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Business Processes for Document Approval


Letís say you are ready to upload a new version of a sample agreement to the Document Library on your intranet. This new sample agreement will be used by your employees for entering into contracts with new clients, suppliers, etc. Because agreements and contracts are very sensitive documents, you need to make sure that everything is flawless with the wording and structure of the new version of the sample agreement.

You want this new version to be approved by the Legal Department and/or the Executives before it is published on your intranet. Same counts for the documents that had already been uploaded but need to be approved on every modification.

You can create a new workflow (we call it a Business Process template) for document approval that will be used every time a new document is uploaded or an existing document is modified. There will be one, two or more persons involved in your BP: a person who submits the new document, a person who revises or approves the document, and maybe someone else in the middle.

With the BP enabled, not a single document thatís uploaded or changed in this Document Library will be unnoticed. Business Processes will make sure that your documents go through certain stages of approval before being published on the intranet.

Creating a simple Business Process for document approval

Let's see how to create a new BP fr om scratch. Weíll build an unsophisticated structure for the BP template that will include just a few blocks. Below is a set of screenshots that illustrate how to build a simple BP template step-by-step.

01. First, we need to navigate to the Document Library where we want our documents (or other data) to be pre-moderated using the Business Processes module. If BPs are not yet activated in this particular Document Library, weíll need to enable them in the Company Drive settings>configure business processes.

02. Because we are creating a new BP template from scratch, we should select a BP type for our future BP structure. There are two types of Business Processes: sequential processes and status-driven processes (learn more about BP types). What we need for our new Document Approval BP template is a sequential process. A sequential business process is generally used for processes having a limited and predefined lifecycle. A typical example of this is the creation and approval of a text document (i.e. uploaded --> submitted for approval --> approved --> published).

03. We should make sure to select the appropriate Autorun options for our BP. When added Ė BP will be carried out every time a document is uploaded into this Document Library. When changed Ė BP will be run every time an existing document modified. In this example, we need both.

04. When we are done with the BP template description, a new window is opened. Here we can use the Business Process Editor. BP Editor is a simple flowchart creator into which (pre-made) function blocks can be dragged and dropped. Each function block has settings which are configured according to the needs of the process. We need just a few of them. Letís start with the Approve Document function block.

05. When dropped into the structure, we can click the small gear placed in the top-right corner of the function block, and access the function block settings. Here we select persons who should approve the submitted document, choose whether or not all of them should approve the document or one vote/decision will be enough, and add text for the message that will appear in the BP log, etc. To select data that is relevant to the document (who created, when created, link to the file, etc.) we can use buttons with three dots "..." found next to some data fields.

06. Ok, weíre done with the Approve Document function block, now we see that there are two paths our document can go through depending on the decision made by the persons approving it. If approved, we want our document to be published in the Document Library, if rejected, we donít want this document to be available for others. For these actions, letís drag and drop two more function blocks into our BP structure: Publish Document and Delete Document. The names of the blocks correspond to the actions they carry out.

07. Weíre pretty much done with the BP structure for now. We can click the Save button and return to the Document Library where we enabled our BP module (Company Drive). Letís upload a new document called DRAFT.docx. As you see, the circling arrows and an exclamation mark appeared next to the document name, indicating that the BP is in process.

The responsible person (the one who needs to approve this document) will also receive a Workflow notification (see the left-side menu indicator that shows the number of workflow and BP tasks).

08. We can now start the Workflow - a new workflow details window will be opened - here we can either Accept or Refuse the new document (before that we can also share comments or open the document) . Letís click Accept and see what happens next.

09. Each document (or file) that has been put through one or more business processes, has its own BP Log, which can be found in Workflows>Files>Completed>at the BP details page:

10. All right, everything is fine with our document: itís been approved and now published in the Document Library. If you navigate your mouse cursor to the file, youíll see a pop-up with the status - "Completed".

11. Letís upgrade our BP structure a little bit. In case a document is not approved, we want the person whoís submitted the document to receive a corresponding message via the Web Messenger. We need to go back to Document Library > Settings > Business Process > [BP name]. Now we should drag-and-drop the User Notification function block somewhere in the path thatís used for rejected documents.

12. To change the settings and add a notification text, we need to click the gear icon. This brings us to the function block settings where we can select sender(s) and recipient(s), as well as whatever text is desired. For the recipient field, we are going to use the three dots button "Ö" to select the user who has submitted the document. The submitter can be found in the "Document Property" category and will be represented by a special code line - {=Document:CREATED_BY}. We can also choose a notification type - personalized or system notification. Now we can save the function block properties.

13. Now letís upload a new document and reject it. We see that the submitter received a notification through the Web Messenger saying that the document could not be approved. Also, we see that this document did not appear in the Document Library (it was deleted).

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