Build SharePoint No-Code Mobile Request Application Workflow

Products: SharePoint InfoPath 2010 & SharePoint Designer Workflow 2010

Client Expectations

  • specific request information be captured within the corporate network
  • that specific management approvers be notified of new requests
  • that the approvers could be anywhere in the world (internal or external)
  • that the approvers could be using any type of device (phone, tablet, laptop)
  • that the approvers need to review each request and respond within 8 hours
  • that the original request and each of the approver responses need to be captured within the context of a ‘conversation’ for the process owner to perform a final comprehensive evaluation
  • that each request, from start to finish, needs to be completed within 5 business days

Process Specifications

  • the requests will be entered by a select group of business users within the internal corporate environment
  • the request entry list will reside on an existing internal SharePoint collaboration site
  • the approvers associated with each request are identified after the user has completed all of the required field options
  • once the request is submitted, the workflow sends an email notification to the approvers
  • the approvers review the request details and select either the Approve or Deny link, enter comments into the body of the email (as applicable) and then send the email
  • the email is received back into a 2nd internal SharePoint collaboration site list
  • a page will display two web part lists
    – the original request list
    – the email response list
  • the page web parts will be connected on the key fields
  • the process owner will be able to easily select each request and review the related email responses or conversation
  • the process owner will resolve any conflicts or confusion with the approvers
  • the process owner will record the final status and mark each request as complete

Technical Specifications

  • Request Entry List
    – use the custom list template
    – used for managing the request details
  • Request Responses List
    – use the discussion board template
    – used for managing the email responses
    – contains key field used to reference the Request Entry List ID value
    – email enable this list; define a unique email address
  • InfoPath will be used to customize the Request Entry List
    – some of the field values/options are hard-coded in the form
    – some of the field values/options will be populated from other lists
    – managed rules are used to show/hide sections (as applicable)
    – validation rules are used to enforce field entry within the show/hide sections
    – action rules drive the populating of specific work fields and conditional flow
  • Approvers List
    * use the custom list template
    * used for managing the list of Approvers for each Region
    A few of the main columns:
    – region (type: choices)
    – primary approver (type: people/group)
    – secondary approver (type: people/group)
    – tertiary approver (type: people/group)
  • the authorized Approvers are pulled from a SharePoint list based on conditional filters and the names retained within the request
  • the Workflow will fire when a ‘new’ request is submitted
    Email notification details:
    – identifies the type of email to be sent
    – applies the proper email template
    – includes the proper request details
    – includes a separate link for the actions: Agree and Disagree
    * with preloaded variables
    * with preloaded reply email
    – includes the proper TO: and CC: recipients
    – includes a dynamic TITLE

Agree link format
mailto:YourMessage@YourBusiness.com?subject=XXXXXXX%20Approval%20Request-Title%20Of%20Your%20Request(179)&body=Agree.

* the approver simply replies back with their agreement; the body contains the text ‘Agree.’ by default; they may include additional comments within the body of the email as needed
* no CC: required on the Agree link
* as long as the associated request number (ie; 179) is retained on the email Title/Subject, the message will automatically reference the original request upon entering the collaboration site discussion board list

Disagree link format
mailto:YourMessage@YourBusiness.com?subject=XXXXXXX%20Approval%20Request-Title%20Of%20Your%20Request(179)&body=Disagree.&cc=First.Approver@YourBusiness.com;Second.Approver@YourBusiness.com;Third.Approver@YourBusiness.com

* the approver simply replies back with their disagreement; the body contains the text ‘Disagree.’ by default; they are encouraged to include additional comments within the body of the email
* the CC: of the email contains the Approvers who will also be notified of the Disagreement
* as long as the associated request number (ie; 179) is retained on the email Title/Subject, the message will automatically reference the original request upon entering the collaboration site discussion board list

  • the Dashboard Page is constructed as follows
    • the original request view resides on the left side of the page; and,
    • the discussion board message view resides on the right side of the page
    • both [web part] views will be connected by the request id (ie; KEY)
    • as the process owner selects an entry in the request view it will display the conversation entries in the message view

Pre-Requisites

  • business phones need to be set to the Corporate Email default; defaults of GMail, Yahoo or others will cause user adoption issues and unnecessary support tickets
  • have the IT Infrastructure/Networking Team configure a unique corporate internet email address and associate it with the unique internal email address that is associated with the discussion board list
  • employees need to be logged in/connected to the corporate network in order for the emails to resolve with the identity management system
    OR
    employee accounts used in the external cloud environments need to be ‘mapped’ to the internal corporate identity system
    OTHERWISE
    the external account will not be mapped to an internal account and thus the SharePoint ‘System Account’ value will be used for all of the people type columns (eg; Created By, Modified By, Employee Name, etc.) that reside within the list or library entry

Sample Email Format

To               [ Approver email addresses]
Subject      [ Attention:  Review <Request Title> ]

Action
Agree with Recommendation
Disagree with Recommendation

Details For Your Review
Project Name                   xxx
Project Number               999
Services                            $9,999

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This entry was posted in Business Process Management, Email Management, InfoPath, Information Architecture, Knowledge Management, Workflow. Bookmark the permalink.

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