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Introduction to Sharepoint Workflow



A workflow is a pre-programmed mini-application that may automate a variety of business activities. They give rules, conditions, and actions for automated behaviour and tasks on lists and libraries that result in a result. A workflow follows a flow chart that checks for a number of different conditions. It will automatically execute a programmed action based on the stimuli, depending on how it is designed. You can, for example, build a procedure that alerts someone when a document needs to be authorized.


SharePoint Products’ workflow functionality is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office 2013, allowing the following workflow tasks to be performed in both products:

  • View a list of available workflows for a document or item.

  • Begin a workflow with a document or item.

  • A workflow task can be viewed, edited, or reassigned.

  • Finish a workflow task.


Types of SharePoint Workflow Platforms

A SharePoint site includes several built-in workflows that address common business scenarios:


1. Approval

A document or item is routed through this procedure to a group of persons for approval. The Approval workflow is automatically available in document libraries because it is connected with the Document content type by default.


2. Collect Feedback

This process sends a document or item to a group of people for review. Reviewers can submit feedback, which is subsequently compiled and forwarded to the workflow’s initiator. The Collect Feedback process is automatically available in document libraries because it is connected with the Document content type by default.


3. Collect Signatures

This workflow distributes a Microsoft Office document to a group of users for digital signature collection. This workflow must begin in an Office 2013 application. Participants must finish their signature tasks by digitally signing the paper in the appropriate Office programme. The Collect Signatures procedure is automatically available in document libraries because it is connected with the Document content type by default. The Collect Signatures workflow, on the other hand, displays only if a document in the document library contains one or more Microsoft Office Signature Lines.


4. Publishing Approval

In the same way that the Approval workflow automates the routing of material to subject matter experts and stakeholders for review and approval, this workflow does the same. The publishing approval workflow is distinct in that it was created exclusively for publishing sites where the publication of new and modified web pages is strictly controlled.


5. Three-state

This workflow can be used to manage business operations that require a high volume of issues or objects to be tracked, such as customer support issues, sales leads, or project assignments.

Each of the above workflows can be tailored to your company in a variety of ways. You can edit the tasks lists and history lists where information about the workflow is saved when you add a process to a list, library, or content type to make it available for use on documents or objects.

When a site user creates a process for a document or item, the user may have the ability to modify it further by specifying a list of participants, a due date, and job instructions.


Events, Actions, Conditions and Stages

Events, actions, conditions and stages are the fundamental building blocks of SharePoint workflows. A workflow contains one or more stages, each stage consists of one or more actions and related conditions.

An Event is what triggers the workflow. There are only three events that can trigger a workflow:

  • An item is created

  • An item is changed or updated

  • A site user manually triggers the workflow


Conditions are If, Else-If or Else blocks that evaluates a specific piece of information, such as the number of hours worked for an employee, and performs actions based on the evaluation. In the example of evaluating the number of hours worked for an employee, we may reject the timesheet if the number of hours are below 40 or send off an email to their supervisor for approval if hours are greater than 50.


Actions are the basic units of work in a workflow. SharePoint Designer 2013 provides you a variety of actions that you can use in your workflows. Actions are grouped based on their function. The default groups of actions are Core Actions, List Actions, Coordination Actions, Task Actions and Utility Actions.


Core Actions:

  • Add a comment

  • Log to History list

  • Send an Email

List Actions:

  • Set field in Current item

  • Create List Item

  • Delete Item

Coordination Actions:

  • Start a list workflow

  • Start a site workflow

Task Actions:

  • Assign a task

  • Start a task process

Utility Actions:

  • Extract substring from start of string

  • Find intervals between dates



Benefits of Using Sharepoint Workflows Automation


1. Achieve Excellent Communication

One of the main reasons employees leave an organization is the perceived lack of communication with their colleagues and with management. Automating your workflows to provide a clear line of communication means no single person has to remember to tell the next in a successive chain of events that it’s now ‘their turn’.


2. Save Money

A business process automated software will be quicker and more efficient, saving you time and therefore money. If nothing else, this should be reason enough to invest in workflow automation software.


3. Remove the Risk of Human Error

Unfortunately, people make mistakes. Slow sale approvals, late payments and a lack of payment altogether are all errors and inefficiencies that cost money to set right. Workflow automation can show you the current state of any item, leaving employees with no more excuses for making mistakes (sorry!).


4. Empower Your Employees

No one likes to micromanage. The whole purpose of automated workflows is to save you time, and that time you save can mean your employees can focus their efforts on more valuable work. The great thing about software is it doesn’t get bored doing the same task over and over again, something which can’t be said for you and I.


5. Streamline Your Processes for Greater Insight

Offering a single, streamlined and repeated process in a single dashboard view. Having automated your business processes, your employee base has been using this new system for the past couple of months.

What are the possibilities for all the data that has been stored over that time? You now have insights on the amount of requests coming in: how many were approved, rejected, and how long they took to complete. This centralized data will help you see whether it’s making life easier or harder for your employees. We’re confident it will be the former!


6. Gain a Better Understanding of Your Colleagues Work Styles

When you automate your workflows, you create an owner for each step of the process. Initiations, approvals, rejections, and input are all bound to the individual who performed the action.

Therefore, utilizing automated Workflows will give you insight into who gets certain jobs done quickly and who struggles with keeping up with their workload. View certain employee’s areas of strength or weakness and mould the distribution of work accordingly.


7. Enable a Hierarchy

Not a hierarchy in the organizational sense, of course (we suspect most of you already have this!) A business process Workflow tool will have approval hierarchies self-implemented. This means managers don’t have to stress over each step of a process, and employees can get their projects approved with confidence.


8. Make It Easier To Stay In-The-Know

An effective business Workflow Management system can send both email notifications or mobile push notifications to remind employees of upcoming approvals. Users are far more likely to abandon and forget a platform if they are not reminded to use it on a regular basis. Users can also have the option to customize the kind of notifications they receive, making it unique to them.


9. Enforce Compliance

Many businesses have regulations and laws they need to comply with. Automated workflows are perfectly suited to this, as it means the relevant tasks will be completed on time to a high standard when they need to be. The repeatable and fault-free nature of workflow automation is perfectly suited to compliance.


10. Improve The Process Itself

Workflow automation will undoubtedly uncover new ways of working, that in turn can improve the actual business process and improve how the company itself thinks. Automated workflows will improve your company’s efficiency tenfold.



The Tech Platform

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