Workflows and Workflow Automation

workflows | business processes | comidor

Workflows and Workflow Automation

1590 964 Comidor

Workflows and Workflow Automation

Comidor can virtually map and track any organizational process through its Workflow unit. Workflows fully exploit the organizational structure to provide unprecedented process design and action monitoring. Through Workflows Designer, user can navigate and modify existing processes or create a new one using BPMN 2.0 with drag-n-drop functionality.

Attaching Workflows in a Process can give automated Workflow stages (Processes or Tasks) that are assigned to users/groups. While changing a stage’s status, process goes to the following steps accordingly.

 

Workflow creation

In order to access Workflows:

  1. Click on Application Menu Button> Business Automation > Workflows.
  2. To create a New Workflow, simply click the new (+) button.
  3. Now, add the details of the Workflow.
    • Give a Workflow name as Title, select User group which has the accountability of the process, choose between setting maximum duration of workflow in days, set the minimum pre-defined priority status.  You can also set a prefix that follows all process instances, for example if you create a new process of workflow with prefix DOC, then the first process’ with this workflow code will be DOC1, the next one DOC2, next DOC3 and so on. Do not forget to give access and change rights to specific users or/and groups and add a short description. Then, click the “Save” button.workflows | business processes | comidor
  4. Alternatively, you may import a BPMN 2.0 Workflow by pressing the Actions button and selecting the related option. workflows | business processes | comidor

 

After Workflow creation, system navigates you to the Workflow Summary interface in order the user to either edit details or start designing! Click on:

1. Summary “pencil” button to edit initial details,

2. “Actions” button options: a) Delete the Workflow or b) Export BPMN 2.0 document

workflows | business processes | comidor

3. Design tab or Design preview “edit” button to start creating the workflow,

4. User fields to add custom fields, then add them to a user form that will be attached later in a workflow stage,  User forms to add a custom form,  where you can drag-n-drop system or custom fields and then attach it in a workflow stage (activities: tasks or subprocesses),

5. Tags to manage this workflow personal/group/public tags.

 

Workflow Design

In the Design tab, you can start Workflow creation.

You can add Lanes in the Pool by clicking on the small “add” button.

workflows | business processes | comidor

Flow Objects

In the Workflow Design panel, you may see flow objects like:

  • Events
  • Activities
  • Gateways

Events

Having Standard Start Event and End Event already in the design area,you can add with drag-n-drop more flow objects in your Workflow. The Start Event Notation can be only one; a workflow may start when:

Still, you may have as many End events as you wish.

Other Intermediate Events exist:

  • Email: Email element is Throwing – Message Intermediate Event that can be used to create and send custom emails through your automated process.
  • Timer: Timer element can be used as Catching – Timer Intermediate Event that adds a delay in hours or days in your workflow.
  • System Notification: Send pre-defined or custom system messages to specific Comidor users.

workflows | business processes | comidor

Timer boundary Events and Conditional Events are depicted in Comidor differently from Activities’ inside.

Events affect the process flow and have a cause (trigger) and an effect (impact/result).

Activities

Activities refer to work performed by user(s)/group(s) (atomic or non-atomic) which can be a Task or Sub-Process (sub-process may be of any type: Generic Process, Project, Opportunity, Event, Training, Issue, Ticket, Topic, Job Posting, Campaign).

  • Tasks (atomic or choreography): task is used when the work is not broken into a finer level, while choreography task is used any time we have more than 1 participants, who need to exchange messages. This piece of work is depicted in Comidor with a Workflow Task which can be assigned to one or more Personnel/Group leader(s) of a team/whole team and can be broken down manually to sub-tasks later, while the process is on the go.
  • Sub-process: process that can be broken down in a set of smaller activities (other workflow with tasks and sub-processes or call-activity) and can involve 1 or more participants.

workflows | business processes | comidor

  • Escalation is also available. From this point user can set specific conditions that will trigger actions or notifications that the user needs.workflows | business processes | comidorIn workflow design, in the task you wish to apply escalation, click on the up-arrow button, next to edit button. A new window opens, where you can create and manage your escalations for this particular task.
    • workflows
    • Click on “+” to create a new escalation. Complete the Basic info such as Description of this escalation and Priority. Workflow and Stage are automatically set and cannot be edited.workflows
    • Then, choose the conditions where an action or a notification should be triggered. For example, you can select when the delayed finish of this task is equivalent or more than 3 hours to initiate an action, and/or notify user/user,s and/or send a predefined email to the recipients you wish. workflows
    • In tab Actions, you have the option to perform an action in a field related to the mother process or to a global field. In this example, when the task’s finish is delayed over 3 hours, the mother process state will be paused.  By clicking on + button you can add more actions, and by – you can easily delete them.workflows
    • In tab Notifications, you can select the Group or the users you want to notify and write the content of the notification. They will receive a notes notification in their Notification bar.workflows
    • Finally, you can set a predefined email to be sent automatically to a particular e-mail address, or to a user/group. In order for your e-mail to be sent, you have to set up first an e-mail account.
    • Then, click on save or save and new if you wish to create more escalations for this task. Otherwise, press cancel if you do not want to save your entry.

Gateways

A gateway is used to determine branching, forking, merging and joining of paths drew by sequence flow. In Comidor we have exclusive, inclusive and parallel gateways.

  • Inclusive (OR) Gateway: Inclusive Gate refers to activating one or more flows when dividing. For incoming, all paths may be taken/fulfilled, from one to all.
  • Parallel (AND) Gateway (Fork/Join): Parallel Gate refers to dividing of paths into two or more flows (fork). For incoming flows, parallel gateway will wait for all incoming flows before continues (join).
  • Exclusive (XOR) Gateway: Exclusive Gate refers to choosing “either/or” and will limit outcome to one single path but in exactly one of the output branches workflows | business processes | comidor

Connectors

We use sequence flow connecting objects in Comidor.

Conditional Flow shows the order of activities; it may hold a condition (conditional flow) or stand as default flow. It connects activities/events/gateways with each other, being in the same pool/lane.

 

Data and Artifacts

In Comidor we store data inside the activities or inside the whole process. Data Input and Output are achieved via user forms with database or custom user fields. Still, there is a option to insert/update/delete fields in Comidor Tables (such as Personnel/Contact/Account/Project Requirement).

  • Comidor Data (Insert/Update/Delete) : Ability to insert/update/delete Personnel/Contact/Account/Project Requirement fields.

workflows | business processes | comidor

 

Comidor Integration

  • RESTful Web Service: Communicate with 3rd party systems via RESTful Web Service.
  • SOAP: Comidor can connect with external application or system using SOAP-based Web Service in order to exchange information. workflows | business processes | comidor

Elements

Let’s zoom-in each element…

Activity : Task

In Task element, you can add:

  • Title of the task
  • Parent Stage, which refers to the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is fulfilled
  • From whom this Task will be Assigned From, selecting from a list which includes Process Creator, Admin, Assignee’s Manage or other userworkflows | business processes | comidor
  • Parent Completion Percent (%) is the completion percent of the parent process after this activity is completed successfully
  • to whom the task is Assigned To choosing from a wide list of options (Abstract Options: Creator or Personnel of Process, Creator’s or Personnel Manager, Creator’s or Personnel Default group from Organizational Chart/Users’ Groups, Creator’s or Personnel Default group – Leader, Creator’s or Personnel Default group – Parent Group, Creator’s or Personnel Default group – Parent Group Leader, Role associated with a specific Functional Group/Division/Company, Account’s Responsible or Pre-defined options: User(s) name, Group Leader name(s), Group names)
  • Exception Assignees is a field where you define to whom the task will be assigned to, if other rules you have set above (group leader, role etc) do not fetch any user.
  • option to Filter group assignments according to main process assignees; thus, whether selection of “Assigned to” will be filtered according to what is added in Main Process “Assigned to” field.
  • its Task type (work, appointment, meeting, event etc.)
  • connect any User Form (that is already created) and
  • attach draft of an already uploaded in Comidor File!
  • Also, you can add Activity boundaries by setting the maximum days or hours of this task duration. Tip: In case you want to associate this task completion with the end of the whole workflow, you may put a negative numbering i.e. “-5” means 5 days prior workflow completion.
  • Set Priority and Importance
  • Description of the Activity that should be performed.

Activity : SubProcess

In SubProcess element, you can fill-in most of the fields (as explained in Activity : Task), but also:

Connectors : Sequence/Conditional Flow

Through Conditional Flows you can connect your workflow elements (activities, gateways or events) and design any possible/desired alternative path. For example, after Task creation, you should connect it with the previous element with a Conditional Flow. In the conditional flow form you can:

  • Drag-n-drop a conditional flow from a Start Event to an Activity and select the Target State, which is the initial state of the target activity (can be Scheduled or Running).  Type a brief Description of the conditional flow that will help workflow understanding.workflows | business processes | comidor
  • Drag-n-drop a conditional flow from an Activity/Gateway and select the Source State and Target State, which are the trigger state (can be completed/failed/canceled) and impact state (can be scheduled/running/paused/completed/canceled/failed), respectively. workflows | business processes | comidor
  • Conditions can be added in both cases from Custom condition builder/Advanced Conditions tab. Add further conditions through custom condition builder using either database system fields or any custom user fields you have created in User fields and added in a User form.workflows | business processes | comidor

Finally, a conditional flow with your brief description has been added in your workflow design between the standard start event and the task you had created or between activities/gates.

Diamonds in the conditional flow refer to Source state and arrows to Target State, blue: Running, green: Completed, black/white: Canceled, red: Failed, grey: Scheduled, orange: Paused.

  • In more complicated workflows, there might be a need to combine and use more complex Advanced conditions. In these cases, the workflow will check more conditions as you can see bellow. Click on “<“,”>” to add parenthesis before or after the condition you want and select AND, OR between the conditions in each case accordingly. With “+” and “-” button you can add more or delete a condition.

workflows | business processes | comidor

 

Swimlanes: Pool and Lanes

  • Pool and Lane define the responsibility for activities (tasks/subprocesses)
  • Lanes exist inside a Pool and pool boundaries represent the process which is automated with the workflow
  • We may have a pool with different Lanes (participants such as user(s)/group(s) for a process automation or have different pools with 1 lane for different subprocesses of an automated mother process)
  • A Lane name is free text – you may add a name of a person or a department name of a role nameworkflows | business processes | comidor

Intermediate Events : Email

Email element is a Throw – Message Intermediate Event. Using it you can send a custom email through each process that is related with the specific workflow. Adding an email in workflows you can set:

  • A Title which is one of the required fields.
  • The Parent Stage which is the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is reached.
  • You may also set Variables that will appear inside the body of the e-mail. For example, set  a variable Key for the Title field of the Process, or for another database/ global field.
  • The Sender which should be a predefined text or a custom text type field (probably already given in a custom form).
  • The Subject which can be a predefined text or/and a custom text type field (probably already given in a custom form).
    Tip: adding both predefined and custom text, the predefined text will be appeared first and then the custom one.
  • The Email Body which may be a predefined text or/and custom memo type field.
    Tip: adding both predefined text and custom memo, the custom memo will be appeared first and then the predefined text.

    • For more advanced users: you can provide in your e-mail body more details and create a paragraph, or just a sentence with data acquired during the process creation. In particular, you may use the variables you set before in a sentence with #key#, as below. You can also apply html code for changing the size, fonts and colors of your message.workflows | business processes | comidor
  • The Recipients as:
    • Addresses which can be a predefined text with email addresses separated with comma or/and one or more than one custom text type field(s) with email addresses.
    • Emails of process-related people or/and roles. These people can be users involved in the workflow, users with specific role(s), any other users, leaders of groups or all the members of groups.
  • Attachments as custom binary type fields.

Events are connected with other events/gateways/activities using conditional flow.

Here, you can see an example of automated e-mail that will be sent to the selected recipient, based on the variables we have previously set.
workflows | business processes | comidor

Intermediate Events : Notifications

Set System Notification in Workflows defining:

  • A Title which is one of the required fields.
  • The Parent Stage which is the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is reached.
  • The Subject which can be a predefined text or/and a custom text type field.
  • The Recipients which can be users involved in the workflow, users with specific role(s), any other users, leaders of groups or all the members of groups.workflows | business processes | comidor

Notifications are connected with other events/gateways/activities using conditional flow.

Intermediate Events : Timer

You can use Timer to add a delay in your workflow typing:

  • A Title which is one of the required fields.
  • The Parent Stage which is the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is reached.
  • The delay in days or in hours, filling in the respective field.workflows | business processes | comidor

Timer is connected with other events/gateways/activities using conditional flow.

workflows | business processes | comidor

Data and Artifacts: Comidor Data (Insert/Update/Delete)

Adding a Comidor DATA object you can define:

  • A Title which is one of the required fields.
  • The Parent Stage which is the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is reached.
  • The Action selecting between Insert, Update, Delete.
  • The ID Field (runtime value)/Value.
  • The Data Map parameters giving the Field, Field (runtime value) and its Value.
  • The Status
  • Message
    Tip: Clicking the “add” button you can add as many parameters or keys are required or needed.

workflows | business processes | comidor

Script Task: Shell Command

Adding a Shell Command you can define:

  • A Title which is one of the required fields.
  • The Parent Stage which is the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is reached.
  • The Shell Type selecting between Unix (sh), Windows (cmd), Windows (Powershell), Platonscript.
  • Also, the Shell Script Variables giving the Key, the Field and its Value.
  • The Shell Script Body text.
  • The Shell response.
    Tip: Clicking the “add” button you can add as many parameters or keys are required or needed.

workflows | business processes | comidor

Integration: REST

Adding a RESTful Web Service you can define:

  • A Title which is one of the required fields.
  • The Parent Stage which is the stage of the parent process as soon as this step is reached.
  • The URL of the resource.
  • The Method selecting between GET and POST.
  • The Request Header Parameters giving the Parameter Name and its Value.
  • The Request Body specifying the Key and its Value as run-time value of a custom field or predefined value.
  • The JSON response map populating the Key and the respective custom Field.
    Tip: Clicking the “add” button you can add as many parameters or keys are required or needed.workflows | business processes | comidor

Manage Workflows Design

In general, there are some workflows management actions either refer to Design or to Workflow id:

  • Firstly, in Design the Paths – how conditional flow is depicted. Choose between free, classic, or classic-by ignoring obstacles based on your preferences.
  • In Design the Sorting of activities (Left to Right, or Top to Bottom)
  • In Design the Undo optionworkflows | business processes | comidor
  • You can also leave a comment in Notes. People having access in the workflow will be notified

 

Workflow connection with Process

From the Application Menu Button, navigate to a “Process” type Unit i.e. Generic Process. Click on the “+” button to create a new entry and in bottom right, search for the workflow name. Following cases refer to workflow connection with a “Process”

  • a Process (of any type: Generic Process, Project, Opportunity, Event, Training, Issue, Ticket, Topic, Job Posting, Campaign) connected with this Workflow. When state is “Running”, Workflow will start.
  • a Process Template connected with a Workflow. If Process Template initial state is “Running”, workflow will start automatically, as per Process creation. Alternatively, with manual change of Process state to “Running”.
  • a Process Schedule is connected with a Workflow. Workflow will start automatically, as per Process creation.

When new Workflow-Process is set as “running”, first workflow action is triggered. Then, while Workflow stages’ states are completed/failed/canceled, workflow moves on the following stages and so on.

Navigate to each Workflow in Analytics tab, to get insights on each Workflow usage.

 


Click here to view some Workflow Examples.