Extension pointers: Create blueprints to carry out business processes smoothly

Extension pointers: Create blueprints to carry out business processes smoothly

When the various stages of a business process are well-planned and executed efficiently, the entire process runs smoothly and the overall functionality is efficient. 

Blueprint is a useful feature available in Zoho CRM that is currently supported in the Zoho Developer platform. It allows you to plan different stages of a business process and set up predefined transitions between the stages to achieve the desired results. Along with defining the stages for a blueprint, you can associate people to each stage, guide them through the process, mandate information, validate information, and automate routine processes if necessary.

Components of a blueprint

A blueprint is made up of two major components or blocks: states and transitions. We’ll discuss each below.

State
A business process might involve one or more stages that need to be crossed for its completion. A state is a stage that is involved in a business process. It’s a particular condition/stage that a process is in at a given point of time.

Transition
A transition acts as a connecting factor or link between stages. It consists of the conditions that must be met to move from one stage to another.

Let's consider an example that demonstrates how blueprints can be effectively implemented/incorporated through an extension to achieve desired business processes. 

Assume you run a campaign management organization. Several companies hire (outsource) you as a vendor to work on campaigns to help their businesses grow. Depending on your clients’ business needs, you manage the processes involved in preparing these campaigns using the Campaigns module in Zoho CRM. Campaigns can be of different types, such as webinar, advertisements, emails, etc.

Each of these campaign types will require following a different flow in order to be organized and executed. For example, for a webinar, you’ll need to check on resource availability and target audience, whereas for advertisements, you must check on content and banner design. It would be difficult to manually ensure that all of your team members assigned to a client’s campaign follows the correct flow each time.

A blueprint would be useful in this situation because a fixed process can be designed for a specific campaign type. This way, whenever one of your team members is assigned to handle that campaign type, they follow the defined process flow to execute it. 

Similarly, different blueprints can be designed for different campaign types and collectively rendered as an extension to help your campaign management process as a whole. In this post, we'll build the overall blueprint flow for a webinar-type campaign.

A company contacts your campaign management organization about organizing a webinar to promote their business. You plan a webinar idea based on the needs of the company, gather the requirements to organize the campaign, generate or execute your campaign plan and share it with the manager, decide whether the plan is active or inactive based on feedback and discussion, and, finally, complete the campaign by finalizing (active) or closing (inactive) based on discussion.

Creating a blueprint for the Campaigns module in Zoho developer console

Here are the process steps for creating a blueprint flow:
  • Go to the Extension's detail page in the Zoho Developer console.
  • Choose Workflow under Automate from the left panel of the Zoho CRM console under Build, and then click Blueprint.
  • Click Create Blueprint.

  • Enter the necessary details. You can refer to this link to get detailed information on creating a blueprint. In our example, the module is Campaign, the layout is Standard and the field is Status.
                                                 

Note: You can create picklist fields through the extension and choose them as the field for the blueprint. This helps you run blueprints specific to your campaign’s organization-related Zoho CRM fields as well.
  • When the basic details are filled in, next you’ll define the criteria based on which records will be associated with this blueprint. In our example, we choose the campaign records of the webinar type to be associated with this blueprint.
  • There’s an option to create continuous blueprints, i.e., with the completion of a transition the next transition is automatically triggered, and so on. To achieve this, click Advanced configuration. Enable the Is this a continuous Blueprint? option. Choose the owners who will be eligible to view the transitions as buttons in the record's detail page.
Note: In our example, we don't enable this option; we manually execute transitions one after the other when the preceding transition's conditions are met and the next one is ready to be implemented. Click Next.


  • Below is the blueprint created for our example.

  • The states and the transitions involved in our example are listed below.
States
Transitions
Plan idea
Plan
Requirement gathering
Requirement analysis
Plan generation
Generate plan
Active
Active
Inactive
Inactive
Complete
Complete
  • Next, add the criteria to be met at different stages of the transition (BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER). These transitions are conditions to be met to cross from one state to another, and will appear as buttons on the record details page.

  •  Let's see the criteria involved in our example for each transition.
Plan: Notes on the webinar plan and tags are mandatory during this transition.
                                                      

Requirement analysis: Create a checklist for analyzing the requirements by using the Add > Checklists during the transition.
                                                      

Generate plan: Make attachments of the contents or related documents required for the webinar mandatory during the transition. 
                                                      

After the transition, generate an email notification to your manager with the campaign plan details. We’ve associated a campaign plan email template that includes the description of the campaign record as part of the email body.

                                                      

Active: Upon discussion with the manager, if the plan is approved, the campaign plan is active and is to be executed further. Make tags mandatory during the transition.

Schedule the campaign start date for 15 days from the current execution date (i.e., the date the plan changes to active status) after the transition is completed.

                                                      

Inactive: After discussion with the manager, if the plan is not approved, the campaign plan is inactive and is then moved to an inactive state. When you click Inactive, the campaign is automatically moved to Complete status.

Complete: Finally, whether the plan is active and ready to be executed, we can move it to a closed state by making tags mandatory to establish that the record for creating the webinar campaign plan has been completed.
  •  Now that the blueprint is designed, click Publish
  • You can now publish the extension and install it in your Zoho CRM account.
Sample Output

You can view the sample output attached as a video.

In this manner, any webinar campaign will follow the blueprint process to completion. Similarly, you can create blueprints for each campaign and efficiently manage your campaign management process. 

We hope you find this information useful. Keep following us for more inputs!!


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