Posted in Approval Process, HowTo, Workflows

Workflow Approval Process: How to Build a Seamless System in Minutes

Businesses must approve all sorts of documents every day, from invoices to time off requests to purchase orders. Without a good workflow approval system in place, all the time (and money) spent on approvals can rapidly start to add up.

Some companies get by with manual approval processes, perhaps relying on the strength of a highly effective operations manager. They email Excel spreadsheets around for signatures, or worse, rely on physical paper forms. But the modest amount of money saved by forgoing a more sophisticated or automated approval system can quickly evaporate through missed documents, lost discounts, and other human errors common with manual systems.

Savvier businesses have an automated workflow approval process.

Join us as we explore the basics of workflow approval, what business processes to automate, how to streamline the process, and how to use one software to do it.

Continue reading “Workflow Approval Process: How to Build a Seamless System in Minutes”
Posted in Approval Process, HowTo, Workflows

Workflows: Approve vs Deny vs Reject

PurchaseApprovalWhile working with customers, I’ve recently noticed that a lot of approval steps in a workflow have three possible outcomes. Consider a Purchase Requisition workflow where an Employee wants to buy something and it goes to his/her Manager for approval. If approved, the next step is Purchasing.
What actions could the Manager take?

  1. He could Approve in which case the workflow moves forward to Purchasing.
  2. He could Reject back to the employee asking for more information in which case it moves backward to the Employee.
  3. Or, he could Deny the request completely (Reject to discard) in which case the workflow should move forward, skip the Purchasing step and terminate.

With frevvo, the Approve case is trivial. It’s the default behavior. Reject back to the Employee is also straightforward. It’s built-in to frevvo and can be configured for any step.
Deny (Reject to discard) is also easy but not so obvious. We’re considering adding this as a built-in feature but you can do this today by taking a few steps.
Step 1. Create an approval section with a Radio button
RequestStatus
The radio has two options: Approve or Deny. Deny is the second (last) option and the Comment property is checked. If the Manager clicks Deny, a text box will show up below the radio asking for details. Note the Name (set to RequestStatus) and Options (values are Approve and Deny) properties of the Radio control. You can also set the control to invisible and create a rule to show/hide it in the appropriate flow step (Manager in this case). For example:

if (form.load) {
var an = _data.getParameter(‘flow.activity.name’);
RequestStatus.visible = (an !== “Employee”);
RequestStatus.enabled = (an === “Manager”);
}

Step 2. Set Preconditions
PreconditionIn the Flow Designer, select the Purchasing step. Set the precondition as shown in the image to:

RequestStatus.value === “Approve”

This will evaluate to true only if the Manager selected Approve in the Radio we created earlier. If it’s false (Manager selected Deny), the Purchasing step will be skipped and the workflow will terminate.
Step 3. Setup Reject
SetupRejectIn the Flow Designer, select the Manager step and then click the Setup Approval/Rejection link in the Properties panel.
In the wizard that shows up, you can check Reject from here, Reject to here, change the label of the Reject button itself and customize the subject/body of the notification email.
Repeat this step for any other step from which you wish to Reject.
That’s it. Now, the Manager can:

  1. Select Approve in the Radio and continue the workflow. It will move to Purchasing.
  2. Select Deny in the Radio, provide a reason and continue the workflow. It will skip Purchasing and terminate.
  3. Click the Reject button and send the workflow backwards to the Employee for more information.
Posted in Approval Process, Forms, Mobile, Workflows

InfoPath replacement / SharePoint alternative

Microsoft’s InfoPath essentially lets you create rich forms that work with SharePoint. What’s the future of InfoPath? Should we continue to use it? How does it work with SharePoint? What are our replacement options? So many questions …

Should you continue to use InfoPath?

The answer’s got to be an unqualified NO WAY. Microsoft’s announced that there won’t be a new version of InfoPath coming out. Ever! InfoPath 2013 is the last one. It’s great that it’ll work with SharePoint 2016 and be supported until 2023. Here’s the problem. It’s old technology today and has been old technology for many years.
You can create forms with it bInfoPath formsut, frankly, they suck. In 2015, do you really want to deploy applications with user interfaces like this? In fact, we’d suggest
Even if Microsoft was not discontinuing InfoPath, you shouldn’t even consider using it in this day and age.
And it’s even worse on mobile devices. Employees come in to work and deal with horrendous user experiences with their enterprise applications. But they’re also consumers. They use apps on their mobile devices at home everyday that have gorgeous, sexy UIs and are engaging and easy to use. No wonder 60% of employees abandon corporate mobile apps.Portrait Landscape Desktop
Check out some of these examples and try them on different devices and see for yourself. Or watch this 4 minute video. With frevvo, you design your forms once and we’ll make sure they look great and work naturally on all devices. Automatically!
And you can still make use of your existing investments in Microsoft technologies. frevvo runs on Windows, works with SQL Server, integrates with Active Directory, works on Azure and can write your documents to SharePoint. A fantastic user experience that meets business needs. What’s not to love? Try frevvo today for free.

Posted in Approval Process, HowTo, Workflows

Design Patterns for Document Approval Processes – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed an approval process that collects comments/a signature from an external, anonymous person. This second pattern is another common approval process where an employee forwards a request to his/her manager. The manager can approve/reject the request or ask the employee for more information. A common variation is where a supervisor or VP has to further approve in some situations e.g. the amount is greater than $1,000.
Internal Document Approval Process
Some examples might be:

  • Employee submits a Purchase Requisition (purchase request).
  • Vacation/Leave approval.
  • Student course/schedule changes approved by advisor.
  • Contract approval by supervisor.
  • Expense report.

With frevvo 5.3, automating this process is straightforward.

  1. Drag and drop the internal employee form(s) into the workflow and use the Form Designer to layout/arrange controls. Typically, you’d add the manager and VP sections to this same form and hide them in the first step. Currently, this requires a simple business rule but we’ll soon be removing the need to write a rule.
  2. Use a linked step for the manager and configure it to route [dynamically] to the employee’s manager using a built-in template.
  3. If required, use a linked activity for the VP and configure it to route to the VP. Set a pre-condition on this activity so it only runs if the condition is true.
  4. The final step could be to route to an HR or Purchasing role, to integrate with a database or with a back end system.

Purchase Requisition Approval Workflow
That’s it. How does it work? The employee accesses the workflow (preferably via a frevvo space) and fills in the form, signs it and clicks Continue.
Employee Purchase Requisition Form
frevvo will send that employee’s manager a notification, which the designer can customize. The manager clicks on the notification [on any device], can view the purchase request and approve it or send it back for corrections. If approved, the workflow will be routed to the VP for further approval if the set condition is true otherwise it will continue to the next step for fulfillment.
Purchase Request Manager Approval
Want to learn more quickly:? Check out one of our short videos and contact us if you have questions.