How to Replace an Email Alert Workflow with Power Automate Flow

Posted on: January 4, 2021 | By: Josie Mah | Microsoft Dynamics CRM

As a Microsoft partner, Logan Consulting has used Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM for our own business operations for over 12 years. Recently, we came across an issue that required some troubleshooting and new ways of handling a tried and true method. Here is the scenario: Our workflow sends an email alert to certain individuals in the firm who do not use CRM when a new note is entered by salespersons regarding accounts and opportunities, with the new note being the body of the email. Since Microsoft’s new updates changed notes to Rich Text Format, the formatting of email sends in a workflow presented issues when the body of the note is inserted into the email. More specifically, the format included double-spaced text that was difficult to read.

After analyzing the issue and trying a few changes with limited success, we decided to examine the potential of using a flow. We quickly realized that there are a few possible paths to take using flows, each with its own advantages and shortcomings. Therefore, we thought it would be useful to walk through scenarios of using a base workflow and alternative flow solutions.

The Original Workflow

Sometimes simple is better — it doesn’t get much simpler than building email alerts using workflows.

Using a simple If/Then statement would allow users to set the Subject line and body and populate them with data fields in about 10 minutes. This presents as the most straight-forward, easy workflow option.

Flow Solution One – Using the Flow Email Connector

This solution is relatively simple and confirmed that we could send a correctly formatted email body from a note using the following connector:

Fortunately, the Email Connector has a full email form editor for formatting messages:

However, because this email is sent outside of CRM, it does not show in the regarding record timeline, and the email is sent from an obscure email address (microsoft@powerapps.com) that users do not recognize.

Flow Solution Two – Using the CDS Mail Message and Mail Send Functions

In this solution, we see a flow that more closely mimics the functionality of the old workflow email send functionality.

This solution requires quite a few more steps to reproduce the same result as the old-fashioned workflow. For example, it requires several variable and Get steps to capture the data required for the Email Message step. Additionally, if users are not familiar with Flow, it takes time to get familiar with flow syntax, which can be quite perplexing. For example, not many system admins are familiar with OData filter syntax.

The upside: This solution could re-create the workflow functionality and maintain proper formatting. This design associates this email with the regarding entity in this case account, so the email shows up as an activity in the timeline on the Account record. Furthermore, this solution sends an email with internal accounts that users recognize.

The Downside: Utilizing this solution requires extra work for an average CRM admin to resolve an issue with email formatting from automated email messages. Ultimately, we hope Microsoft works on updates that streamline flow functionality.

Next steps

If you would like more information regarding the above Flow processes in this article or need assistance with a Power Automate Flow to automate a process in your CRM project, please feel free to contact us.



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