Flowcharts in Business process modeler

You can use Business process modeler in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) to define and store business process flowcharts for an organization. This article explains how you can modify the default connected flowcharts for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, create and upload connected flowcharts from Task recorder, and import a business process model flowchart from another library. It also explains how to upload and view unconnected flowcharts.

You can start with default connected flowcharts for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, and modify them, create and upload connected flowcharts from Task recorder, or you can import a business process model flowchart from another library. Connected flowcharts can also be used to create gaps for export to Microsoft Team Foundation Server. You can also create and upload high-level flowcharts from Microsoft Visio.

  • Connected flowcharts are based on data recorded in the AX 2012 Task recorder and uploaded to Business process modeler. They include properties, security roles, and related information. Each flowchart also includes detailed steps and a video.
  • Unconnected flowcharts are uploaded directly from Visio.

Connected flowcharts

This section explains how to view a connected flowchart, how to modify it, how to export the flowchart to Visio, how to generate a gap analysis, and how to export the gap analysis to a comma-separated file that you can manually import into Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server as work items. For information about how to upload recordings of custom business processes, see Upload custom business processes to Business process modeler from Task recorder. Activities that can appear in flowcharts are described in the following table.

Activity Description
Script Action performed by a script.
Loop Action performed repetitively.
Service Action performed by a service.
Manual Step performed outside of AX 2012.
Receive Information received from outside of AX 2012 without using a service or script.
Send Information sent outside of AX 2012 without using a service or script.
User Action performed by a user.
Collapsed A sub-process that is not shown in the diagram. Collapsed processes cannot be expanded.
Arrow Indicates direction of flow between process steps.
Validation Decision point at which a process either proceeds or loops.
Process start (circle) The beginning of the process.
Process end (bold circle) The end of the process.
Roles Role swimlane. Add roles when a process requires actions by multiple roles to complete. Swimlanes list the default roles in AX 2012 that can perform the action.

View a connected flowchart

Default connected flowcharts are available for many nodes in the industry-standard libraries. You can view a connected flowchart to determine whether it meets your needs. To view a connected flowchart, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services, open a project, and then click Business process modeler.
  2. In the My libraries section, select a library to display it. For information about how to copy a standard business process library to a project, see Business process modeler (Lifecycle Services, LCS).
  3. Expand the business process library and then click a library node that has a flowchart icon associated with it. Flowchart BPM topic1The flowchart is displayed. Each activity in the process is represented by a shape in the diagram. Related information is displayed in the right pane, depending on what is selected in the diagram:

    • If nothing is selected on the flowchart, the right pane displays a detailed list of steps for the process, usage characteristics (setup, master, or transactions), and a video. You can double-click the video to view it in full-screen mode. Usage characteristics are used in the Usage profiler to help determine the load required for a process. Identify processes as Setup when they are configuration tasks, as Master when they are Master data processes, and as Transaction when they are transactional processes. Setup and master processes are assumed to require less processing than transaction processes.
    • If the title of a swimlane is selected, the right pane displays a list of the security roles that have access to the activities that are in the swimlane, and their corresponding duties.
    • If a flowchart activity shape is selected, the right pane displays information about the selected activity. This information comes from standard Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations metadata. For example, if a shape represents a form, the metadata includes properties such as the Application Object Tree (AOT) name, the label for the form title, and the data sources for the form.
  4. The app bar can be activated when an object is selected in a flowchart. Common actions include Edit, Delete, Save, Export, Not a gap, and Gap list. Some options on the app bar vary depending on the object selected.

Modify a connected flowchart

You can modify an existing connected flowchart to match your company's business process.

Note
Any time you modify a flowchart, a gap is automatically created.

To modify a connected flowchart, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Lifecycle Services, open a project, and then click Business process modeler.
  2. In the My libraries section, select a library to display it.
  3. Open a library node with a flowchart icon.
  4. Make changes to the flowchart.
    • To change an existing flowchart activity, right-click the activity to display the app bar, and then click Edit. Make changes, and then click Save.
    • To add a flowchart activity, drag an activity from the Activities list to the flowchart. Right-click the new activity and then click Edit to change the name and other information for the activity. Make changes and then click Save.
    • To delete a flowchart activity, right-click the activity, and then click Delete.

Import a business process model flowchart from another library

You can import a business process model flowchart from an existing business process library into a bottom level task.

  1. Select an existing task that does not have an associated flowchart, right-click it to display the app bar, and then click Import.
  2. On the Import business process model page, select a library to import from, and then select the appropriate business process. Only business processes with existing model flowcharts appear in the list.
  3. When the Do you want to copy message appears, click Yes. When the import is complete, the flowchart will be associated with the original task. Gap information and the version history are also copied.

Export a flowchart as a Visio file

You can export a business process model flowchart to a Visio file.

  1. Sign in to Lifecycle Services, open a project, and then click Business process modeler.
  2. In the My libraries section, select a library to display it.
  3. Expand the library and then click any library node that has a flowchart icon associated with it. The flowchart is displayed.
  4. Right-click the flowchart to display the app bar, and then click Export.
  5. The file will be treated as a download that you can open or save.

Mark a change to not be a gap

Please note that gap functionality has been deprecated in LCS. To learn more about how to use VSTS Synchronization, see Synchronize a BPM library with Visual Studio Team Services.

Any time you modify a flowchart, a gap is automatically created. You can modify any change to no longer be considered a gap. To modify a change, follow these steps:

  1. Select the object that you added, and then right-click it.
  2. On the app bar, click Not a gap.

Generate a gap analysis and export it to use with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS)

You can generate a gap analysis list for the project that you are working with. You can export the gap analysis list to a comma-separated file. You can then import that file to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server to create work items. To generate a gap analysis and export it, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to Lifecycle Services, open a project, and then click Business process modeler.
  2. In the My libraries section, select a library to display it.
  3. Expand the library and then click any library node that has a flowchart icon associated with it. The flowchart is displayed.
  4. Right-click the flowchart to display the app bar, and then click Gap list. The Gap analysis page is displayed. The page includes all modifications for the project that you are working with. It includes changes to the standard library and to all default flowcharts for the project.
  5. Optional: To export the gap analysis to a comma-separated file, right-click to display the app bar, and then click Export. A .csv file is created. You can import the file into Visual Studio Team Foundation Server to create work items that represent the work that is required to fill in the gaps.

Unconnected flowcharts

Unconnected flowcharts can be very helpful for describing high-level business processes that are performed outside AX 2012.

Upload an unconnected flowchart

  1. In the My libraries section, open a library.
  2. Expand the library and then click the name of the library node that you want to upload an unconnected flowchart for. A Visio tab opens.
  3. Click Upload now, select the appropriate file, and click Open.
  4. If you have uploaded the wrong file, you can delete the existing one, and replace it.

View an unconnected flowchart

A business process with an unconnected Visio flowchart associated with it will have a document icon on its title bar. Flowchart BPM topic2

  • Click the document icon to view the flowchart.
  • Click Download on the Visio page to download the flowchart.