Sunday, August 4, 2013

Freebie Product Plug: Bulk Workflow Extension Tool

There are a few tools Dynamics CRM consultants have in their toolbox. Things like Tanguy’s Iconator, Metadata Document Generator and the SiteMap Editor are great examples. This is another tool which I am sure is going to become a standard in my collection, Zero2Ten’s Bulk Workflow Extension Tool.

The Problem: Running Lots of Workflows At Once

Literally last week I came across this problem. I had tried to run the bulk reassign tool off of a user and my browser crashed on me midway through. The result was I had about 20,000 records reassigned and the rest (about 80,000) sitting on the original user. I wanted to reverse what had been done but that meant, somehow, assigning 20,000 records back to the original owner.

The best you can do with CRM, without coding a fix or doing unsupported SQL updates (which I never recommend for ownership reassignment) is highlighting 250 records at a time via a view and hitting the Assign button (or creating an on-demand workflow to do the same).

So this is exactly what I did. I spent a few hours highlighting 250 records at a time and clicking the Assign button (I actually got two running at the same time, so I managed to make it 500 at a time but it was still a tedious process).

The Solution: Zero2Ten’s Bulk Workflow Extension Tool

Then, a couple of days later, Gus Gonzalez (CRM MVP, Jujitsu master and all-round top bloke) announced Zero2Ten had released the ‘Bulk Workflow Extension Tool’. Here is the video of what it does:

In short, you run the program, connect to CRM, find a list of records you want to run a workflow on and then select the On Demand Workflow of choice. You then set it running and it takes care of the rest. If this is of interest, you can download it here. It is free and they do not even ask for names and email addresses (nice work Zero2Ten). Thank you Andy Popkin for making this happen. If we ever meet, I owe you a Mac and Jack’s or two (I am sure Gus will collect them on your behalf at Summit).

Conclusions

CRM workflows are a key element in the new version of CRM (previously Orion, now Dynamics CRM 2013) and will replace many functions typically performed by plugins (I will likely write a blog on these changes in the near future). Therefore a tool like this (with the extensions suggested by Andy such as a workflow scheduler) will become increasingly important. A free tool which helps manage workflows can only be a good thing and, in my case, will literally save me hours of work.

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Great post,

I already have created a similar tool:
http://mscrmtoolkit.codeplex.com/documentation#workflowexecutionmanager

with the additional functionality to be able to execute the workflow execution via CMD command which can be scheduled through the Windows Scheduled task or other scheduler tools

Costin Lichi said...

Hi Leon. Do you have any insights about Orion?

Leon Tribe said...

Costin,

Pretty much everything previously NDA has been lifted now. Here is a link to give you a flavour:
http://storify.com/jukkan/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2013-partner-training-blitz