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Workflows in Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM: Nationwide non-profit masters complex environment, minimizes coding

by Dann Anthony Maurno
Assistant Editor, MSDW
October 31 2017

Picture an organization with 108 locations countrywide. Add a requirement for broad legal compliance standards, but in a federated business model with significant process variance across locations. Then add localized data ownership for each unit. Finally, add the criticality of screening adult volunteers for work with children (e.g., criminal background checks, in-home visits, and reference checks).

Big Brothers Big Sisters CanadaThat scenario describes Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada, and the challenge faced by Director of Information Systems Malcolm McAuley. He helped lead the D365UG/CRMUG Summit 2017 session "Workflows in a Complex Environment," which attracted CRM users from across government, manufacturing, distribution, and other industries.

"Everyone has a different definition of the term ‘complexity,' so we started with a conversation about that as a room," he describes.

Also attending were several Dynamics partners eager to leverage workflows. "One in particular said she hears a lot from clients that they don't want to go down the path of heavy customization; they really want to turn over every stone of configuration inside of every system, with out-of-the-box functionality," says McAuley.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada uses Dynamics 365's native workflow functionality, versus any third-party solutions. The organization started its Dynamics CRM journey in 2010 with v4, and in August 2016, upgraded its system across Canada to the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement/CRM Suite.

"We're very much an xRM client," says McAuley. "We're not sales, we're not marketing, we're not using it for finance. I've tried to get a really good handle on, what do ...

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About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).