I am guessing that I am not gathering the full picture but why would you not do the messaging within your workflow?
My initial approach to this was that if I'm trying to go from state1 to state2 then I would like notifications in between while approvals were happening and to alert approvers that their approval was needed. Now I realize that the best approach seems to be to have a state for the approval process. With this strategy notifications work as planned. I ended up using a folder notification during the awaiting approval state.
It sounds like a parallel transition would get you pretty close to what you are trying to achieve. Of course that depends on what version of EPDM you are using as parallel transitions came out in EPDM 2013. Sounds like you have it handeled now anyway.
SMTP Emails get buried in people's inbox and are a point of contention that can bite you in the rear. Having special configurations to message users or special groups within workflow states is cumbersome and a nightmare to maintain. You need a simple solution.
I have implemented the solution below numerous times. The end result is a dynamic culture change that all users appreciate.
Change the entire process into a self-service center. Stop using email notifications to alert staff to do their work. You don't pay them to check messages, you pay them to monitor their work. So what? So, give them a tool to do this. Deploy auto-updating dashboards with live status directly from EPDM and re-train users to monitor the dashboards instead of messages.
This simple tool will equip leadership and end users with the tool to get real-time status at a glance so they can focus their resources more accurately and deliberately. The dashboards will flip flop their mindset so it becomes their food. Then you simply ask, what are they going to do to ensure they get fed?
Hope this helps expand your thinking a little. Back to regularly scheduled programming
Can you expand on what the "dashboard" is? I am in the same boat of trying to shift people from responding to emails and move them towards being more pro-active. Thanks.
Emails are a snapshot of a moment in time notifying someone of an action they needed to take at that moment.
The dashboard is a real-time graph/chart that is centrally located on your intranet that reads the EPDM database and displays the real-time status of your EPDM data where the data is right now.
Example: Graphically display all the ECOs in the various states of your ECO workflow so approvers, managers, users, etc. can see the real-time status of the ECOs at a glance so they can focus resources more accurately on outstanding ECOs.
I think you're implying to a broader problem of EPDM implementation, which is how to get people involved in the process, change states, look at data-cards and enjoy the full benefits of the system.
We use the SMTP messaging, and it works fine. The reason we chose to do it this way, is that most people are used to Outlook, and it makes a lot of sense to use this already existing platform. Another reason is that some of the approvers in our workflows are contributors and viewers, who do not log into EPDM on a regular basis. I agree with Tim that notifications can sometimes be ignored, and your aim should be to shift the responsibility over to their side. I set up specific favorite searches for different groups and key individuals, so that even if they "lost" the notification with the link, they can log-in anytime, and see all the documents that are waiting for them to approve. Another thing, is showing the progress on the data card as Tim mentioned. I use a series of state names with control logic that greys-out all the state names != current status. As a result, anyone looking at the datacard can understand where the document is in the workflow (in this case, where the green arrow is).
Iftach Priel wrote:
I set up specific favorite searches for different groups and key individuals, so that even if they "lost" the notification with the link, they can log-in anytime, and see all the documents that are waiting for them to approve.
I am in the process of trying to set up these type of searches for the same reasons. Any insight on how you set your favorite searches to do this?
Is there a way to include a variable such as %fullname% in the favorite search to create a general search or do you have to create every favorite search specifically?
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by including this variable in the search favorite. Setting-up these favorite is quite simple:
1. go to "complete search" and select Workflow tab.
2. select the desired state from the drop down list. example: if I'm making a favorite search for QA department, I'll select the state "Pending for QA".
3. click "add to favorites" on the favorite star menu, and set up permissions so that the group "QA Department" can use this favorite.
While this is the simplest way... I'm actually doing it differently in three aspects:
First, my users don't have access to "complete search", but a search card I made which is more suitable for our specific needs.
Second, in this search card, I'm not using a combo-box with a full state list. Instead, there are radio-buttons with name of only the relevant states (see image). The favorite searches, basically have one of these radio buttons pre-selected.
And lastly and most important, I'm using a regular variable to keep track of states. This variable updates on every workflow transition (value = %deststatus%). Although, it's a bit of a hassle setting this one up on all your transitions, (including a dispatch for files that are missing this variable), I find it quite useful on my data cards, search cards and some other places.
P.S - you can also make a desktop shortcut that run any favorite search you like. see here