests and we have the response date and time and any comments that he might have on the request as well.
Now that we've taken a look at Dynamics, let's go hop into Flow. All Flow is really doing at this point is watching for updates on the travel request record. Once it finds that update, we need to make sure that the update is actually involving submitting the travel request itself. That's what this conditional statement is doing in the second action. It's looking to make sure that the user has pressed the submit button. Otherwise all the other changes that happened to the request are on that record in Dynamics, they need to be terminated immediately, because it hasn't been submitted for review at this point. If, however, it has been submitted, that's what the conditional statement will catch, and it will send it down the yes path.
In the next step, all we're doing is updating the travel request record, so that we are officially in the submitted and awaiting response status. This allows us to be mindful of the record inside of Dynamics, to know that it's actually been submitted. The next two steps are actually very similar. All they are really doing is getting data from the users in the system. So, the first set, on the traveler requester, this is the person that is asking for approval on their travel plans. So, this goes into Dynamics and finds the user's record or the travel requesters record. That will come into play later on because we need their email address for the responses and the approval system. The other step is getting the approvers Dynamics record. At this point we have enough information to be able to keep moving forward into the actual approval request. So, the next action here in the bluish purple is the action that actually sends out a notification on mobile devices and in email format to the approver.
So, this is the point where the approver gets to interact with the actual approval request. As we click into the approval action, you can see that there's lots of fields that need to be filled in. There's really quite a few approval types. In this case, we only need one response. And we're using customer responses and the reason for that is, because we also want to have the ability to have the need more information response option in case the approver needs more information from the approval requester. Further down, you'll see self-explanatory areas such as title, it's the name of the actual travel request. The assigned to is the email address from the approver and that came from the step up above. And down below, we even have an item link that directly takes the approver right into Dynamics, so that they can quickly review if they want to see the record itself. All making this very, very easy from a mobile device.
Finally, after the approver is rejecting or approving or even asking for more information, we need an ability to understand what that outcome is. And once that happens and once the approver of clicks a button inside of the mobile application, we use what's called a switch. And in this case the switch has technically four different responses. One being a default that we aren't using currently, and you can see that all the way on the right-hand side. But ultimately, we have request has been approved, request has been rejected or we need more information. The switch allows us to traverse down different paths rather than just saying yes or no, something happened.
In this case we're going to talk about the requests being approved. There's two more steps to go through. And all they really involve are updating the record, the travel request record one more time and then sending out an email in response to the approval of requester. In the update action, all we're doing is updating the approval status to approved and then making sure that the approver comments that they might have typed in line are included inside the comments field inside of Dynamics. Sending an email response is super simple and all we really need to do here, is send out a response to the approval and in this case all we're doing is saying your travel request has been approved.
All right, so let's fire this thing off. The first thing we're going to do is put our Flow into testing mode. Let's switch back over to Dynamics. And we're going to submit for review at this point. So, let me click that button and I'm going to save the record. You can see now that it's actually starting to run as we speak. So, it catches the update looks to see if the review status is in true status and it goes through all these different steps. It updates the travel requests record, gets the information about the requester, gets information about the approver and then starts the approval.
Let's move over to the mobile device and on my phone, I now have the approval. And here's the request and you can see all of the information that was inside of our travel request in Dynamics. Nope, it's popping up again and now we can approve or reject. Let's hit approve in this case and you can see that the request has been approved and we can hit done.
All right, so let's hop back into Flow. And you can see that the approver has interacted with the approval request. So, that's checked green. The switches now in green status as well because it found the case that it needs. The request was approved. We need to update the travel request record. You can go through the details and see all the information. Won't leave you with that here. But we also have an email that was sent out, with your travel request has been approved. And if I go into email and here is my approval email. And as you can see, we now have the ability to respond back to approvers and approval and requesters on the status of an action.
Now that we've seen Flow, let's go take a look at the Dynamics record. All right, done at the bottom here, you can see that the status, the status of the approval is approved. We have dates in as to when the request was sent in and when the response was also sent back. So, as you can see, Dynamics is used as the backbone for the entire system and holds all the data inside of the actual approval engine.
As you can see, Microsoft Flow might seem intimidating, but it's really not that complicated and it's a great way to start mobile approvals for your business. For more information on Microsoft Flow, check out our website where we have resources and training opportunities available to you. Thanks for watching Dynamics 365 In Focus.