2018 September Release

WorkflowPermanent link for this heading

Users, organizations, organizational units and external organizations can be involved in the processing of business objects via a workflow (Enterprise and higher only).

Typical processes are approval and release processes.

Executing an Ad Hoc ProcessPermanent link for this heading

An ad hoc process allows you to define the process flow by yourself. Consequently, you can react flexibly to situations for which no predefined processes are available.

To execute an ad hoc on an object, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the desired object.
  2. Make sure that all process participants have the necessary access rights on the object. If necessary, authorize the users in the respective Teamroom.
  3. On the context menu of the object click “Tools” > “Start New Process”.
  4. Select a template for an ad hoc process or start with an empty template. The step is omitted if there are no predefined processes or templates for ad hoc processes.
  5. If you start with an empty template, define an activity and a participant for the first task in the process. Further information about the possible settings can be found in the next chapter.
  6. Click “Start Process”, if you do not want to add further activities. Otherwise, click “Take Activity”. You can add additional activities and then start the process.
    Note: If you need the ad hoc process regularly, you can save it as template (after you have clicked “Take Activity”).

The first activity is placed in the work list of the defined participant.

Note: In an ad hoc process (possibly parallel), activities with different participants can be defined. Further sequence flows can only be used in predefined processes.

Activities and ParticipantsPermanent link for this heading

Activities

By default, following activities are provided (apps can provide additional activities):

  • Execute
    Passes on a document with a request for processing.
  • Release
    Passes on a document with a request for releasing. The document will be signed with a corresponding signature. If the document is released, additionally a release version is created for the document.
  • Approve
    Passes on a document with a request for approving. The document will be signed with a corresponding signature.
  • Approve and Close
    Passes on a document with a request for approving. The document will be signed with a corresponding signature and closed, such that no further changes are possible.
    Note: If the object should be again editable, you can execute the “Tools” > “Remove ‘Closed’ State” context menu command.
  • Approve and Close Documents
    Passes on a folder with documents with a request for approving. The documents will be signed with a corresponding signature and closed.
  • Review
    Passes on a document with a request for review.
  • For Notification
    Passes on a document for notification. The document will be signed with a corresponding signature.
  • Add Remark
    Passes on a document for adding a remark.
  • Sign Digitally and Close
    A PDF document with the digital organization signature is created. In addition, the “Sign Digitally” signature is attached to the document and the document is closed.
    Note: The digital organization signature must be configured.
  • Sign Digitally and Close Documents
    PDF documents with the digital organization signature are created for documents in a folder. In addition, the “Sign Digitally” signature is attached to the documents and the documents are closed.
  • Send
    Allows sending an object as a link or public link.
  • Send as Link
    Allows sending an object as a link.
  • Send as Public Link
    Allows sending an object as a public link.

Note:

  • Activities can also be defined parallel. If a predecessor exists, this can be done via a parallel gateway or otherwise the first activities can be inserted loosely without a connection by an edge (duplicating the first activity with Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V).
  • Multi-instance activities can be used for processing an activity sequentially or in parallel by several participants.

Participants

By default, following participants can be defined:

  • Abstract Participant
    Abstract participants allow generic sequence flows.
    • Process Initiator
      The participant who starts the process.
    • Responsible for Process
      By default the participant who starts the process.
    • Current User
      The participant who has executed the previous activity or for the first activity, the participant who has started the process.
    • Property of the Object
      The participant is evaluated based on a property of the object (e.g. Last Signature by).
    • Role by Property of the Object
      If an organizational structure is defined in your organization, you can use it in the workflow to determine the process participants. Thus, for example, workflows for material requisitions or leave requests can be easily implemented.
      • Property
        Select a property that contains a user or organizational unit. If the property contains a list of users or organizational units, the activity must be defined as multi-instance.
        If it is a user, the primary position of the user is determined and thus the assigned organizational unit.
        If it is an organizational unit, this organizational unit is used.
      • Position
        Select the position type (staff member or head) that must be assigned to the primary position of the process participant to be determined.
      • Organizational Unit Type
        Optionally, select a level that must be assigned to the organizational unit of the process participant to be determined. If the organizational unit determined by the property does not have the required level, the organizational unit with the necessary level is determined via the organizational unit hierarchy.
  • User
    A concrete participant.
  • Organizational Unit
    A whole organization, organizational unit or external organization.
  • Distribution List
    A list of participants (only usable for multi-instance activities).

Note:

  • Distribution lists can only be used together with multi-instances.
  • An organizational unit or property of the object can be used both in multi-instances and in non-multi-instances.
  • In the case of multi-instances, a separate activity instance is created for each resolved process participant, in the case of non-multi-instances only one activity instance for the entire organizational unit or property of the object (single-valued) is created.
  • Multi-valued properties of the object are only allowed for multi-instances.
  • Distribution lists are immediately resolved at the start of the process. When a Property of the Object or Organizational Unit is used, the process participants are resolved during the runtime of the workflow (when the state of the corresponding activity is set to “Can Be Started”)
  • If the property of the object is single-valued and contains an organizational unit, all users directly assigned to the organizational unit receive an activity. Subordinate organizational units are not considered.
  • If the property of the object is multi-valued, all directly defined users receive an activity. In addition, all directly defined organizational units receive a joint activity.

Executing a Predefined ProcessPermanent link for this heading

Recurring processes can be efficiently represented with predefined processes.

To execute a predefined process on an object, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the desired object.
  2. Make sure that all process participants have the necessary access rights on the object. If necessary, authorize the users in the respective Teamroom.
  3. In the context menu of the object click “Tools” > “Start New Process”.
  4. Click “Start Process” to directly start the desired process or click “Open Process” to view the process beforehand.

The first activity is placed in the work list of the defined participant.

Work ListPermanent link for this heading

The work list allows processing the respective activities. By default, the work list can be accessed via “Home” or the “Favorites” tool.

The work list consists of following lists (only visible if at least one entry is present):

  • To Do
    Contains the current activities that have to be processed.
  • Suspended
    Contains activities that are suspended for a defined time span.
  • Last Finished
    Contains completed activities.
  • Concerned Objects
    Contains objects of the current activities.
  • Tracking
    Contains objects of already completed activities.

Executing a Work Item of an ActivityPermanent link for this heading

An activity can consist of one or several work items. Work items can behave differently:

  • One or more work items of the activity can be defined such that they complete the activity. The process flow continues after executing the work item.
  • A mandatory work item (bold) has to be executed before an activity can be completed. If only mandatory work items are still available that also complete the activity, only one of these work items must be executed.
  • A repeatable work item can be executed repeatedly.

To execute a work item, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the work list in the “To Do” list.
  2. Localize the desired activity.
  3. Click the desired work item. Depending on the work item, the corresponding action is carried out (e.g. “Open” opens a document in the corresponding third-party product).

Suspending an ActivityPermanent link for this heading

An activity can be suspended to move the processing to a later date. The activity will be moved from the “To Do” list to the “Suspended” list. After the defined time period has elapsed, the respective activity will be moved again to the “To Do” list.

To suspend an activity, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the work list in the desired activity.
  2. Click the “Suspend” action.
  3. Define the desired time span and click “Next”.

Note: By clicking the “Activate” action, a suspended activity can be prematurely moved to the “To Do” list.

Delegating an ActivityPermanent link for this heading

A user can delegate an activity to another user who should complete the activity.

To delegate an activity, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the work list in the desired activity.
  2. Click the “Delegate” action.
  3. Select a participant and click “Next”.

The activity will be stored in the work list of the selected participant.

Adding an ActivityPermanent link for this heading

The context menu command “Add New Activity” of an activity can be used add ad hoc activities to the process. When adding new activities the current activity is completed. If mandatory work items of the current activity are still open, you will get the current activity again in your work list as soon as the added activities are completed.

Viewing Processes of an ObjectPermanent link for this heading

To view the processes of an object, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the desired object.
  2. Click the “Properties” action.
  3. Click the “Processes” tab.
  4. Click on the process name to display the complete process with any loops and conditions. The process flow that has already been executed is indicated by bold lines. Paths that were not traversed are visualized with dashed lines.
  5. You can use the context menu of the process elements to execute the commands allowed in each case. For example, if you have the appropriate rights, you can change the participant of an activity that has not yet been executed using the “Edit” context menu command.

Note: The “Processes” tab is only visible if at least one process is present.

Viewing Activities of an ObjectPermanent link for this heading

To view the activities of an object, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the desired object.
  2. Click the “Properties” action.
  3. Click the “Activities” tab.

All current, planned and completed activities are shown.

Note: The “Activities” tab and the fields for current, planned and completed activities are only visible if at least one activity is present.

Process StatisticsPermanent link for this heading

To obtain an overview of the running processes, several process statistics are available that illuminate the individual aspects of process execution.

In the organization policies, on the “Processes” tab, you can define process administrators. The statistics can be displayed for:

  • Process Administrators
    Provides an overview of all predefined and ad hoc processes of the organization.
  • Process Owners
    Provides an overview of all predefined processes for which the user is defined as the process owner.

Note: The process owner can be defined on the “BPMN Process Diagram” tab of a BPMN process diagram.

You access the process statistics via your worklist. The statistics are available for the following three levels: general overview, process definition and specific process.

General Overview

  • Process Statistics
    Provides an overview of the number of running processes and delayed processes.
  • Process Throughput
    Shows the number of started and completed processes and their difference in the selected time period.
  • Running Processes
    Shows the number of running processes and their changes in the selected time period.
  • Running Processes per Process Definition
    Shows the percentage breakdown of the process definitions of the running processes.
  • Activities of Running Processes
    Shows the percentage breakdown of the status of the activities of the running processes.
  • Delayed Activities
    Shows the percentage breakdown of the activities of the delayed processes.
  • Start Date of Running Processes
    Shows the number of running processes grouped by the start date in the selected time period.
  • Due Date of Activities
    Shows the activities of the running processes that need to be processed in the next two weeks.

Based on a Process Definition

  • Process Throughput
    Shows the number of started and completed processes and their difference in the selected time period.
  • Running Processes
    Shows the number of running processes and their changes in the selected time period.
  • Activities of Running Processes
    Shows the percentage breakdown of the status of the activities of the running processes.
  • Delayed Activities
    Shows the percentage breakdown of the activities of the delayed processes.
  • Start Date of Running Processes
    Shows the number of running processes grouped by the start date in the selected time period.
  • Due Date of Activities
    Shows the activities of the running processes that need to be processed in the next two weeks.
  • Processes
    Displays all processes (including completed processes) of the process definition.

Based on a Process

  • Runtime
    Shows the runtime of the process in days compared to the average runtime of the underlying process definition.
  • Activities
    Shows the percentage breakdown of the status of the process's activities.
  • Overview
    Shows the most important metadata of the process.

Note: The “Settings” action can be used to define the time period (from last week to last year) of the time-dependent statistics.

SettingsPermanent link for this heading

In the account menu (your user name), the “Advanced Settings” > “Workflow” entry provides following settings:

“Personal Settings” tab

  • E-Mail Notification for
    You can define for which workflow events you want to be informed by e-mail.
  • Use Tabular Mode for Prescriptions
    Defines whether the graphical or tabular process editor is used for prescriptions. The tabular process editor is especially defined for users who rely on keyboard operation.  
  • Define Deadlines as Timespan in Days (Instead of a Date)
    Defines whether deadlines are entered in days instead of a date.
  • Show News About New Activities on the Welcome Screen
    Defines whether news about new activities in the worklist are shown on the welcome screen.
  • Automatically Open the Next Activity After Finishing an Activity
    Defines whether when finishing an activity the next activity will be opened or whether the “to do” list will be opened.
  • Ad Hoc Process Templates
    Contains your personal templates for ad hoc processes. If a template is no longer needed you can remove it.
  • Predefined BPMN Processes
    Contains your personal BPMN processes that are released for execution.

“Predefined Settings” tab

  • Ad Hoc Process Templates
    Contains predefined templates for ad hoc processes.
  • Predefined BPMN Processes
    Contains predefined BPMN processes that are released for execution.

Business Processes With BPMN 2.0Permanent link for this heading

The support of BPMN 2.0 (Business Process Model and Notation) allows you to model business processes and benefit from the advantages of a platform-independent notation. The created process diagrams can be directly executed with the Fabasoft Cloud Workflow Engine.

Creating a BPMN Process DiagramPermanent link for this heading

BPMN process diagrams are used to model business processes, which can be directly executed.

To create a process diagram, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the desired Teamroom.
  2. Open the context menu of an empty part of the content area and click “New”.
  3. In the “BPMN Modeling” category, select the “BPMN Process Diagram” entry.
  4. Enter a name and click “Next”.
  5. In the context menu of the process diagram, click “Open”.
  6. Model the desired process and click “Next”.
    Note: More information about working with the BPMN editor can be found in the next chapter.

Working With the BPMN EditorPermanent link for this heading

In the graphical BPMN editor, besides the modeling of the process, cloud users and activities can be assigned to BPMN elements, in order to be able to execute the process directly with the workflow engine.

The BPMN editor is subdivided in three areas. The left pane contains the BPMN elements that can be dragged and dropped on the middle design pane. The right pane (folded by default) shows properties for the element that is currently selected in the design pane. The right pane is also used to assign cloud users and activities for process execution.

The keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y can be used to undo and redo actions. Ctrl + S allows saving changes made in the editor. For copying, cutting, pasting and deleting elements the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + C, Ctrl + X, Ctrl + V and Del are provided. The executability of the process can be checked with the “Check Executability” button.

Executable process must or may contain following elements:

  • Pool
    The pool consists of activities of a delimited unit (e.g. an organization). Exactly one pool per process diagram can be put into execution. Thus, the Is executable property must be set to “Yes” for one pool.
    The Applicable for property is used to restrict processes to object classes and categories. This way processes are only offered if they are useful for the object, on which the process should be executed. When selecting activities for tasks in the BPMN editor, only activities are provided that correspond to the applicability of the process diagram. If the process is restricted to a category of a user-defined form, the defined fields can be used in the condition editor.
  • Lane
    Lanes represent responsibilities. A Fabasoft Cloud participant can be assigned to a lane. When creating tasks the values defined for the lane are used as default values for the tasks, which allows comfortable working.
    Note: When creating a pool one lane is implicitly generated.
  • Start event
    The process flow starts with a start event. For documentation purposes, all types of start events can be used in executable processes. However, the start event type has no effect on the execution of the process.
  • End event
    The process flow ends with an end event.
  • Terminate end event (optional)
    Terminates the whole process and the process is marked as completed.
  • End error event (optional)
    Terminates the whole process and the process is marked as aborted.
  • End end event (optional)
    Terminates the process and the process is marked as completed.
  • Task
    A task represents an atomic unit of work that has to be done within a process. Currently, tasks of type “User” are supported. The task must have a Fabasoft Cloud activity and one or more participant assigned. When carrying out a process the tasks are displayed in the worklists of the corresponding users.
    A loop type can be defined for tasks.
    • None
      From the defined activity, one instance is created, which is offered to the defined process participants in the worklist. The first process participant, starting the processing, takes over the activity. The activity will be removed from all other worklists.
    • Standard
      Tasks can be run in a loop. The loop condition can be tested before or after the iteration. The maximum number of iterations can be defined, too.
    • MI Parallel
      From the defined activity, one instance is created for each defined process participant and stored parallel in the respective worklists. All process participants must process the activity.
    • MI Sequential
      From the defined activity, one instance is created for each defined process participant and stored sequentially in the respective worklists. All process participants must process the activity one after the other.
  • Sequence flow
    The sequence flow describes the order of events, tasks and gateways. A condition expression (Fabasoft app.ducx Expression Language) may be assigned to a sequence flow outgoing from a gateway. The expression can be entered directly in the text field or can be defined with the condition editor.
  • Gateway (optional)
    A gateway allows the distinction between cases or parallelization in a process. Currently data-based exclusive gateways and parallel gateways are supported.
  • Subprocesses (optional)
    Subprocesses are used to enclosure complexity. Subprocesses can be nested and run in a loop (type “Standard”). The loop condition can be tested before or after the iteration. The maximum number of iterations can be defined, too.
    • Expanded subprocess
      An expanded subprocess is embedded in the process as structuring element.
    • Collapsed subprocess
      A collapsed subprocess references a separate BPMN process diagram that is therefore reusable.
  • Artifacts and data objects (optional)
    For documentation purposes all artifacts and data objects can be used in executable processes. However, these elements have no effect on the execution of the process.

Note:

  • Go-to sequence flows can currently not be executed.
  • Condition expressions are evaluated with NOCHECK. This avoids evaluation errors that properties are not assigned to the object class. In addition, the evaluation is performed in “Secure Mode” to prevent the execution of safety-critical expressions.

Uploading and Downloading a BPMN Process DiagramPermanent link for this heading

BPMN process diagrams may be imported and exported. In case of an executable process diagram, possibly assignments to cloud users and activities have to be adapted, if the objects are not available in the target system.

To upload a process diagram, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the process diagram and click the “Properties” action.
  2. On the “BPMN Process Diagram” tab, click “Select”.
  3. Enter the path to the process diagram XML file and click “Next”.
  4. Click “Next” to save the changes.

To download a process diagram, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the process diagram and click the “Download” action.
  2. A ZIP file will be downloaded that contains the process diagram as XML file.

Releasing a BPMN ProcessPermanent link for this heading

To be able to execute BPMN processes, the processes have to be released using the action “Release Process for Execution”. The process can be released for the user only (testing purposes) or for organizations, organizational units, teams or external organizations. To release for organizational elements, you must be an organization administrator or authorized by an organizational policy to manage the corresponding organizational element. Users with the “Head” role can also release for organizational units.

To release a process, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate in the process diagram and click the “Release Process for Execution” action.
  2. If syntax errors are found, that will prevent the execution, you can view and resolve the errors.
  3. If no syntax errors are found, check the organizations or organizational units for which the process diagram should be released and then click “Next”.

Released processes can be easily identified by the symbol. On the “Process Execution” tab, in the Released for Execution field all released process instances are listed.

The release state can be removed by executing the action again and clearing the check boxes for the corresponding entries.

A renewed release affects only newly started processes. Processes already in progress are executed using the old released version.