What is the Collaboration stage?
The Collaboration Stage property lets users collaborate on a webform by commenting in a Discussion area, updating form values, uploading new documents, and mentioning each other in posts. The Collaboration Stage can be used for redlining processes, creating Jira-like Help Desk workflows, and more.
How does the Collaboration Stage work for end users?
End users can collaborate and take actions in up to three different ways. Collaboration allows users to:
- Comment and respond to comments,
- Update and change form field values,
- Submit the Collaboration Stage when it has reached the appropriate point.
End users can also modify their “subscription” to the workflow. The subscription works like most email subscriptions you might be familiar with. From the Collaboration Stage, users can subscribe to be notified when they are “mentioned” in the discussion, when there are new comments in the discussion (regardless of mentions), and when new edits are made to the webform.
Collaboration stages can now function as the initial stage of the workflow. This means that your request form can be more than just a form – it can be a collaborative environment allowing multiple users to edit data and files indefinitely until the request is ready to be submitted. Using a collaboration stage as the initial stage of a workflow can be particularly useful for very large forms which may require a number of different users to complete different sections or input from many different parties.
While everyone who participates in a Collaboration Stage must be a registered user, each registered user will occupy one of three “Collaboration Roles” within the Collaboration Stage. Each role is able to see the webform, but what someone can do to the webform depends on his or her role. What you can do as an end user in a Collaboration Stage depends on how the stage is configured as well as your “Collaboration Role.” There are three Collaboration Roles: Members, Editors, and Administrators. These roles are set up on the back end of the Collaboration Stage.
Members have access to the Discussion component of the Collaboration Stage. They can comment on the work that is being done, as well as provide feedback and advice. Members, and everyone within the Collaboration Stage, can “mention” other users in their comments by using the “@” sign. For example, if someone wanted to commend a change John Doe had made, he or she might write, “Nice work @John Doe.”
Depending on how the back-end user designed the Collaboration Stage, members may be able to bring additional users into the Collaboration stage who previously were uninvolved. This is also a function of the “mention” feature, and this feature may be turned on or off by the end user.
Editors have access to both the Discussion as well as to the webform values. Anyone occupying an Editor role is able to “push” information into the form. However, the Editor is unable to submit the form to the next stage. Only an Administrator can submit a form.
Of the three Collaboration Roles, Administrators have the most control over the Collaboration Stage. As with Members and Editors, Administrators can comment in the Discussion section, and like Editors, they can update form field values. However, Administrators have two more permissions that set them above the others. First, Administrators can manage the other Collaborators. They can turn a Member into an Editor and vice versa. They can also add additional registered users from the TAP site without mentioning them. Second, Administrators are able to submit the webform, thus ending the Collaboration stage and moving the workflow forward.
How do I configure Collaboration Roles?
Setting up a Collaboration Stage is quite simple. You need to identify where the is in the workflow, identify which users will be assigned to which Collaboration Roles, and then define the default subscription and notification rules.
- Select the stage which you would like to be a Collaboration Stage.
- Select the Collaboration stage property.
- The Collaboration stage dialog opens, and the Options tab displays by default.
- Select the Enable collaboration stage check box.
- Identify the users who will be Members, Editors, and Administrators.
NOTE: All Superadmins who have access to the Collaboration stage also have the privileges and permissions of an Administrator, even in cases where their Collaboration Role says otherwise. A good rule of thumb is that Superadmins can always do everything.
- Identify the default Invitation settings:
- If the Invite User check box is selected, Administrators are able to invite additional users within the Collaboration stage.
- If the Invite user using mention check box is selected, anyone who occupies a Collaboration Role will automatically add additional users when those users are mentioned.
- Identify the default subscriptions.
NOTE: Subscriptions refer to the frequency with which anyone occupying a Collaboration Role will receive a notification about the Collaboration stage.
- If the Subscribe to comments addressed to me check box is selected, an end user receives email notification when he or she is “mentioned” in the Discussion.
- If the Subscribe to new comments check box is selected, end users receive email notification when new comments are made in the Discussion, regardless of whether the user is “mentioned.”
- If the Subscribe to form updates check box is selected, end users receive notifications whenever the webform is updated (remember, only Editors and Administrators can update a webform).
How do I configure the Subscription Notifications?
Subscription Notifications are used to notify a Collaboration Role-member of an update to the Collaboration Stage. Subscription Notifications are configured in a way that is similar to Informational Notifications, with a couple of differences.
Subscription Notifications are sent to users depending on the selections for subscription settings. The “back end designer” for the Collaboration Stage defines the default notification settings. However, functionality can also be included allowing end users to edit their own subscription settings. This ability is configurable by the “back end designer.” For example, if the Add manage subscription link and Add unsubscribe link buttons are removed from a notification, the end user will not be able to edit their own subscriptions.
Select the Notifications tab on the Collaboration stage dialog to configure Subscription Notifications. There are five different types of notifications that you can configure:
- Notification for mentioned user
This notification is sent to a user after the user is mentioned in comments in the Discussion section. This notification is contingent on whether or not the Collaboration Stage is set up to allow users to mention each other in comments.
- New comment notification
This notification is sent to users whenever a new comment is made in the Discussion section section (if the user is subscribed to receive such notifications).
- Form Update notification
This notification is sent to users after form values are changed. The notification can be sent to any Collaboration Role, but only the Editors and Administrators are able to update form values.
- Invite User Notification
This notification is sent to a user after he or she has been invited to take part in the Collaboration Stage.
- Collaboration stage submission notification text
This notification is a configurable pop up that appears after an Administrator clicks Submit, confirming that they wish to proceed to the next stage.
These notifications include additional buttons where you can include links to unsubscribe or manage your subscription. These notifications can also include information that has previously been submitted into the discussion section. The syntax for merging this information is shown below.