What is it?
If you have a dedicated process flow for certain content pieces, you can structure the information intake, assignment of content activities (e.g., adding information, doing evaluations) and responsibilities, as well as automatic notifications along your own custom workflow in the application.
The workflow ensures that the activities happen as they should. Using the workflow engine is particularly powerful when you grow from idea status to the implementation of an asset. Yet, it can be applied to a variety of situations. Action buttons are the key component from which the activities can be triggered and channeled to the right persons.
Learn in this article how to:
- Activate and set the workflow,
- Add and specify the action buttons,
- Making action buttons depend on other actions triggered or values, and
- Test your workflow
Please note: This feature needs to be activated by ITONICS. Please contact your Customer Innovation Success Manager for further assistance.
How does it work?
Activate and set the workflow
Each entity on the platform can have its own workflow configured. Therefore, they must first go to the Entity Manager menu via Settings Wheel > Entity Configuration > Entity Configuration and select the entity for which they want to configure the workflow. Click on the pen icon and activate on the entity-specific configuration page the Workflow Configuration Module.
Each workflow consists of different phases that follow each other (Monitor, Assess and Recommend in the example workflow on a Trend entity on the picture below). In the ITONICS application, these phases are visualized using a pearl chain that can be seen on the detail view of each element.
Before you can use the workflow and its pearl chain you need to set it up. Therefore you need to create a list field in the Field Configuration and the renderer Pearl Chain / Pearl chain with check inside the specific entity.
After clicking on the Save button the menu for defining the pearl chain attributes
navigate to the field manager of the entity and create an attribute as a list field and the renderer pearl chain.
Once configured, you will be able to select this specific field or any other pearl chain field under the choose workflow field in the workflow configuration tile on the entity-specific configuration page.
This is important as the pearl chain field will define what actions are possible per stage of the workflow. The workflow phases are thus also reflected by the pearl chain shown on any content element of the entity.
Add and specify the action buttons
After the activation of the workflow module and the definition of the pearl chain field, a new menu item will appear on the entity-specific configuration page. It is called workflow configuration and, from here, you can define the action buttons and trigger the actions as desired.
To add an action button, click the respective button, and you will see a new pop-up for defining it.
From the configuration pop-up, you will be asked to:
- Define the label of the button and how the button appears to users
- Assign the button to the respective workflow step(s), i.e., pearl chain components
- Define who can trigger the button. You can select individual users, user groups, user contexts, user roles, entity type-specific user search fields, or the persona 'creator' to refer to the content creator.
- Define when the button can be triggered, i.e., you can define conditions for when the button appears and can thus be used
- Define what the button triggers. You can choose and combine the following triggers:
- Phase change: Indicate to which workflow/pearl chain step you want to jump (you can move forward linearly but also skip a workflow step or move back to a previous step)
- Workflow step change: Indicate which status should the current workflow step move to (you can choose between done, canceled, pending, or active)
- Enrichment: Indicate which attributes should be enriched (e.g., text fields, dropdowns, user search fields)
- Rating: Indicate what rating criteria/rating groups you want to be assessed
- Value change: Indicate which value of which data point should be set automatically
- Date value change: Indicate to change a date field value by a defined value range (e.g., 6 months from now) by clicking a button
- Comment: Indicate with which stakeholders do you want to share feedback (you can select the creator, individual users, user groups, user contexts, user roles, or entity type-specific user search fields)
- Notification: Indicate which email template should be sent to which stakeholders (you can select the creator, individual users, user groups, user contexts, user roles, or entity type-specific user search fields).
- Convert: Indicate when an entity should be converted into another entity (e.g., idea to project, project to asset). Please pay attention to the mapping tab to map the origin's entity attributes to the converted (source) entity attributes (next to the 'button overview tab' on top of the action button configuration)
- URL: Indicate to be directed to a set URL by clicking the button
- Define whether the trigger status should be shown by a checkmark or not
Once you have configured one action button, you can continue with the procedure until you have configured all the actions necessary to bring your process alive in the application.
If you want to change the order of the action buttons per workflow/pearl chain phase, you can click on the button Order Action Button. A pop-up appears from which you can reorder the buttons by drag-and-drop. To switch to another phase, use the selection menu on top. Please make sure to save your changes.
To adjust the view of fields placed within one button, you can use the lens icon that will open the form configuration. By drag and drop, you can change the order of, for instance, the enrichment fields.
To add a translation, click on the world icon and add your translations for the action button title.
If you want to edit your action button after the first creation, use the pen icon in the row of the respective action button.
Making action buttons depend on other actions triggered or values
For each button you define, you can configure a dependency for when the respective action button becomes visible and clickable. The dependency can be based on clicking another button, a task, or a value condition.
Each defined button can depend on one or more other buttons you defined for each workflow step. Based on this dependency, you can either hide or grey out action buttons. You can configure your workflow in a way that ensures certain actions are done before performing any other follow-up actions.
A typical use case here is to ask for further enrichment of an idea or project before it can move to the next phase:
- "Upload your project idea's business case before the project idea can move to the prototype phase."
- "Define the project team and project scope before your project can qualify for the refine phase."
If you have enabled the task management for your entity, you can make each defined button depend on the status of the tasks assigned to the respective workflow step. Depending on the task dependency, you can either hide or grey out action buttons. You can configure your workflow in a way to ensure certain tasks have been worked on before performing any other follow-up actions.
In the action button configuration menu, you will find the 'task dependency' option under 'button dependency'. After selecting task dependency, you can set one or more status values as the 'task condition'. That means that all tasks that are relevant for the phase need to have the selected values (can also be multiple values that are combined via an OR statement) in order to trigger this button.
Each defined button can depend on the status of any configured dropdown field (i.e., searchable dropdown field, radio button, pearl chain, and pearl chain with check, exception: single checkbox fields). You can configure your workflow in a way that ensures that certain buttons are only visible/clickable when the respective elements meet one or more defined condition(s). Only then can you perform other follow-up actions. You can either choose to hide the button or grey it out.
A typical use case here is to ask for further enrichments of an idea or project before it can move to the next phase:
- "You can only mark a project as canceled if the project status is NOT canceled."
- "You can only re-activate an idea or project if the status is inactive."
From the button dependency field, you can select one dropdown field. Afterward, you can set one or more values. If the content element is in the status of one of the checked values, the button will be hidden or greyed out. The button thus shows up on the content element for the unchecked values.
Test your workflow
After you have finalized the creation and placement of your action buttons, you should test your workflow. As the workflow configuration involves usually individuals with different user roles or from different contexts (e.g., user groups, user search fields), you should carefully test the workflow from these different perspectives.
Depending on your definition of who can trigger a button, the display of the button on a content page will differ for different users. Therefore, run through the whole process and use the action buttons on the right-hand side. Ensure that
- you can move smoothly from one pearl chain phase to another,
- the right users can perform the right actions,
- and, note that depending on the permissions granted via the workflow configuration, global and role-based permissions might be overruled, e.g., when you allow users entered via a user search field to see a button with the trigger type "rating". The workflow configuration thus allows setting content-specific permissions.
Content-specific workflow permissions with user context fields
When configuring an entity, you can add different field types. One such field type is the “User Search Field”. Design such a user search field from the field configuration and provide such a field with a specific name, e.g., technology expert, evaluator, sponsor, or project team member (as in the example below).
This way, you can define a group of users specific to a content element, i.e., the project team members can differ from content element (project) to content (project).
While configuring your action buttons, you can now address your user search field when defining who can trigger an action button. For instance, if you have placed such a user search field (project team member in the example below) on an entity and filled it with the respective names, only these named users can trigger an action button where the user search field "project team member" has been placed under "Who can access this button?". This also means that the same users might not be able to perform the same action for another project as other project team members might have been named.
This provides much more flexibility in giving rights to individual users/user groups and per individual element.
In the Create Form Configuration you can configure how the the format should look when you want to add a new element using the Create button.
In the Edit Form Configuration you can configure how the format look when you want to Edit an existing element.
Because you also have enrichments/actions via the workflow in different phases, it is possible that you do not want certain fields to be filled in via the Edit button, but that they should only be editable in the respective phase via the Action button. For this you would simply leave the fields on the right side and not position them in the edit form.