Dynamics 365 Business Central Cloud Tips and Tricks: Power Automate Series – Part 1: Automated Flows Driven by Events and Transactions

July 11, 2024 Marcelo Borges

In this series of bi-monthly blogs, Western Computer shares our expertise with tips and tricks to help users work more efficiently in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Cloud. Based on our more than 30 years in business—with 1,250+ solution implementations, including more than 350 in the cloud—we share the expertise we have accumulated to enable users to work as proficiently as possible. You can also subscribe to these blogs in our LinkedIn newsletter.

In my previous video, I quickly introduced the four types of automation offered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Cloud in conjunction with Power Automate. You can create these automations in your environment to unlock a whole new set of potent tools to boost team collaboration. For this four-part series, I further explore the four different types of workflows, highlight their key features, and demonstrate how you can use them within your daily operations:

 

For Part I, let’s discuss Automated Flows, for which in practical terms, you can set up two types:

  • Flows triggered by database transactions—such as when a record is created, modified, or deleted.
  • Flows triggered by business events—such as requesting approvals, blocking customers, releasing documents, and a customer exceeding their credit limit.

Flows Driven by Database Transactions

Database transactions give you plenty of flexibility to trigger Automated Flows based on creating, modifying, and deleting records on select tables within API (v1.0) for Business Central and v2.0.

Here are a few ideas for these flows:

  • When creating a customer, notify a Teams channel: This is ideal for a team with multiple inside sales reps, where a smaller team is designated for data quality. Don’t you hate customer cards with typos and missing phone numbers! You can trigger this flow to let the data quality team know there is a new record to review. Users get a Business Central customer card directly in Teams with basic information and a link that takes them directly to the record on their browser.
  • When modifying an item, send an e-mail: A possible use in this scenario is notifying the warehouse manager by e-mail that an item has been set to  or . This way, they can take action to move the item into a reserved area of the warehouse—so employees don’t have access until further notice.
  • When deleting a G/L account, sync with an external system: This flow proves handy when an external accounting partner does not use Business Central and would like to update your chart of accounts in their external system. As long as their external system supports Internet calls, keeping the two systems synced is a piece of cake. 

These are just a few examples, but there is a lot more you can accomplish. Just think of the following sentence:

When a <master data record> is <changed/modified/deleted>, <do something>.

The <master data record> part refers to important tables such as G/L accounts, bank accounts, customers, vendors, items, and journal lines. The  full list is available via the aforementioned API documentation links. 

The <do something> part—which can execute multiple steps—is powered by the vast catalog of Power Automate connectors.  These connectors range from Microsoft products within the Office and Dynamics families to other brand-name productivity tools outside the Microsoft ecosystem. The options are endless!

Flows Driven by Business Events

Just like flows driven by database transactions, flows driven by business events offer endless options. 

Consider the following sentence:

When <a Business Central event happens>, <do something>.

Business Central events can be any type of trigger previously coded by a developer. Microsoft provides a catalog of business events out of the box you can find here. Even though Microsoft’s list is not extensive, it includes some of the most important pre-developed events:

  • Customer is blocked/unblocked.
  • Customer credit limit has been exceeded after posting a sales invoice.
  • Sales order is released.
  • Sales order is shipped.
  • Purchase order is released.

You may think, “Yeah, but I have quite a few custom business events that are more important for my business, and I can’t use them, right?

Wrong! 

A developer can enhance your custom extensions by adding external business events so you can trigger Power Automate flows based on your own customizations! 

Even though this sounds exciting, this is a task for which you will need a developer to assist. Check out this link to find out more about building and installing extensions for custom business events.

Here are some ideas for this type of automated flow:

  • When a customer is blocked, notify their key account manager on Teams.
  • When a sales order is released, send an e-mail to the customer and notify the sales team through the Teams channel.
  • When a purchase order is released, send information about the order to the vendor’s automated portal, using API calls, or by uploading a text file to an FTP server.
  • When a custom action happens in Business Central, notify the president of the company by Teams and send an e-mail to the R&D department.

You will see throughout this blog series how some of these automations can be accomplished in different ways—using the various types of flows in Business Central and Power Automate. So stay tuned for the next post of this four-part blog series on Power Automate flow types where we cover Approval Flows.

To Learn More 

Western Computer offers deep expertise across the Microsoft technology stack, particularly in Dynamics 365 solutions. Our thought leaders can help you ensure your critical ERP application meets your business needs for today and beyond. For more information on how to use these Business Central tips, or for help in designing, deploying and supporting Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions, contact Western Computer today

About the Author

Marcelo Borges has been very enthusiastic about ERP systems since the time he first experienced Microsoft Dynamics, back in 2005. He joined Western Computer in 2017 as a consultant focusing on Microsoft Dynamics solutions for customers in the finance, trading, warehousing, and distribution sectors. When advising on technology and designing solutions, Marcelo calls upon his experience of having worked on both sides of the table: as a consultant for known Microsoft Partners, and as an end-user in multiple industries.

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