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Creating Workflow Templates

You can create as many templates as needed for a particular document type. For example, you many need to create two different workflow templates for an engineering drawing review. One template sends the document to be reviewed internally and another for the document to be reviewed externally by the customer.

Once the workflow templates have been created, you add them to the document schema. Workflow templates can be used in more than one schema.

When creating workflow templates you can:

  • Create up to 20 review and approval activities or a combination of both in a template.
  • Make the template “locked down” or “ad-hoc”. Ad-hoc templates allow the workflow initiator to specify activities, participants, the due date, and task instructions. Locked down templates cannot be modified by the initiator.
  • Assign a single participant or a group of participants to an activity. There is no limit to the number of participants.
  • Specify if all or only one of the participants need to complete the activity (1 of X).
  • If only one of a group of participants is needed to complete the activity, a participant can be forced to reserve the task thereby removing the task from all other participants.
  • Include document version owners and workflow initiators as participants in an activity.
  • Allow a document to be checked out while it is under the workflow.
  • Restart a workflow from a selected activity. Completed workflows cannot be restarted.
  • Require a password upon completion of a review or approval activity.
  • Specify the frequency of which reminder emails are sent if they are overdue.
  • Specify how many days or hours a user has to complete a workflow.
  • Include task instructions.
  • Hide the current version of the document from other users (non participants and observers) until the document has been approved in the workflow process.
  • Have the workflow initiated manually or automatically.
  • Allow workflow approvals to be postponed.
  • Allow a postponed workflow to restart from a specific workflow activity.
  • Convert electronic documents to a record when the workflow is completed.
  • Convert documents to a PDF after an activity is completed. A template can be used to insert additional workflow information that can be appended to the end of the newly created PDF.

Approval activities provide a "closed system" electronic signature as required in many compliance environments. 

To create a workflow template

  1. In the Web Client, in the Administration Panel > Library Configuration> Workflow Templates and click Add Workflow.
  • Alternatively, go to Document Schema Wizard > Step 4 Workflow, click New Workflow.  
  • Alternatively, in FDA, go to Administration > Workflow management > Workflow templates.
  1. Use the following table to fill out the template information
Field Name Description
Workflow Name

Enter a name for the workflow template. To set up a custom naming pattern for the workflow name (the name of the workflow that the user sees in notification emails and My Tasks list), click Custom Naming. Read more about setting up the custom naming pattern.

Description Enter a description for the workflow. It is recommended that you enter as many details as necessary so that users will know exactly what this workflow template is for.
Used in Schemas The Used in Schemas area states which document schemas this template is being used. This area cannot be edited.
Initiator can modify (add/edit or delete) this workflow on initiation Select the check box if the initiator can modify all aspects of the workflow activities upon initiation (ad-hoc workflow). Leave this check box clear if no modifications to the activities are to be made.
Reset all activities when adding documents to a postponed workflow Select the check box if the activities in a "approval postponed" workflow should restart from the first activity in the workflow template when new main documents are added. This allows all of the main documents including any newly added main documents to go through the entire workflow process once again. If the option is not enabled on the template then the workflow is restarted from the activity from which the approval was postponed. Select this option only if the "allow postpone approval " is enabled in the activity.
Hide the document version until the workflow is approved

Select the Hide the document version until the workflow is approved check box to hide the version of the document undergoing the workflow from all users except for the document owner, workflow participants, workflow observers, and designated Library Administrators until such time as it has gone through a workflow instance that contains at least one Approval activity and the result of this activity is that the document is signed off as "Approved". The document version is hidden only during the workflow process until the document version is approved. The document is available at all other times whether it has been approved or not. All other versions will be available for viewing.

NOTE: The Hide the document... check box is only enabled when there is at least one approval activity in the workflow template. This check box is not available for review activities.

Convert main documents to electronic records at completion

When the workflow activities are completed, the final version of the electronic document will be converted into an electronic record as a new version. This action is only taken on main documents, not supporting documents. Supporting documents remain untouched.

Documents whose workflow has completed with any workflow status will be converted to a record. For example, if a document is “approved”, “not approved”, “approval postponed” or “reviewed” it is converted into a record.

The permission setting “Enable converting between electronic documents and records” must be enabled.

This option does not need to be enabled if the workflow is for electronic record formats.
Email notification

Enter the number of days or hours before a task is overdue to send a task overdue notification email.

To repeat the overdue task email notification after a specified period of time, enter the number of hours to resend the email. For example, if 8 hours is entered, an overdue email will be sent every 8 hours until the task is complete. If the repeat notification time is not set, the notification is sent only one time. The maximum number of hours is 24.

Observers To select a list of observers, click the  button. In the Select Workflow Observers window, select the groups and/or users to the Current Observers list. Click OK when done.
Allow document version owner to observe the workflow Select the check box to allow the document owner to see the workflow.
  1. To add an activity, click Add Activity. You can add up to 20 activities in a workflow.
Field Name Description
Workflow Activity n

In the Workflow Activity n area, select if this activity is an Approval or Review from the drop down list.

If you select an Approval activity, each participant is assigned the task of approving and signing off on the document. Users will be asked to enter their password when completing an approval activity to confirm their identity. The list of possible participants is limited to users that are able to access the document.

Select the Review activity to solicit feedback on a given document version. As the participants in the activity (reviewers) complete their task, the initiator can collect comments and feedback on the document being reviewed. The list of possible participants is limited to users that are able to access the document.

Title Enter a title for the activity. For example, “Review step 1”. The title is used in conjunction with the Allow Postpone Approval and restart feature.
Description Enter a description for the activity. For example, “This activity is to be sent to all members of group x for review.” The description is used in conjunction with the Allow Postpone Approval and restart feature.
Reviewers/Approvers

Click … to select the users or groups who will be approving or reviewing the document.

When adding groups to an activity, it will be expanded to individual users upon initiating the workflow. Adding or removing users from a group will not affect existing workflows.

In the Select Task Participants window, select the groups and/or users to the Current Participants list. Click OK when done.

IMPORTANT: You must ensure that you assign groups to workflows that will contain members at the time the workflow is initiated.

Include Document Version Owner To include the document version owner as a participant in the activity, select the Include Document Version Owner check box. If this option is selected, the list of participants can be left empty.
Include Workflow Initiator

To include the workflow initiator as a participant in the activity, select the Include Workflow Initiator check box. If this option is selected, the list of participants can be left empty.

1 of X If only one in a group of participants is required to approve or review the document, select the 1 of X check box. For example, if only 1 out of the 5 participants is required to approve the document. The first person to complete the task will void and remove the task from all other participants. Users are able to reserve a task with this option enabled.
Force Reservation

If a single participant in a group is to be forced to “reserve” the task, select the Force Reservation check box. When this option is enabled, it is not possible to submit a review or approval without reserving the task by a single participant. While a task is “reserved” no other participants in the activity will be able to complete the task.

If the Force Reservation option is not enabled, a user can still reserve the task. Note that this option is only available if the 1 of X check box is selected. The table below describes the effect of the 1 of X and Force Reservation settings.

Workflow Template Settings

Effect on Workflow

1 of x workflow template settings

  • Only one participant in a group of participants in the activity can complete the task.
  • Participant may “reserve” the task but is not forced to; the task can still be completed without the reservation.
  • First participant to complete the task voids the task for all other participants. The task is removed from their task list.
  • The activity is considered complete after a single participant completes the task.

If a participant reserves the task:

  • Only the participant who reserved the task can complete the task.
  • The status of the task changes to “Reserved” for the participant who reserved it.
  • The status of the other participants who did not reserve the task changes to “Blocked”.
  • The participant who reserved the task can undo the reservation which frees the task for the other participants to complete.

1 of X and force reservation workflow template settings

  • Only one participant in a group of participants in the activity can complete the task.
  • A participant must reserve the task before the task; the task cannot be completed without the reservation.
  • First participant to reserve the task voids the task for all other participants. The task is removed from their task list.
  • The activity is considered complete after the single participant reserves and completes the task.

If a participant reserves the task:

  • Only the participant who reserved the task can complete the task.
  • The status of the task changes to “Reserved” for the participant who reserved it.
  • The status of the other participants who did not reserve the task changes to “Blocked”.
  • The participant who reserved the task can undo the reservation which frees the task for the other participants to complete.

 

Require Password

This check box is controlled by the permission setting “Enable optional passwords in workflow templates” in the Workflow permission settings area. If the permission setting is enabled, the Require Password check box is available for use. If the permission setting is disabled, the Require Password check box is unavailable.

Select the check box if the password is required on an approval or review activity. When enabled, users will be forced to enter their FileHold password when completing the review or approval activity. If disabled, no password is required upon completion of an activity.
Allow Check Out

Select the check box to allow a document(s) to be checked out while under the workflow process. In order for this option to be available on the workflow template, the permission setting “Enable checking out documents when workflow is active” must be enabled in the Workflow permission settings area.

The review or approval cannot be completed while a document in the activity is checked out and the document must be checked in before a review or approval can be submitted. When the document is checked in as a new version, the version number is increased and becomes the version associated with the workflow. If the 1 of X option is selected on the template, then the task is automatically reserved when it is checked out. The task remains reserved after the document is checked in so the user can complete the approval or review task.

Require Password

This check box is controlled by the permission setting “Enable optional passwords in workflow templates” in the Workflow permission settings area. If the permission setting is enabled, the Require Password check box is available for use. If the permission setting is disabled, the Require Password check box is unavailable.

Select the check box if the password is required on an approval or review activity. When enabled, users will be forced to enter their FileHold password when completing the review or approval activity. If disabled, no password is required upon completion of an activity.
Allow Postpone Approval

Select the check box to allow documents to be marked as "Approval Postponed" for an approval activity. There are situations where a document cannot be approved because some conditions have not been met but there is nothing wrong with the document itself. The approval option called “Postpone Approval” can be used in these conditions. Once the “postpone approval” option is selected, the workflow is immediately terminated and the status of the document will be set to “Approval Postponed”. A workflow can be started on the same version of a document that has been marked as "approval postponed". If this option is not enabled then the "approval postponed" option is not available when approving documents.

If this option is enabled, then a workflow can be restarted automatically from a particular activity in the workflow template. In the Select one or more steps to restart from area, click the … to select the step or steps to restart from. You can restart the workflow from a previous activity or return back to the initiator. If more than one option is selected, then the participant postponing the workflow will be required to select the activity to restart from.

If the workflow is returned back to the initiator, then the initiator will need to manually restart or re-initiate the workflow from the workflow status report.

If the workflow is automatically returned back to a previous activity, the participants are notified that the workflow has been restarted. If the activity is 1 of X, only the participant who performed the previous activity is notified (or if delegated to another user, their delegate). The notification to the participants includes the comments made when the activity was marked as “Approval Postponed”.

Convert main documents to PDF Microsoft Word and PDF documents can be automatically converted to PDF format upon completion of the activity. A summary page can also be appended to the end of the document which can include workflow and document information. Click … to set the PDF conversion options. See Converting Documents to PDF for more information.
Due By

In the Due By field, enter the number of days or hours after workflow initiation that the approval or review is due.

  • Due date is calculated when the workflow is launched, so this field should be configured for the number of days or hours from launch that the first task will be due. For example, if the task needs to be completed in 5 hours, you would enter 0 days and 5 hours.
  • An exact date and time (fixed) can be specified in the workflow template once the workflow is initiated via manual initiation (if ad-hoc).
  • In subsequent activities, you can enter the number of days or hours after the previous activity is marked as complete for the next activity to be completed.
Task Instructions Enter the instructions for the reviewers or approvers.
Allow Initiator to Define Select the check boxes next to the template items that the Initiator can define. This allows the initiator of the workflow to modify any of these areas upon initiation. See Ad-hoc templates for more information.
  1. Repeat the above steps to add up to 20 activities to the workflow template.
  2. The order of the activities can be changed using the number drop down list.
  3. To remove an activity from the workflow template, click the red X.
  4. Click OK or Save when the template is complete.

Cloning Workflow Templates

You are able to clone a workflow template instead of creating a new template from scratch. This saves time if you have very similar templates to create.

To clone a workflow template

  1. Do one of the following:
  • In the FDA, go to Administration > Workflow management > Workflow templates. Right-click on a workflow template name and select Clone Workflow Template.
  • In the FDA, go to Administration > Document Schemas > Manage Schemas > Schema Name > Workflow tab. Right-click on a workflow template name and select Clone Workflow Template.
  • In the Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration> Workflow Templates. Click on the workflow template name. Click Clone Template.
  1. The cloned workflow template opens. Make any necessary changes to the template and click OK. Note that the template name needs to be unique so needs to be modified. The cloned template is added to the workflow template list.

Viewing Workflow Templates

To view the list of templates

  1. In the Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration> Workflow Templates. The list of templates are shown.
  2. In FDA, go to Administration > Workflow management > Workflow templates.

NOTE:  Users that have the role of Document Publisher and higher will have access to templates that are associated with the document schemas. For a workflow to be available for use in the system, the workflow must be associated with the appropriate document schema.

Editing Workflow Templates

You can modify a workflow template at any time. The FileHold Desktop Application has a graphical user interface whereas the Web Client does not.

To edit an existing workflow template

  1. In the Web Client, go to Administration Panel > Library Configuration> Workflow Templates. The list of templates are shown.
  2. Select the template to edit from the list of existing templates and click Edit.
  • In FDA, go to Administration > Workflow management > Workflow templates and click on a template name.
  1. Click Save.

Setting up a Workflow Custom Naming Pattern

The custom naming pattern feature allows administrators to define how workflows will be named by default and whether or not to allow end users to edit those default names. The desired workflow names can be unique and easily identifiable in the My Tasks area, workflow status report and email notifications.

In the naming pattern configuration, you can set the workflow name using the workflow template name, date it was started, workflow initiator, document name of the “initial document”, document version, document owner, FileHold ID, a custom text string, and any of the metadata in the system. This feature is similar to the custom naming pattern on a schema. The length of the workflow name is limited to 500 characters.

The document name of the “initial document” can be used as part of the custom workflow naming pattern. The “initial document” is defined by:

  • If there is only one document in the workflow
  • If there is more than one document in the workflow, then it is the first document selected

The document name of the “initial document” cannot be changed. It is also displayed in the workflow email notifications.

To set the custom naming pattern

  1. In a workflow template, click Custom Naming.
  2. In the Workflow Custom Naming Pattern screen, select Automatically rename workflows using the custom workflow naming pattern settings option.
  3. In the Constant column, set how values will be separated. The default is underscore (_). The maximum length is 3 characters. Illegal characters are: "/", "\\", "|", ":", "*", "?", "\"", "<", ">".
  4. In the Profile Field column, select a metadata field, a system value such as workflow name, date started, workflow initiator, document name, document version, document owner, FileHold ID, or a custom text string. All metadata fields in the system appears in the list of available profile fields.
  5. In the Field Mask field, enter how the Profile Field will be formatted. See the tables in Input Masks for Data Controls for rules.
  6. Once the custom naming pattern is set, click OK.

Custom workflow naming pattern