Note: CRM 2013 is not due to be released until October 2013. The information provided in this blog might different from the final product.
However, I started to play with it in the beta release of CRM 2013 and I found the functionality somewhat incomplete. Let me elaborate in this post….
A business rule for a field on a form consists of 3 parts:
- A set of conditions to check (e.g. the “Phone” field on the Account form does not contain data). Instead of checking for a particular value, the user can also compare one field against another field on the same form; just set the “Type” to “Field” instead of “Value”.
- A set of actions to take if the condition is met
- Description – a text field for further explanation of the conditions and actions
Once the business rule is built, the user has to save and activate this business rule, and publish the form on which the business rule is set.
From the front end, when a user edits the “Phone” field on an Account form and fills in a phone number does which not begin with 08450, then a little error message will be displayed after the phone field loses focus (e.g. when the user tabs out).
Business Rule Actions Available
So far, there are 5 different types of actions a user can choose to do if the condition is satisfied in a Business Rule. These are pretty self-explanatory.
For example, the “Lock or unlock field” could be pretty handy if there is a business requirement to e.g. “Unlocks” the “Estimated Revenue” field on an opportunity form if an Account has been set in the “Customer” lookup field. For the most part, I have no problem with the bottom 4 actions. However, I was testing the “Show error message” and discovered several weaknesses to Business Rules.
Business Rules Limitations
- All conditions in the Business Rules are evaluated with “AND”. There is no OR. This means a user cannot build a validation to check that Condition A “OR” Condition B is true. This is pretty limiting when compared with previous client side validation methods.
To be honest, I am less concerned about the third limitation as for the first two. At least there should be the “block form from saving” action or else it is very difficult to recommend this “Business Rules” functionality to clients as a complete simple validation editor with which they can build validations without writing a single line of code. So far Microsoft is saying little about this in the feedback. But let’s hope the product release in October offers some improvements.