Creating a Custom Flow for Virtual Agent Experiences

This blog post is an extension of the Getting Started with Virtual Agents, so if you’d like the background or know how to get started before you read this, check out that post first!

Custom Flows in the Virtual Agent Experience need to meet some specific requirements to display, because VA’s don’t just allow any old Flow to be used. I’ve listed them below.

Getting Started with Virtual Agents in Dynamics 365

Being able to talk to a live chat agent is a popular website feature, especially in the Retail industry where staff are on hand to be able to manage and solve customer queries so they can get back to buying products. This became a popular service-oriented capability and more industries are adopting this feature, but one step further. Being able to embed bot technology before a real person is even required has now become the go-to strategy for customer service.

Create Custom Insight Cards using Microsoft Flow

Relationship Insights, as part of Dynamics 365, has been a great feature, often used (and sold) as part of the Sales Application to be able to remind users that there are important deadlines or meetings coming up. In recent releases, the feature has now been made available to customise as part of public preview, allowing us to create custom insight cards to display to users (and teams) across the platform. This results in tailored and streamlined recommendations for users, allowing them to receive insight and take action quicker.

This post covers how to get started setting up a simple custom card from a custom entity.

Setting Reminders and Notifications on a Schedule within Dynamics 365 CE using Microsoft Flow

Scheduling a record was not something achieved without some thought using workflows in Dynamics 365 CE. Mostly the ‘Bulk Delete’ trick was used where scheduled Bulk Delete of records (normally to remove legacy data) would act as the trigger for your custom workflow, effectively creating a scheduling system. Still, this doesn’t feel exactly clean and this functionality was not something that can be achieved logically from the workflow designer. This has since changed with Microsoft Flow.

How to build a single HTTP request from data within a collection in Microsoft Flow

A challenge in Microsoft Flow is to obtain specific data from a collection of objects (Like Dynamics 365 records) and use some data from those records within a single HTTP request. Why not make multiple HTTP requests within the ‘Apply Each’ loop I hear you ask? Well my friend, because there could be 100 records or more, that’s 100 hits to an endpoint which is really unnecessary, time-consuming and prone to error. Best Practice is, if the scenario allows it, to send as few requests as possible.

Iterate over child entities in Dynamics 365 using Microsoft Flow

One of the weaknesses of traditional workflows within Dynamics 365 is their inability to natively iterate over child records. Great news! Microsoft Flow allows you to be able to iterate over child records and pass in query string parameters allowing you to limit the returned collection. It achieves this using OData syntax. Trust me though, even if you have never used OData syntax before, with a bit of trial and error you’ll pick it up in no time. Check out this post for a very quick start to iterating over child entities using Microsoft Flow.

Creating HTTP requests to Dynamics 365 using Microsoft Flow

It is absolutely amazing how many things Microsoft Flow can do. One of the most useful actions I have come across is making HTTP requests that integrate with Dynamics 365. Using Flow to make HTTP requests to external services allows for you to create loosely coupled integrations very easily. Once the solution feature is released in October 2018, it will also be easy to maintain. This post will show you how to make a simple HTTP request to one of the Cognitive Service API’s in response to a trigger within Dynamics 365.

How to create Microsoft Form integration with Dynamics 365

Microsoft Forms is a service that allows for the creation of a basic form quickly and easily. Forms are no longer in preview just for educational organisations and are now in preview for everybody with a valid Office 365 Licence, which means we can now look at how this service can fit into the Dynamics 365 stack of technologies as it offers an alternative to other services such as those that are designed to create Landing Pages within Dynamics 365, or produce Surveys, essentially any sort of fast data collection or submitting you want the user to do. (There’s always positives and negatives of course which need to be weighed up with what you want out of the service you choose)