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Enhancement? External Authorisations: we need a 'way out' before the expiry for certain cases


Berto2002
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We recently started using External Authorisations. But we've hit a snag in the reality of it's use. Sometimes, we send the request to the wrong person and they come back and say it's not them; or we get authorisation through another route. But our workflow is stuck with the 3-day expiry before it can moved-on by the agent. What does the Hornbill Design say about how to handle this scenario?

Solutions I suggest you might consider:

  1. Add an option in the approval webpage for "Unable to provide" or similar. The guidance text would be that if they are the wrong person or they are not in a position to approve in the 3 days period, they could respond and provide a way out for the workflow. The workflow would then be configured to give the Agent the chance to send to someone else (or bypass)
  2. Give the Agent an option to provide that Approval or Rejection on behalf of the External Authoriser (or to assign to someone else); or at least to cancel the Ext Auth process. This could take the form of a Human Task with a different colour (perhaps lilac like the BP node). This is a valid case since, for example, the person may ring-up or approve on teams (see below) and say they haven't got their email but want it to proceed. They may email Service Desk with approval and say the webpage was blocked by their IT filters, their Executive Director may think this is urgent and provides the approval verbally. the Agent may have simply made a mistake and the SDesk team leader has no way to pull-back on it
  3. Previous threads have tried to ask for a "first-past-the-post" parallelism. This would fix this issue but I have seen several posts about how this is not on the agenda. If our External Authorisation was in parallel with a Human Task called "Cancel and Reset External Authorisation", acting on that Task would bring forward the Expiry of the Ext Auth task and enable the workflow to move-on. Alternatively, the response was received within the 3 days, the Human Task would be expired and the workflow would move on.

My Sdesk agent query I am responding to showing the example of the approval coming via teams and them not being able to proceed in workflow.

image.png.f0c395ff0e205adae628cee37632aa6b.png

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I realise my Option 1 is within our gift to configure; we can add that option to say "It's not me!". But it does not negate the fact that, overall, we need to have a 'way out' of the approval loop for various reasons, without having to ask our external authorisers (customers) to take the action.

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There are two distinct situation here as best I understand, let me clarify with you if I may...

* The first case is when the receiving party is the wrong person, so long as the receiving party is available to do so, you can simply add a third outcome to the external task to handle this scenario, so for example, the third outcome could be called "Cancel Approval Request" or something else that differentiates from the normal "Reject" outcome . The receiving party can choose this outcome which will resume the BPM allowing your process flow to take a specific path where you can loop back and send a new approval again.

* The second case, this is when the external approval has been sent, but for some reason the receiving party does not action the approval, and the service provider/owner of the process needs to progress the process onwards without waiting for a timeout.  For this we can extend the admin tool to include the ability to allow the BPM manager in the running processes area, when pressing the resume button while the process is in suspended state and sitting on an external approval node, could present a UI allowing the BPM manager to complete the approval with one of the outcomes configured for that external approval node. This will most likely need some changes in the BPM to handle this, one of our devs is looking at that over the next couple of days, and assuming there are no unexpected technical difficulties we will aim to add this capability in over the coming weeks. 

If you can confirm that I have understood what you are asking for that would be great. 

Thanks

Gerry

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Hi @Gerry. I get the bit about the 'third' option for the External Authoriser, so that's fine.

I do not fully understand who you are suggesting can act upon the second issue. It feels like you are implying that a Service Manager Administrator needs to do this (you mention "BPM Manager" - who is that?). To be clear, I believe the Agent at Service Desk (let's call them the Owner in Hornbill language) needs to be able to do this; or perhaps an elevated permission in that team like Team Manager or Team Leader. It should not be something the Agent needs to escalate to a systems administrator like me to do.

I do very much agree with the words you used for the solution itself: the Owner should have a task be able "to complete the approval with one of the outcomes configured for that external approval node", as you suggest. In other words they should be able to be a proxy for that external contact. My suggestion on this was to have an Activity box added for External Authorisation showing something like this. I suggest it might be a different colour.

image.png.4db41ec5f9fc4b38e06fa792bbcaa2d3.png

Thank you for picking-up on this and seeing the issue and offering to resolve it.

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5 minutes ago, Berto2002 said:

the Owner should have a task be able "to complete the approval with one of the outcomes configured for that external approval node"

That can be easily achieved without any changes to the Product.

  • The Workflow sends an email to the Authoriser using a template that mimics that of the External Authorisation.
  • The Workflow creates a Task for the Request Owner to progress the Request.
  • The Owner completes the Task when:
    • They receive an Approval (using an Approve outcome)
    • They receive a Rejection (using a Reject outcome)
    • They fail to get a timely response (using a No Response outcome)
    • There is another reason (using an Other outcome that requires further details)
  • The Workflow then uses the outcome to progress in a suitable manner

 

 

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Yes @Steve Giller that is what we call the OLD process we have been using. It is not ideal because it means the workflow does not move-on when the approval is received from the authoriser. It relies on manual intervention and assessment. Part of our automation agenda was to move to the External Authorisation mode which enables the workflow to move-on automatically.

But that gives the problem that the workflow is 'stuck' for 3 days (expiry) if we either send it to the wrong person, we find it was sent in error, their manager says to JFDI or the person calls / messages us through another route (like Teams) to give the go-ahead.

My hope is that @Gerry has seen that rock-and-hard-place scenario and can offer the Ext Auth process a 'way out' for our Agents rather than just waiting 3 days for the expiry.

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Gerry. There were two threads on here: one where you acknowledged the usefulness of the 'get out' clause; and the other was Steve's suggestion for a workaround. Is there any progress on your thinking to allow the Agent to move the flow forward within the 3 day wait if the recipient just doesn't respond? Cheers

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@Berto2002

Its in the works, currently I think in our Dev stream, should make it through the pipeline in the next week or so.  Basically, if the BPM is suspended on an external auth node, and you press the resume button where you can manage running workflows, you will be presented with the following, and progress the authorisation. 

resume_auth.png


Gerry

 

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OK so this is for Administrators only? Most of my Agents cannot see this BPM back-end view. This means any Agent who finds themselves in this position needs to appeal to a Hornbill Service Manager Admins for help. I was hoping you would/could expose this option to the Agent to over-ride themselves. Please consider that option too. However, the feature you describe would be useful insofar as our Service Desk Manager has Admins permissions so could be the contact for the Agent to perform this over-ride. I look forward to it.

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@Berto2002

Initially yes, it was an oversight to not provide a way to progress an external authorisation should you need to, which should be an administration function, and as a result have pushed that through the pipeline. 

It is of course possible to make this a user-level function too, but that will require quire a lot more consideration to things like rights/permissions and so on, that is something that we will need to consider further before any implementation.  

With this recent change though, at least you now have the ability to move those processes forward should you need to. If this is a common requirement that demands you have user-level functionality for this, I would possibly look at your process, maybe you need something different to authorisations?

Gerry

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi @Gerry. Is this an imminent feature? As we use this node more and more, we get more an more times we want to 'bypass'.

A classic case we would like to handle is the "out of office"; somehow using routing rules to bypass this node and assign an Activity to Service desk to try someone else maybe.

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Feedback, @Gerry

Typo at the top, highlighted.

Maybe it was not tested with active fields in it so this is what we see.

image.thumb.png.e2b1e5658b8be8e6e0f8799343137ef3.png

I have not tried it yet in anger...

Are you able to tell me which ROLE this permission is associated with and/or if this could be isolated into a bespoke role that does not give away other admin permissions?

 

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I think its the sys.c.manageBpm BPM manager right,  and if you are not a system superuser you probably need to be the BPM Owner (that may or may not be true)

In terms of the dynamic variable content, that would need user context I think, not something you would have in the admin domain, not sure that is (or can be) catered for.

 

Gerry

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