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Approvals

An Approval is a gateway in a workflow where the responses provided in the form thus far can be reviewed and altered before progressing. Approvals may require multiple stakeholders such as members of a group or a specific user. For example:

  • Two (2) members of the ‘Executive’ Group or the ‘CEO, John Smith’
  • Two (2) members of the ‘HR’ group and 1 member of the ‘Finance’ group

If appropriate communication templates have been configured, Approvals automatically send email notifications when new requests are submitted, comments are provided etc.
Approvals are managed centrally and can be reused across multiple workflows.

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Creating an Approval

Approvals are created and managed centrally in Manage.

  1. In Manage, navigate to the Approvals section and select New Approval. These will be added to specific workflows in the steps that follow.
  2. Specify an appropriate name. For example, Line Manager Approval or Executive Approval.
  3. Add a clause to your workflow, by first selecting if the clause is intended for a group or user:
  • For group clauses, you will need to specify which group to assign to together with how many members of that group need to approve to satisfy the clause.
  • User clauses require a reference name that will later be mapped to data in the form. For example, a ‘supervisor’ clause might be mapped to a data question that is configured to retrieve the requester’s supervisor from the HR System.
  1. Click Add.
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  1. Add more clauses as necessary. See the “All Of, Any Of and Then Clauses“ section below for how to manage approvals with multiple clauses.

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Note

If you are editing an existing approval, click the Update button before saving.

  1. (Optional) See the Notifications section below to specify appropriate notifications for new requests, comments etc.
  2. Click the Save button to save changes.

All Of, Any Of and Then Clauses

For Approvals with multiple clauses, All Of, Any of and Then clauses determine how the individual clauses relate. There are three clause group types:

  • All Of – All clauses within the group have to be met in any order. In the example below, the Finance and Human Resource groups have to approve. Who approves first is not important as long as both approve.
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  • Any Of – Any Of groups need only one individual clause to be met. In the example below, the first member of Finance or Human Resources to approve will progress the entire approval.
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  • Then – Sub clauses need to be met in order. Members of the later sub clauses will not be able to approve before preceding sub clauses are met. Useful for situations where layers of approvals should occur. For example, do not bother the CEO until branch feedback/approvals have been actioned. In the example below, the Field Worker clause has to be met before the Approval can proceed to Finance. Finance will not be notified of the approval until the “Field Worker” clause has been met.
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You can also change the following:

  • Convert state by selecting the state you want to change and click the Convert state button to change from All Of to Any Of or vice versa.
  • Change order of priority by selecting the clause and then clicking the up and down arrows to move a clause up or down.

Nesting Then, All Of and Any Of Groups

In the example below, All Of and Any Of are nested within Then. SmartIQ will process the clauses sequentially, starting with number 1 and will only proceed to the next clause if the previous clause has been satisfied. The last Approver would be number 4, or an Executive.

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The second example is where Any Of is nested within All Of, which is then nested within Then. All of number 1 has to be satisfied before it proceeds to number 2.

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Notifications

Specify communication templates as notifications when the following events occur:

  • Submission – The Requester receives the notification after submitting or starting a form
  • Comment – Only the Requester receives a notification if someone commented on the form
  • Comment Reply – The Requester as well as other active users will receive the notification if someone replied to the comment on the form
  • Approval – Only the Requester receives a notification if the form has been approved
  • Rejection – Only the Requester receives a notification if the form has been rejected
  • Observer – Users and groups designated as Observers will receive a notification with a link to the project
  • Mention – Any user mentioned in an Approval state will receive a notification with a link to the project
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For more information, refer to Communication Templates.

After setting up the Approvals, the following buttons will also appear:

  • Version History button to check any changes that have been made and by whom. There is also a Restore link that will appear next to a version if there are more than two changes that have been made. Restoring discards any changes that have been made after that date.
  • Related Projects to see any projects that use this Approval. These are projects that will be affected if you make changes to this Approval.

Workflow

Approvals are a state within a workflow. They enter the state when a request is made and leave once the approval clauses are met, either to go to finish or another state.
A single approval can contain many approvals where transition conditions are used to determine which path is required.

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This sample workflow uses two (2) approvals, New Hire - Simple and New Hire - Executive. The transition condition states that:

  • If the answer to the Candidate Selection question of executive is NO, the workflow uses the “New Hire – Simple” approval state and the hiring process will only need the approval of HR.
  • If the answer to the Candidate Selection question of executive is YES, the workflow uses the “New Hire – Executive” approval state and would need the approval of a Senior Executive before it can be processed.
  • From the “New Hire – Executive” and “New Hire – Simple” approval states, if either the HR or a Senior Executive answer to the hired question is YES, the company proceeds to Arrange Onboarding for the New Hire.
  • From the “New Hire – Executive” and “New Hire – Simple” approval states, if either the HR or a Senior Executive answer to the question is NO, the workflow goes back to Candidate Selection and the workflow continues.

Approvers

Approvers are users that can approve/reject the workflow from the Produce home page or a dashboard.

The Approver section will only display if Approvals > Clause Builder type in Manage has been set to User and will require a reference name that will be mapped to data in the form.

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In this example, the ‘Supervisor’ clause is mapped to a data question that retrieves the manager’s name from the system.

Adding an Approval State to a Workflow

  1. Open an appropriate project and navigate to its workflow. Drag and drop the Approval state into the workflow. A popup window will appear and you can select from the drop-down list of available approvals.
  2. Select the workflow from the drop down list.
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  1. Configure the State - Approval properties:
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a. (Optional) Specify the name of the state.
b. (Optional) Enable the Quick Approval option to give the Approver the ability to quickly approve or reject the request from the dashboard.
c. Select a View type.

  • Form – The form is displayed using pages and the Approver will have to use the next and back buttons to view the request.
  • Summary – Shows all the fields on one page using a form summary view. Useful for small-medium sized forms, where the request can be displayed without too much scrolling. The following minor configurations are available for summary view:
    • Collapsible pages – Group pages in an accordion style tab group
    • Include All Multiple Choice Answers – Displays all the answers and highlights the selected answer.
    • Answered Questions Only - Only include questions that have been answered.
  • Mentions – Gives the option to engage additional users or invite them to a workflow by mentioning them in a comment by using the ‘@’ syntax. Any user mentioned will receive an email notification with a link to the state or comment.
    • Users with State Access – Only users that currently have access to the state can be mentioned.
    • Anyone – Any user can be mentioned and they will be dynamically added as an observer to view the task and make comments.
  1. If a User had been selected as an Approver in Manage, map the reference input to data in the form:

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Approvers

This section will only display if Approvals > Clause Builder type in Manage has been set to User.

a. Select the input from the drop-down. In the example below, the User is the Supervisor.
b. Select the type of input and specify the value in the Text Value field.
c. Click Add. Repeat if there is more than one input.

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  1. (Optional) Add an Observer.

  2. Validate then Save project.

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Note: For both Form and Summary, only the requester will be able to make changes to the fields, but the Approver can add comments to let the requester know what changes need to be made.

Approving/Rejecting an Approval Request

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Interface Feature Availability

Available in web interface Produce only.

When a request is submitted, Approvers are able to access the approval’s content from SmartIQ home, a dashboard or from a direct link received in an email. The Approver will see an overview of the approval together with the content submitted with the request.

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Note

It is possible that Approver’s contribution is no longer required, as the approval clauses have already been actioned by another user. However, while an approval is still active, an individual Approver can reject the request or add an extra (redundant) approval.

For approvals with more than one stage, known as “Then Approvals”, extra information about the approval’s current and completed stages will appear in the overview.

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Comments

Users can also use the comments icon to pass feedback to the requester by selecting Always or Approval Only in each question’s properties.

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Quick Approval

Quick Approval is an option that allows an individual approval state to be added to the workflow which enables an Approve/Reject dropdown selection.

If quick approval is enabled, approvers can approve/reject the workflow from a dashboard or home page without actually opening the approval to view its content.

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Quick Approval in Dashboard

The Quick Approval feature can also be enabled in a Dashboard if using Data Grids.

The Approver can use the following buttons in the workflow:

  • Approve – Approves the form. If the current user is the last Approver required, the form will move to the next state.
  • Reject – Stops the form from proceeding any further or moves the approval to the previous state if a reject transition has been added.
  • Save and Close – Saves changes and comments without progressing the approval.