Workflow is a series of actions that are necessary to complete a particular task. Every business involves a set of processes in which there would be repetitive activities on daily basis and each activity can be performed by a person, a group, or an automated process. Leveraging workflows and automation within CRM, companies look at having measurable benefits on their business. Looking for some KPIs you can improve in your business case? This info-graphic on of Top 5 Sales KPIs is a great place to start.

For example, sales employee can build in a discount at the time of putting together a Quote for a customer which may need to go through an approval process from the Sales Manager. Another scenario is when he builds in a sales commitment (lets say expedited order delivery). These requests need to trigger a notification to the relevant approver and he / she may need to accept or decline the same after reviewing the information.Looking for more example? You can find some good ones within CRM workflow category here.

Significance of workflow

The following list explains why workflows are so important, specially in applications which capture interaction with external stakeholders like prospects and customers.

  • When we map all the business process in a workflow it gives us a better understanding and a clear view of a business.
  • Workflows can also identify the high priority tasks of an activity We can identify the repetitive actions and eliminate them and can define detailed actions for these tasks. This allows employees to focus on these high priority tasks.
  • Automation of the actions/activities can be done using the workflows. This allows an Organization and its team to focus on other vital activities. Manual errors can be removed by automating the workflows.
  • Allocation of tasks to the employees can be done based on their expertise using workflows. This can lead to improved productivity of Organization.

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Advanced Workflow in SugarCRM

SugarCRM Workflows can be used to send emails, create fields, or update fields when certain conditions are met, and by using workflows we can automate processes within Sugar so that users doesn’t need to remember any manual steps.

SugarCRM advanced workflow is known as Sugar Process Author, which enables administrators to streamline common business processes by managing approvals, sales processes, call triggering. Advanced Workflow feature is available with Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Sugar 7.6.x and later, and it provides drag-and-drop interface to create the workflow which doesn’t require any programming experience.

Example of workflow in SugarCRM

Having understood what workflow can do for your business, let’s look at an example. In this current example, we are looking at notifying the assigned user whenever a shipped date is filled within the Quotes module. The email itself is dynamic and requests payment based on payment term field within the Quote.

Workflow in SugarCRM

The following modules are required to implement the workflows in SugarCRM. These are the building blocks of the workflow.

  • Process Business Rules
  • Process Email Templates
  • Process definitions
  • Processes

Let us look at them one by one in details.

#1. Process Business Rules

This module is used to create reusable rules for the fields which are used in Process definition Module, and by using these rules we can make conclusions or decisions.

Process definition Module

This is the record view of process business rules module; here the important fields are Target Module and Business Rule Type.

Target module field specifies the module that will be used in the process definition design, and Business Rule Type field specifies the way of rule set evaluation and it defaults to “Single Hit” specifying each row will be evaluated independently in descending order. After providing all the required details we need to click on ‘Save & Design’ button, in the designing process we need to use Rules Builder table to define the conditions and conclusions for the rules.

Business Rule Builder

The above screenshot shows the Process Business Rules design, here the rule explains that if the Status field is Closed and Description is empty in Cases module then it returns false. We can use this business rule in the Process Definition design.

#2. Process Email Templates

Email Template is used to include a “Send Message” event in the process definition.

Process Email Templates of Cases

Process Email Quote Vaild Date

The above screenshots shows Process Email Template record view, here the target module specifies the module that will be used in the process definition design and name specifies the name of the Process Email Template which we will use in Process Definition for Send Email event.

Process Email Templates of Quotes

Process Email Templates of Cases

This screenshot shows the Process Email Template design, here we need to click on ‘Save & Design’ button in record view to enter into Email Template’s design view after that we should create a custom layout of the message as shown in the above screenshot.

In the design view the field values of Target Module, Name and Description are automatically displayed based on the record view field values. The first screenshot explains that it will be used to send an email notification to the respective users when the case is created, and the second one explains that it is used to send email notification before 10 days of Quote valid date to intimate the respective user saying that “place an order before quote expiry date”.

#3. Process Definition

This is the most required module of the Advanced Workflow, it defines the steps in Business Process and controls the flow of work that is allocated during running processes. Sugar administrator can create Process Definitions and it contains series of activities and their relationships Start and End event criteria of the process, and information about each and every activity of business process.

Process Definition of Cases

Process Definition of Quote

Process Definition of Design

Here the target module specifies the module that will be used in the Process Definition design and status field specifies state of the Process Definition whether it is enabled or disabled, and we need to set the status of the process definition to “Disabled” to prevent triggering of the process before the completion of the design process.

After providing the required information in record view by clicking on “Save & Design” we can enter into Process Definition design view, here we can use Advanced Workflow visual designer which is a drag-and-drop interface.

Email notification

The above screenshot shows that the email notification will be sent to the respective user when the case is created.

Process Definition Explanation

The above Process Definition explains that email notification will be sent to the respective user intimating that the Quote will expire on this date and place an order before that date.

Screenshot of Status field is closed

The above process definition shows that if the Status field is closed and Description field is empty in Cases module then it will change the description field to “Case has been closed on {date}”.

#4. Process Mangement

Processes module in SugarCRM is the user-facing portal to Sugar’s Advanced Workflow.

Processes module in SugarCRM

This is the Process Management view, here we can see all details about the running processes like their status whether it is Completed, Error, Terminated or In progress, Process Number, Process definition Name and Record Name.

By using Process Management Administrator can view the progress of a process by clicking on the preview icon. Process design preview will be displayed with the details showing the stages that are already completed, current stage of the process, and the stages that yet to execute.

Processes Design Preview

Business Benefit of Implementing SugarCRM Advanced Workflow

  • With the help of SugarCRM Advanced Workflow Visual Designer we can easily build workflows as it provide drag-and-drop interface, which does not require any programming knowledge.
  • Process Management (Processes) can help in identifying the current status, its performance and also the historical data of each process.
  • By using Process Business Rules module we can define reusable rules for the fields.
  • By using Process Email Template module we can create an Email Template, that will be used in workflow build to send an email.
  • We can ensure a stable process; Pre-defined Workflow Definitions guarantee that standard practices are followed.


To build an advanced workflow in SugarCRM we require Process Business Rules, Process Email Templates, Process Definitions and Process management module. As you can understand the main step is to properly configure Process definition and Process management aspects of a workflow. Advanced Workflow’s Visual Designer makes it easier for end users and system administrators to create a workflow in an optimum manner. With the help of Process Management module we can see the status of the all the workflows.

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