Email Us: sales@initiativeits.com.au
HomePostsPosts › Handling Approval Requests

Handling Approval Requests

Handling Approval Requests


In a previous post we took a brief look at starting to use Microsoft's Approvals. We love this function and it keeps getting better.

As an approver you may ask:

Options for Handling Approvals

There are multiple options for handling approval requests. I'm sure this will evolve, but here are my top recommendations.

Microsoft Teams App

This is my top recommendation. Microsoft is pushing more and more of the functionality of their platform into Teams. I think this is a good way forward. So now that the Approvals app is available in Teams and so easy to use, I recommend trying this first.

The clear benefits include


HOW TO: Access the Approval Hub

Open the Apps section of MS Teams and search for Approvals. Click on the Approvals App.



Click Add and the Approvals App will be available on the side bar. You can also add to a Team or Chat if you prefer.



I recommend that you right- click and pin the app so that you don't need to keep adding it later.



Now you can open the Approvals App and view a history of sent and received approvals. You can also create a new approval directly from this hub.


Workflow Approvals


The following methods are a bit different in that they generally require some sort of workflow configured to generate the approval. This is not a bad thing. Automation of workflows is a big plus and the flexibility of some of these options is fantastic. More on that later...

Portal

If you are unfamiliar with Power Automate then you should give some time and thought to how it might benefit your organisation. Contact us if you would like a hand with this. The Power Automate portal is a central place where you can manage many connections and workflows. However, what we are interested in here is the Action items section. In particular, you guessed it, Approvals. Similar to the Approvals hub in Teams, the Action items section allows you to see Received approvals, Sent approvals, and a history of requests.

HOW TO: Access the Approval Hub

Navigate to flow.microsoft.com and sign in with you 365 account. On the left hand menu, expand the "Action items" section and click Approvals.


That's basically it. The benefits of this option is apparent for users of Power Automate. If you are in this portal a lot then Approvals are close at hand.

Email

Again, this requires a workflow. We will look at workflows in another article. Here we will demonstrate approving via email.

Some organisations are not heavily using MS Teams but could benefit from MS Approvals. Additionally, email approvals are great for those who are more comfortable with email over, say, MS Teams (looking at you, C-Suite). 

Why not just email the request?

Good question. Some of the main reasons are

  • There is a clear record and audit trail of requests and their outcomes
  • Multiple approvers can respond
  • Workflows can be configured to require all approve, first response applies or other options
  • A really cool aspect is that the email is not static. This means that the approver interacts with the email and then the email changes to show that the approver responded. It shows the outcome too...nice.


HOW TO: Handle via email

The email will have some details configured by the workflow such as headings and description. To respond, the approver clicks on either "Approve" or "Reject". This expands a box for the approver to add any comments or notes.


Notice the email change when you do this.



Once submitted the results are shown and are available in the Approvals hub and Power Automate portal.



This is better than digging through old emails for that approval that you are sure you remembered to get.

Adaptive cards


Still with us? Great. This is like the bonus round. Adaptive cards require development. This is something we can help with so reach out if you are interested.

In a later article we will explore different scenarios where workflows might handle Approvals. The result will often be that an adaptive card is sent to an Approver in Teams.

What is an adaptive card?

Another good one. Basically adaptive cards are programmable, interactive cards that can be sent via teams. They might send information or request information. They might be highly interactive and change based on the input. They require development to be used well.


We won't labour the point on this one but basically these operate very similarly to the email option. A nice benefit is that the can land directly in the chat messages in MS Teams. Can they be used in conjunction with email approval? Yep...we can discuss that later when we talk about workflows.

Now we have looked at basic approval concepts and some options for handling the requests. We will look at some workflow ideas in a follow up article.

As always if you would like us to help your organisation on its journey toward organisation and automation, please reach out to us.

Happy approving.


Leave a Comment

First and Last Names
E-mail Address



Ready to Organise and Automate?

Message Us Message Us

Copyright © 2021 Initiative IT. Powered by Oncord