We’ve all seen the scenario, something happens in Dynamics, and a user must be notified. We’ve done it so far using emails, the brave ones have even done it with SMS by integrating with Twilio. SMS is not a protocol that confirms the receipt of the message (just FYI), and typically not under the umbrella of a Messaging Team to manage. But what if there was another way?
Welcome to Skype for Business notifications. Yes, we can send a message on Skype to a user when something of importance happens in Dynamics.
For this scenario I’m going to do a no-code approach, using Flow. We’ll discuss the challenges further down, but for now, let’s see how easy it is.
Flow allows you two actions for Skype:
- Create a Meeting
- Send a Message
The image below show you the available actions once you add a new step:
So, I’ll keep this simple, and trigger this flow on a new Account creation. You can actually change that, and use other conditions, like a record update.
The example shows two actions, one is sending an email, the other is sending a Skype message. Ignore the email for now, you can do that the traditional way.
My flow looks like so:
First, I’m setting the trigger the flow. The condition is when a new Account is created. That’s easy as pie.
Next step, I’m going to retrieve the Owner of the Account record. I need this in order to retrieve the email ID of the Skype message recipient.
For this, I’m doing a Get Record step, retrieving the user with the identifier matching the Owner. You could do the notification to another user if you’re capturing a different field, but for the sake of simplicity I’m going to keep it at Owner.
As I’ve said before, I’m going to ignore the Send Email step. You can play with that and see where it leads you. It’s pretty straight forward, trust me on that!
Finally, now that we have the recipient record, let’s add a new step for sending the Skype message.
On the To field, select from Dynamics content the Primary Email field. Make sure that you pick the one in the Get Record (Preview) section in order to select the email for the Owner. Remember that Step 2, right?
I’ve created a message body including other Dynamic content also. In this case I’ve added the Account Name. For that, you select the field from the When a record is created (Preview) step. That’s Step 1.
Be careful not to mix these up, otherwise you will end up with unexpected results.
And voila! Save and test your shiny new Flow. You should be seeing new Skype messages popping up now every time when a new Account is created with you as Owner.
Flow actually gives you a nice Run History view. See below:
You can drill-down into every run, and see visually if a failure occurred and where. Very nice for tracking issues.
In addition, you get a nice Power BI dashboard of Flow runs if you go to See analytics. It looks like so:
You see here both runs and errors. Sweet.
Now, while this is nice, I’ve seen some issues with regards to the timing. A Flow will retry when failed, and the plans describe the timing. But based on what I’m seeing and other comments I could find online, the reality is that there does not seem to be any certainty that the messages will be delivered in a reasonable amount of time. While running it in test, it all works snappy, but one enabled, I’ve seen delays of up to two hours before the message actually makes it to the user’s Skype. Others have been complaining in the Microsoft Flow Community Board of even longer wait times. I’m running under Flow Plan 2, I’m assuming the ones with longer delays are using probably the Free plan.
Conclusion: It can be done, it’s easy and quite nice actually, but I would not use it for anything critical just yet.
Just go with the Flow!