Here at SADA Systems, one of our core values is ‘Be One Step Ahead’, leading our clients to novel solutions, using some of the latest platforms and technologies. To this end, SADA was proud to become one of the first Workplace by Facebook partners, adding the communication and collaboration platform to its already rich portfolio of cloud-based technologies.
Like Facebook’s consumer social network, Workplace allows users to post announcements to groups, tag co-workers, and tag posts using hashtags. These posts are then surfaced on the user’s News Feed, keeping them informed, and allowing them to engage in the conversation when needed.
Unlike Facebook, however, Workplace is designed for the BUSINESS. As you know, core to operating a business is executing business processes, such as developing and closing Sales Opportunities, investigating and resolving Support Cases, or planning and executing Marketing Campaigns. This is where another one of SADA’s core technologies, Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM comes into play.
Wouldn’t it be great if, while you manage and execute business processes in Dynamics 365, you could inform the rest of the business by posting key updates or milestones to Workplace? We thought so too!
Sharing the Wins…And the Losses
We wanted to share key account wins (and losses) when opportunities were closed in our CRM, Dynamics 365. Our executives asked for the ability to post updates to specific group(s), based on the line of business, and @-mention individuals so they’d get notified within Workplace. Wins were to be posted to the public groups, sharing our recent success and letting delivery teams know they should begin mobilizing. Losses were to be posted to a private group of managers, ensuring they have visibility to opportunities that had fallen out of the funnel.
Enter, Dynamics 365 and its powerful Workflow capabilities. Dynamics 365 Workflows allow organizations to trigger automation (e.g. send emails, create and assign records, update field values) when records are created, updated, or reassigned. More importantly, Workflows are flexible and configurable, allowing us to abstract and manage the business logic for when and how to trigger the Workplace post, from the ‘Post’ action itself. This allows us to trigger posts from any part of the Dynamics 365 application, based on any number of different workloads.
Making It Happen
Three components are needed to achieve Dynamics 365 Opportunity to Workplace Poster that is described above.
1) Setup a Workplace App – Within Workplace, an App needs to be created and assigned appropriate permissions in order for the integration to access Workplace. The App’s access tokens are the keys that allow the integration to post to Workplace.
2) Develop custom “Workplace Poster” Workflow Activity for Dynamics 365 – SADA developed a simple D365 Workflow activity that allows D365 to dynamically pass the post text, Workplace Group ID, and post link (URL) to Workplace. The Workplace App tokens, which provide access to Workplace, are stored in a configuration file that is easily managed by an Administrator.
3) Configure Dynamics 365 Workflow – Within Dynamics 365, a simple workflow is configured and used to:
- Trigger the event
- Define business logic
- Form the post message
- Post the message to Workplace
For example, the Dynamics 365 Workflow, triggered when the Opportunity record status changes, first checks to see if the Opportunity ‘Status Reason’ field value is ‘Won’. If so, a CRM Post record is created, allowing the CRM to use a pre-defined template and dynamically merge details from the Opportunity; in this case Account, Actual Revenue, Practice Area, and Description. Workplace users can be @-mentioned, by wrapping a person’s name or email using the syntax @[name] or @[email].
This ensures that Workplace posts can mention users who may or may not exist as Dynamics 365 users.
The Workflow then checks the Opportunity Division field value to determine the line of business and then passes the Post Text, Group ID (based on the Division), and Opportunity URL to the custom Workflow activity. The custom workflow activity, then authenticates to Workplace using the App, in this case ‘CRM Integration’, and posts the message to the corresponding group, translating ‘@[name]’ value to Workplace @-mentions.
By using the Dynamics 365 Workflow capabilities, it is easy for us to re-use the Workplace Poster in a number of different ways. With very little effort, we are able to trigger Workplace posts when Cases are escalated, Projects Milestones are met, or Accounts are put on Credit Hold. All of this is done without any code!
Find out more about Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Dynamics 365, or how you can use the two together to drive workplace productivity.