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Workflow

Workflow is the automation of a business process in which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant(s) to another for action.

A workflow is made up of many functions and activities such as a review process, task lists, notifications, alerts/triggers, reminders, context sensitive tasks, an approval process, status/tracking, due dates and reporting.

What is a Workflow Definition?

Workflow definitions in Process Director are a series of logical steps, each with a specific task and assigned participants. The workflow defines the path or route that an eForm or document must take. Each step in the workflow path defines the task type, the participants, and the rules that govern how the workflow will advance or transition to the next step.

Users vs. Groups

Users and/or groups can be assigned to a step in a workflow. When a workflow definition is run, the group will be expanded and all users that are members of the specified groups will be added to the appropriate workflow steps. The Process Director workflow engine supports parallel and serial reviews. To set up a parallel review process, add multiple users or groups to the same workflow step.

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To establish a serial review process, add each user or group to a separate step.

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Generally a review will be a combination of a parallel and serial process.

Task Email Notifications

As a workflow advances to a step, the assigned users are automatically notified using your corporate email system. A custom email can be sent that provides users with special instructions that are relevant to this specific task.

Due Date Management

Due date management functions allow due dates to be set for the entire workflow, as well as for each step in a workflow. Periodic email reminders can be automatically sent to users that have not completed their task. When a due date expires for a step the due date escalation rules determine if the system should automatically advance the workflow to the next step, notify another user, start a new workflow process or jump to another step within the workflow.

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Asynchronous Operation

A Workflow step of the Custom Task, Script or Sub-Process types can be configured to run asynchronously/offline by checking the check box labeled "Run this step offline (asynchronously)" in the Advanced Options tab. Setting the operation to run asynchronously can be used to prevent a long-running, machine-centric task in the Workflow from hanging a user session while the processing occurs. The step will be run in a different context than the current user that caused the transition of the step. Additionally, if you have a Rendering Server enabled, the asynchronous processing will be conducted by the Rendering Server when the aynchronous option is checked.

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Please note that, when this option is selected, if the user's task is followed (after one or more intervening "background" tasks) by another task assigned to the same user, the current behavior in which the window remains open and is refreshed with the eForm for the subsequent task will no longer be seen. Instead, the user will have to click the appropriate link in their task list or email notification to open the new task.

On some systems, when starting a subprocess using the asynchronous option, the system can mark the calling task as complete before the called subprocess completes. This may be especially true if the subprocess contains complex rendering operations. To avoid this, a wait time, in seconds, can be set using the nAsyncSubProcessWaitSecs variable in the Custom Vars file. The default setting for this variable is 5 seconds.

Creating Workflow Definitions

Workflow definitions can be created and modified by the business users. Use the Content List entry in the Process Director navigation bar to view the content list screen. You must have Modify permission in the folder you are viewing to be able to create a new workflow definition. Use the Create New menu item and select Workflow Definition from the list.

Workflow definitions can be stored anywhere in the content list, under any folder structure.

Workflow Settings

To configure the workflow definition settings, click on the Settings icon in when viewing the workflow definition. This will display a dialog that allows the workflow information to be set.

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Workflow Name and Description

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The workflow definition name and description are important because this is what a user will see when selecting a workflow to run. The description should describe why and when this workflow definition should be run.

Workflow Options

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Priority

The workflow priority is used to show participants the importance. The higher priority items are displayed first in a user’s Task List. The workflow priority can be overridden by the user that is starting the workflow.

After a user submits a form which runs this process

In some cases, a user may be assigned to two or more activities in a row. The default behavior for Process Director is to immediately display the eForm to the user to perform the second task once the first task is completed. This may be confusing, as the user generally expects the eForm to close when a task is completed. This property enables you to change the default behavior so that, if a user is assigned to two activities in a row, the eForm will not immediately reload to complete the second task. To perform the second task, the user will have to manually re-open the form from the task list.

Remove workflow instance after workflow completes

When a workflow is started it is stored under the workflow definition in the content list. Completed workflows will remain there until deleted or moved. If a completed workflow is not needed for reporting or auditing, you can have them removed automatically when they complete. To automatically delete completed workflows set the Remove inactive workflow after it completes flag.

To delete a workflow instance manually, click on the workflow definition in the content list. From there, two options should appear under the workflow in the content list: Active Workflows and Completed Workflows. Click on Completed Workflows, select the workflow you want to delete, and click on the “Delete” action.

Do not show this object in 'Items I Can Run' Knowledge Views

Checking this option prevents users from accessing the workflow from the 'Items I Can Run' Knowledge Views.

Workflow Icon

A custom icon can also be configured for this workflow definition. This icon will be displayed for all running workflows for this definition (e.g. task list, Content List, Knowledge View, etc.). To change the icon used for this workflow definition, click on the image icon.

Advanced Options

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Instantiated Workflow Names

This field contains an optional name that should be used when a workflow is started (i.e. instantiated). The default name of a running workflow is the same name as the workflow definition. This name can contain system variables using the {sysvar} tag. This allows the running workflow names to contain more meaningful information (e.g. PR Review – started by {CURR_USER}). The running workflow name is re-evaluated after each workflow step completes allowing variable data (e.g. eForms field values) to be used to construct the name. Refer to the section named System Variables in this document for more information.

When using an instantiated workflow name, a user will not be able to override the name when starting a workflow against an object.

eForm Associated with Workflow

You can optionally link a Workflow to a specific eForm definition in the Content List. When this is configured you can choose a form field from a dropdown list of all fields in that form instead of choosing a form then a form field.

To do this, click on Settings, then on the Advanced Options tab in the window that appears. User the Pick List [. . .] button to select the eForm you want associated with the workflow.

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Default Email Template in this Workflow

This is an optional default email template to use when sending email notifications to users in a step. If an email template is not specified in a step, this default email template will be used. If no default email template is assigned, the system default email template will be used that was shipped with Process Director. For more information on email templates refer to the section named Using Email Templates in this document. Email Templates are stored in the Content List as an eForm uploaded as an Email Template eForm.

To set an email template, click on “Settings” then go to the Advanced Options tab in the Window that appears. Use the Pick List [. . .] button, then select the email template you want to use.

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Copy Objects in Workflow Package to Parent

If checked, this option will copy objects in this Workflow package to the package’s parent. You can optionally limit the objects copied by group. The parent process may be either a Workflow or a Process Timeline.

Copy Objects from Parent Process to this Workflow

If checked, this option will copy objects from this Workflow’s parent process to this Workflow. You can optionally limit the objects copied by group. The parent process may be either a Workflow or a Process Timeline.

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