In this blog post series we will talk about the modern working style and possibilities on the Microsoft 365 platform and how skybow perfectly incorporates to leverage it the most.
Part 1: Templates and Solution Studio
Part 2: The skybow Digital Process
Part 3: My home-office tasks in a modern world
Part 4: Modern Forms
Part 5: Mobile work
An introduction to Actions
In this blog I would like to talk about one aspect of a Modern Workplace which is: Processes, workflows, process automations or however you want to name them. What are the first things that come to mind when you think of a digital workflow? My guess is that on the one hand you see the absolute necessity to digitalize work processes in order to organize work and make working easier and more efficient, on the other hand you probably see the complexity of conceptualizing and building a workflow.
It is the building of the workflow that I would like to discuss today and the notion that this must be a very complex matter. We at skybow try to break that up. We do that by highlighting the capabilities of our Actions and how they can be a great alternative to a complex workflow and how this all integrates in modern way of working.
Before that I would like to set the stage though. When shall you use Actions instead of Workflows? Actions are a great alternative when we talk about workflows like approval processes. If you have a production workflow where you lose money when the workflow does not work for even a couple minutes, I would not use actions. Me personally I would also not use SharePoint for these kinds of workflows because SharePoint in its structure does not allow these reliabilities.
Let us take the Leave Request example from my previous blog post and take it as an example for our actions. With it I am going to explain the two Action types (Action Links and Scheduled Actions) and how to configure them. I will use another example to explain Triggered Actions.
Our employee Robert want to take vacation days in July and his manager Lisa needs to approve these. What does the system need to do so that no one has to work more than they have to?
First Robert must have a clean and neat overview and an idea of where he can request vacation days. For that we integrated an Action Link that uses the “Open Form” Action. Robert clicks on it and can type in his vacation request.
As soon as he clicks on the “Submit” button another action is triggered. His manager Lisa will receive an email containing Roberts request. She now has the option to approve or decline the request.
Let us now assume Lisa forgets to approve/decline Roberts request. With Scheduled Actions we can send her daily reminder that the status of Roberts vacation request is still open.
A simple query editor to define for which requests a notification should be sent
Define your schedule from hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly
Execute a Send Mail action with dynamic placeholders
Those actions are configured with the skybow Action builder and are set within minutes. This also goes if you want to adjust. Let us say for example that Lisa gets distracted by daily email reminders. Instead she wants to have a reminder only on Monday if she has forgotten something. No problem: You go into the action builder and adjust the reminder schedule with just two clicks.
Summarizing this means that Action Links are buttons that users can click and then the magic happens. Scheduled Actions are actions that are triggered at a certain time.
Triggered Actions on the other hand are actions triggered by certain events e.g. when an item/document is added or updated. Let us take a simple task list for example. If Lisa assigns a task to Robert, she want to get notified when the task is done. The Triggered Action here is again “Send Mail” but it is only sent, when the task gets completed.
Send a notification when a task gets completed
It sounds funny but there is no such option out-of-the-box. Using skybow Triggered Actions this is configured within a couple of minutes.
So, what is my final verdict? Do you need a workflow engine to have powerful workflows? The answer is a clear maybe 😊
What I can say though is that if Actions are a viable alternative for you. You will spare time and money on your workflows and make it as easy as possible for your users. If you are unsure about whether you could use actions at your organization do not hesitate to contact us and have an open conversation about the available possibilities of integrating actions into your modern workplace. I mean worst case scenario is that you end up with easy to use processes that cost less.