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Question

Feature Request: Business Process Parameters

asked on April 22, 2014 Show version history

As we use more Business Processes, it's seeming like it would be useful to be able to specify parameters that are required for a BP to start. These would take the form of a dialog that would be presented to the users when they invoke the BP. Perhaps it could even use a template as the parameter to get full flexibility.

 

We have some BP's that involve the user opening the document, clicking the BP button, closing the document, browsing to a folder where Workflow as placed the document after performing some operation, and then opening the document again for the next stage.

 

It would be nice to have the BP collect the necessary information up front. Then we could eliminate a step and save the user some time. It would also allow us to remove some of the odd little "status" fields from some of our templates that the users need but aren't necessary after the BP is complete. We sometimes add these as standalone fields, but the users miss them because they are down at the bottom.

 

Thoughts?

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Replies

replied on April 22, 2014

Here's an example:

 

We currently have a "Send to DA" workflow that runs on a schedule and looks for the "Send to DA" field in the template. We tried having the users add the field themselves, or setting a tag, but that didn't end up working for the ones who only did it occasionally. Having workflow search for the documents on a schedule and do the integration with the DA's system takes a couple of minutes, and we can't really have it running every 15 minutes due to the nature of the integration.

 

This is actually running just fine the way it is, and wouldn't benefit from any new functionality. However, now they are asking to be able to also send documents to multiple other agencies and parties as part of the same process. Some of these would be through other integrations, and others would be simply emailing a PDF. I could just have them email the documents out from the client, but I need to be able to standardize the list of people and their email addresses centrally. Trying to pull together this information into distribution lists in Exchange wouldn't really be feasible.

 

So, I'd like to be able to have them select one or more agencies to whom the documents should be sent. Workflow would work out how to contact each agency.

 

Another example:

 

The expungement BP is much like the scenario I hinted at in my initial post. The user finds the document that they are looking for, and does their redactions. There's some mess in the middle involving QF. To finish the process they need to have a different template assigned to the document. The existing fields get added as standalone fields below the new template It then goes into a holding folder waiting for the user to fill in the information for the new template. It would be nice to have them able to do their work and fill out the new template ahead of time and not have to do anything additional after initially invoking the BP.

 

I'm thinking that one way to present the parameters to the user would be with the existing template UI. In the BP definition, I could select an arbitrary field (in the case of something simple), or a whole template that I want presented to the user. This has the advantage of presenting a familiar UI to the user. It also brings along field constraints, dynamic fields, and the ability to use the parameters with standard Workflow tools.

 

For my first scenario, I'd create a template that had a multi-value field for the person or agency to send the data to. This would be a list field, and possibly a dynamic field as well. I'd also add a field for introductory notes. The "Send to" field would be required. In the workflow itself, I'd have a way to figure out which selections went to specific integrations, and I'd handle it from there.

 

For the second, I'd use the template that normally goes on expunged documents. The user would fill it out and submit. On the back-end, I'd just apply the new template to the document, and the user wouldn't need to have any more involvement.

 

I know there's a couple more times we've wished to have parameters. I'll see if I can write them up a little later.

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replied on April 22, 2014

Thank you for the use case. We initially had parameters in the design but had to cut them during implementation due to the large scope of the feature.

 

Could you give us more exact use cases to help us narrow down the scope? Others who see this post are welcome to add input to as well.  

 

In particular, think about your requirements for this process. What data you would want to collect, how you would want to present it to the user. Try to imagine the little requirements you would have.

Also, how do you envision using this data once you are in workflow.

 

Thanks!

Ed

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replied on June 4, 2014

I just made the same request here: https://answers.laserfiche.com/questions/57233/Feature-Request--User-input-when-starting-Business-Proceses  

 

One of my use cases:

 

To create new documents at the start of a process.  We are trying to remove all toolkit code and use Workflows if possible.  We have come custom code that creates a number of form documents based on a name and ID number. I'd like the user to start the BP, type in the name and ID, and have those go into tokens to use in the BP.

 

Nice and simple. 

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replied on September 7, 2015

Hello, any news about this feature request?, i mean to be able to specify parameters that are required for a BP to start?. It would be really useful.

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replied on October 19, 2015

I want to chime in on this. Being able to have the initiator of the workflow specify input parameters would be immensely useful for reporting purposes.

For example, we have a Workflow that compiles statistics about a user and emails them to his or her supervisor. These statistics can be stuff like how many cases the user has processed that month (e.g. in a government organization), or how many new accounts they have opened (e.g. at a bank). In order to run, workflow needs the user's name. The problem is that the user in question is not the initiator. They may be the team lead, or the supervisor. So we designed the workflow to look at a document's name and use that as the username. The person wanting to run the report creates a blank document with the reportee's name, then assigns an email field and enters the report recipient's email address. They then run the Business Process, which takes that information to compile the statistics about the reportee and email them to their boss.

It seems to me that it should be possible to start a business process from the Client or WA, prompt the user with pre-defined input parameters (in a dedicated dialogue box), and use those in the workflow.

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replied on June 9, 2016

Any recent news on this topic?

We too would love to see the option to start a business process with parameters. Having parameters would be brilliant for reporting purposes (as Ege mentioned) combined with the recent Update Word Document tool in Workflow. A client of ours likes to generate monthly reports specific to a client on request. If they had the ability to click a "Generate Report" B.P, then specify the parameters (for Client, Date Range etc.) - then this could kick off the Workflow to poll Laserfiche for the specified data, insert the data into a Word document and then produce a PDF report in their working folder in Laserfiche to email out - this would be awesome!! Though they have other modules available they are looking to centralise everything in Web Access for simplified UX.

We find that reporting is a topic that comes up often and although the searches within Laserfiche are great, giving end users the direct ability to insert this information into a personalised document would be beneficial.

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replied on June 9, 2016

No news yet. Though, your report scenario should be do-able with fields acting as parameters.

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