Kaizen 126 Circuits in Zoho CRM

Kaizen 126 Circuits in Zoho CRM

Hello everyone!
Welcome back to another week of Kaizen!
Today, we will discuss an exciting topic—Circuits in Zoho CRM.

For starters, we will discuss what Circuits are, how beneficial they are for businesses, different views of a Circuit, and the different states and flow controls.

In the next post, we will discuss associating a Circuit to a blueprint, workflow, and a button, testing and execution, and see a Circuit in action with an interesting use case.

What are Circuits in Zoho CRM?

We use different microservices to accomplish our business needs, but most of the time, we are forced to switch over to multiple places.

With Circuits in Zoho CRM, you can integrate multiple microservices in a single platform and create automated workflows, all within your CRM!

For example, consider that you have an e-commerce application that involves multiple processes like tracking inventory, payment processing, fulfilling and tracking orders, generating receipts and reports, etc.
Typically, you would code this entire logic and use it to fulfill your business needs. But, with Functions in Zoho CRM, you can write the logic for each of these individual processes and simply orchestrate them using Circuits.

So, for the above example, you can simply create an automated workflow using Circuits and use the functions in the right order. That's not just it! You can re-use these functions elsewhere, too.

Another simple example of a Circuit is when you want to automating sending SMS alerts to users when an event occurs. How this is different from a workflow is that in this circuit, you can have a function that triggers an SMS alert, and also a function that sends an email to the user when the SMS alert ails. This involves circuit's functional states and a decision making state.
Like this, the use cases of circuits are endless.

Advantages of Circuits

  • Automate your routines
    Convert all your manual routines to automated workflows to save time. Avoid the need to trigger or interrupt applications to control the system flow, as you can create smooth-sailing, smart workflows that control themselves.
  • Scale fast
    Handle any number of requests hassle free as your workflows get executed on cloud. While Zoho Circuit dynamically allocates resources on need, you can focus more on building your applications rather than managing them.
  • Update in minutes
    Building the business logic of your applications in workflows empowers you to update the applications quickly. Swap or reorganize the components easily and build the modified applications in minutes.
  • Low-code
    Create a circuit effortlessly with the visual drag-and-drop interface, which makes it easier for the users with minimum coding knowledge.
  • Developer-friendly
    Circuits help you manage parallel processes, service integrations, spot failures, retry, and view logs, within minutes. Developers can focus on the business logic and not worry about these factors.
  • Orchestrate CRM Functions
    Use various CRM functions on your circuit to integrate multiple third-party apps and Zoho CRM seamlessly. Write functions once, and orchestrate them in circuits to solve different business needs.
  • Automate IT and business processes within CRM
    Create a circuit, associate it with a workflow, blueprint, or button, and automate your entire business process. With high availability, scalability, and fault tolerance, circuits ensure the performance of your workflow remains consistent even with changing states and an increase in frequency.
  • Diagnose errors and view audit logs
    A detailed log of each execution provides the status of each state's task execution, the payload and parameters passed, and the responses and exceptions generated.
  • Use Existing Functions
    From picking functions you've already tried, tested, and are up and running in your CRM account, to using a circuit within another circuit, this flexibility opens up possibilities of handling so much of your out-of-the-box requirements in a single space.

How are Circuits different from Workflow Rules and Blueprints?

Circuits is simply an orchestration of functions with powerful state management capabilities, along with in-built flow controls to automate the business process.

Workflow rules help us automate repetitive tasks and standardize business processes within the CRM system.
Workflow rules are useful in simple automations that the sales person does on a regular basis, like sending an email after record creation.

Builder View and Code View of a Circuit

Builder View

This view offers an easy drag-and-drop interface to build your circuit. The left pane in this view comprises all the states that can be added to a circuit.
The right pane comprises Configuration and Input/Output.

The Configuration tab lets you give a name to the state, choose its type, and select its next state.

The Input/Output tab allows you to control how JSON data must flow from one state to another through Paths.
Paths are strings beginning with $ that identify the components within the JSON. Specific parts of a JSON can be accessed by denoting their attributes in Input Path, Result Path, and Output Path.

This tab contains the following.

1. Input Path
Input path selects parts of the input JSON to pass to the state. You can also pass parameters to the input as a collection of key-value pairs. The values of Parameters can either be static or parts of the input JSON selected as a Path. For example, if your state's input is
"Entry1": {...},
"Entry2": {...}
then, you can apply the input path as $.Entry2 within the state definition. So, only the data inside the "Entry2" object will be passed as input to the state.

2. Result Path
After the input is processed by the state, Result Path selects what combination of the state result and the actual state input has to be passed to the output.

3. Output Path
Output Path further filters the data from the Result Path to pass it as state output.

Code View of a Circuit

In Code View, you can define your state machine in a simple JSON-based, structured language. Once a circuit is created, a sample workflow with the pass state as 'State 1' is created by default.

States of a Circuit and Flow Controls

Circuits offer a cascading structure to different states in a business process, allowing you to write functions that each feed their output into the next one, or any other one you pre-define, individually. You can also reroute, pause for a certain period, or feed it in batches to enable just about any sort of action.
Simply put, Circuits have different 'functional states' and 'flow controls' that allow you to automate execute your business process.

Flow Controls

Flow Controls let you control the flow of your circuit. To achieve this, Circuits make use of different states that allow you to make the execution, 'Wait' for another state, 'Pass' the input of a state to another, use 'Success' and 'Failure' to stop the execution of the Circuit.

The different states available are:
  • Pass: Transfers the input from one state to another.
  • Branch: Decides between branches of execution based on input.
  • Parallel: Performs simultaneous executions.
  • Wait: Inserts a delay for a specific time. The maximum wait time is 30 days.
  • Batch: Implements multiple group executions. You can have a maximum of 10 jobs per batch.
  • Success: Terminates an execution, returning 'Success'.
  • Failure: Terminates an execution, returning 'Failure'.
For more details on states, refer to this article.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM states help you execute business logic in circuits with respect to the data available in CRM.

You can write functions in the built-in editor or orchestrate existing ones, get the details of a record as an input to other the states, get the details of your org, user, CRM variables and use them in your Circuit.
You can also trigger another Circuit within a Circuit using the 'Circuit' flow control.

'Function' State
Use this state in your Circuit to use an existing function in CRM. Depending on your need, you can configure the input and output, and control data flow in your circuit. Only the functions that are REST API-enabled are shown here.

'Circuit' State
You can use another Circuit in one of the states and configure the flow accordingly.

'Record' State
This state fetches the details of a particular record in a module in CRM. You can choose to pass a portion or all of this state's result as an input to the next state in the circuit. Note that the information displayed will be based on the scope provided to the user.
Depending on where the Circuit is associated(Blueprint, Workflow, Button - Create/Clone/Details/Edit View pages, individual record, mass action), the response of the Record State differs.

'Org' State
This state gives you the details of your CRM org that you can use in your circuit.

'User' State
Use this state in your circuit to get the details of the current user in your org and process this information in other states.

'Org Variable'
This state gives you the details of all CRM Variables in your org.

Error Handling

When you use any of the Zoho CRM states, you can also perform error handling as these functional states tend to have runtime errors.

On TimeOut

When a functional state runs longer than the expected time, timeout errors occur. For handling timeout errors in code view, the field value "errorType": "Error.TimeOut" will be added.

On Execution Failure

When a state's execution fails due to some exception that cannot be processed, it can be handled using execution failure. In code view, key-value "errorType": "Error.ExecutionFailure" is appended.

Custom Error

You can also have custom error handling for your states.
Configure Exception Type and Exception Value to set the error handling options based on the error code or error message delivered by the state's output.
Retry the function in case of failure or timeout, set the Attempt (number of retries) and Delay (wait time after failure for every retry attempt).
In case of failure, if the retries fail to fix the error, the State will Fallback the error output to the Next state in the Result field.

We hope you found this post useful. Stay tuned for part 2!
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Shylaja S

    Zoho Developer Community

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