New approval workflow limitations

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    MaximaHR
    Asked on December 30, 2020 at 07:57 PM

    Hi Team! Thank you for adding the approval workflows, much awaited function for many!

    I have been playing around with it trying to set up our approval process that I have been imitating by other means, and I have a bit of trouble translating what I need into this new workflow. What I have run into so far:

    1. The approval pathway depends on the info on the form itself and based on the answers provided I need to have 2, 3 or 4 stages of approval. I do not see any way to connect the approval workflow to the content of the form itself - is it possible to do?
    2. The opposite is a question as well: is there a way to communicate the approval events back to the form itself and make a status field on the form change as the form moves along?
    3. The workaround that I came up with for having varied number of stages is creating 3 parallel branches of approvals: one has 2 stages, the other has 3, and the last has 4.
      Then I made 3 hidden fields (email type) and set up rules to insert the approver's email into one of those fields depending on the answers that determine the pathway - and each of these hidden fields is referred to in the first stage of each pathway.
      This means that in each case only one email field will be filled, and so the process will go down that path - the others will be blank.
      Theoretically, this works fine, but the problem is that those approval requests that are going out to the blank emails are still visible to the actual approver, they just sit there as inaccessible to them and it doesn't look nice, people will be confused with that. They don't go away even after the actual approver completes the task.
    4. So, based on this, does it mean that if I do need parallel approvals rather consecutive, do I have to insert all approvers' emails as recipients into one singular approval stage? If so, I cannot make multiple email templates so that each person receives a different email, can I?
    5. In the approver's inbox I don't see a way to customise the view. All my hidden fields are showing, and the titles are just submission 1, submission 2, etc. in my own inbox the approvals have the same view as the submissions themselves but I don't see a way to make this view to be inherited by approvers or to change the view as an approver themself.
    6. When I am in an approver's account and I click out of the inbox, e.g. go to my account settings - I can't get back into the inbox, it's not anywhere on the menu, I can only hit 'Back' or use the link again to see the inbox again. I understand that inbox is attached to the specific form and the list of forms is blank - that is why there is no inbox button; can it be done in a way that the approver would see the forms they are involved in approving on the list of forms? Just without the 'Edit form' and everything else there, only Inbox? Or something similar of that nature would be very helpful.

    Thank you for the help and happy new year!

  • Profile Image
    MaximaHR
    Answered on December 30, 2020 at 08:18 PM

    Here's what it looks like on the approval building screen: 3 branches, each refers to a different field with recipient's address, only one of them will be filled in each case:

    1609377271_5fed25f726506_Approval workfl

    This is what it looks like in the inbox: the 'pisot' ones are the approvals assigned to the blank approver. As you see here, the real one has approved, but the blanks are still sitting there.

    1609377270_5fed25f68a8fd_Blank approver.

  • Profile Image
    Mike_G
    Answered on December 30, 2020 at 11:56 PM

    We appreciate you providing detailed information/explanation regarding the issue you've been facing with the new Approval Flows feature of the builder page. Please allow me some time to check/test the issue on my end. I'll get back to you on this ticket with my findings as soon as possible.

  • Profile Image
    Mike_G
    Answered on January 14, 2021 at 07:42 AM

    First of all, I would like to apologize for any delays.

    The approval pathway depends on the info on the form itself and based on the answers provided I need to have 2, 3 or 4 stages of approval. I do not see any way to connect the approval workflow to the content of the form itself - is it possible to do?

    When you created the Approval Flows for your form (https://form.jotform.com/203637069532861) and opened this ticket, the following options, I believe, aren't available yet on the Approval Flows builder page.

    zt210114_045202.png

    You can now create conditions with the fields on your form and make it part of the Approval Flows.

    The IF/Else Condition workflow element will direct your workflow based on whether the conditions you defined in the IF/Else Condition Properties are met while the Conditional Branch will direct your workflow to perform different actions according to what condition you have set in the Conditional Branch Properties is met.

    The opposite is a question as well: is there a way to communicate the approval events back to the form itself and make a status field on the form change as the form moves along?

    To my understanding, you are looking to change the status of a field on the form based on whether the approver selects approve or deny on the Inbox page. I would like to apologize for any inconvenience, however, I'm afraid that it is not possible to make changes to form answers based on the answer of the approver. But as an Approver, there is an option on the Inbox page to request edit access to the form owner.

    1610623959_60002bd7a98b3_zt210114_063150

    For your question #3 and #4.

    An Approval workflow element will automatically create an Approval under the Pending Approvals tab of the Inbox page regardless if an Approval Email was actually sent to a valid email or not.

    But with the new Workflow Elements (IF/Else Condition and Conditional Branch), it is now possible to only send an approval email based on a field answer or field status on the form. You may now create different Approval Email templates and only send them if the condition you have set is met.

    For your question #5.

    We would like to apologize for any inconvenience. I'm afraid that changes on the Inbox Settings that can be accessed only on the form account owner's end do not apply to the Approvers Inbox page view. The Approval Flow feature is still in Beta, but if you want we can forward this concern to our developers as a feature request.

    Can it be done in a way that the approver would see the forms they are involved in approving on the list of forms? Just without the 'Edit form' and everything else there, only Inbox? Or something similar of that nature would be very helpful.

    We can also submit this as a feature request, however, in the meantime, Approvers can access the Inbox page of your form using this URL format.

    https://www.jotform.com/inbox/{formID}

    and the Pending Approvals tab using this

    https://www.jotform.com/inbox/{formID}/pendingApprovals

    {formID} refers to the Form ID of your form.

    1610625668_600032841ad3e_zt210114_070035

    You may share this information with your Approvers.

    I hope I was able to answer all your questions. If, in any case, I have missed anything, please do not hesitate to contact us again anytime and we will be glad to help you.

  • Profile Image
    MaximaHR
    Answered on January 14, 2021 at 06:43 PM

    Thank you very much Mike, I will need to look at the conditional branching but looks like it should help resolve most of the issues.

    I do believe it would be a good feature suggestion to make it possible to change the view for approvers. When they see all the hidden fields, it is confusing and long and doesn't show them what they want to see. At this stage this will be the reason for me not being able to use the approval feature because our approvers won't like the look and will keep having questions about what all those extra things mean.

    Thanks again and have a great day. Looking forward to seeing more updates to the approvals function :)

  • Profile Image
    Mike_G
    Answered on January 14, 2021 at 07:59 PM

    You are very much welcome.

    As for your feature suggestion, I have moved it to a new ticket, which you can find by clicking this link (https://www.jotform.com/answers/2825537).

    If you have any follow-up questions or additional information that you would like to add about the feature you have suggested, please do not hesitate to post a response on that ticket to avoid confusion.