Learn More about Workflow
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Workflow is a feature that greatly expands the power of discussion entries. Workflow enables your forum manager to create entries that can be acted upon by only a select group of users. These entries automatically move through a well-defined, orderly process, guided by actions that specific users take on the entries.

An example of a workflow process is a purchase-order process. The steps through which the entry must move are called states. States are similar to steps in a process. Here are examples of states that can be defined for a purchase-order process:

Purchase Request
Management Approved
Rejected
Ordered

The flow could be defined in this way:

  1. An employee submits a request for a purchase.
  2. The supervisor must approve or reject the request.
  3. If the supervisor approves the order, then someone in Purchasing must place the order.

At every state, it is possible to define the process so that only those people who must take action on the item are allowed to see it. It is also possible to have Forum automatically notify someone when a workflow entry requires their attention (for example, the supervisor can be notified through e-mail when one of her employees placed a purchase request in a discussion forum).

Workflow entries are similar to standard entries. People can perform "work" on the workflow entry by answering a special workflow question, which appears toward the top of the entry. In sum, the following items may appear toward the top of a workflow entry page:

Process name and state
Identifies the entry as belonging to a certain workflow process ("Purchase Approval"), and it lists the current state of the entry ("Purchase Request," "Management Approved," and so forth). Forum also adds a column to the entry list that specifies the workflow state of entries.
The view responses link (appears if a question is defined)
Displays a page that lists users' answers to a question.
Question (optional)
Presents a question for the user or users to answer ("Do you approve of this purchase request?"). The question includes a radio-button list of possible answers ("Yes," "No," "Need more time to decide"), and an OK button. When a user (such as a supervisor) clicks on a radio button and then clicks OK, the entry moves to another workflow state ("Rejected" or "Management Approved").
"Change State to" drop-down box (appears if defined instead of a question)
Allows designated users to change the entry manually to another state in the process.

Actions that move an entry through the various states in a workflow process include adding a reply to the entry, answering a question, or manually changing the workflow state.

For more information about using workflow processes created by your organization, contact your discussion-forum manager.