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Enhance Your Approval Process

Enhance Your Approval Process

This is the last in a three part series looking at approvals on the Microsoft Power Platform.

We previously looked at an introduction to approvals and then briefly considered some options for handling the requests.

We will round this out with a quick look at a couple of examples of how we could expand this using workflows and other functions on the platform. The goal here is to spark ideas and hopefully get people excited about refining their business operations.

Heads Up

This is not a technical deep dive. The goal of our little discussion is to bounce around some ideas that can improve our organisation.
We may even walk away with other ideas, great!

Scenario 1: Project Go-Ahead

Requirement: Unanimous Approval

Imagine your organisation is implementing a Project Management Office and one aspect of that is ensuring that Projects are green-lit by all of the required parties. Your organisation isn't too far down the Powerapps path but you are using Lists and loving it. Hence, you have your pending projects in a list with a few key pieces of information, including status...fantastic!

Let's build on this. When a project status is changed to "Pending Approval" we will trigger a workflow in Power Automate. Let's describe this at a high level, since we are just bouncing around ideas here, right?

  1. The approval request created will be set to require all to respond
  2. The workflow will send the requests
  3. Approvers respond (remember we a have a few ways of handling these which we discussed earlier).
  4. Wait until all have responded
  5. Update status based on responses

There is a bit going on there, hey. Remember, the built in Approvals function is doing the heavy lifting here. I want to focus on just a couple of points.

The approval is set to require all to approve

Microsoft Approvals is doing the heavy lifting

Sure we are configuring a workflow but the fact of the matter is that we are letting the platform do most of the work. We now have a Project approved and ready to go ahead.

Key Take Away

The business requirement was that all approvers approve the project before it commences. We can easily automate the gathering of this approval in a way that is flexible and fully recorded.

Scenario 2: Change Management Board

Requirement: Minimal Required Approval

In this scenario, your organisation is working with a basic change management process. Again you have a List with the Requests For Change (RFC) and they have statuses. The difference here is that when an approval is required, 5 members of a Change Advisory Board are sent approval requests but only a minimum of 3 approvals are required to proceed.

5 asked, at least 3 need to say "yes".

When an item status is changed to "Pending Approval" we again will trigger a workflow in Power Automate. However, we will handle this a bit differently. The main thing we introduce is that we will store some data about the requests and update this as the responses come in. Why? So that we can have the workflow count up the outcomes and update the status based on this.

Let's have a look.

  1. Store some data about the requests. This could be in a Sharepoint list or in Dataverse or somewhere else. Without getting too technical we would need the ID of the Approval Request, ID of the RFC, who is the approver, whether the response has been received and the outcome of the individual's response.
  2. As the responses come in, the workflow will update the details of that response.
  3. The workflow then checks if there are 3 approvals or 3 rejections. Either would be enough to update the item's approval status.
  4. The workflow then checks if all 5 responses are in. This is probably redundant with this scenario but in other cases you may want to take action if the item is waiting a long time or something.

Once the verdict is in then the item is updated.

Key Take Away

The business requirement was that a minimum number of responders approve the item before it progresses.
By storing a little extra data and having the workflow work with that data we can start to build in flexibility.
As always the goals it to be flexible to the business requirements.

I hope this post has sparked some ideas or maybe an interest in using the tools at hand to expand and enhance how you operate. We really enjoy using the Power Platform to meet business needs. If you'd like to know more, visite our page about the Power Platform.

If you would like to work with us to find solutions for your organisation, fill out the contact form and we will be in touch.

Happy automating.

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