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Why Approval Workflows Are Perfect for Access Requests for Global Companies

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Many years ago, before I started working for wizy.io, I worked for a large global financial institution that wanted us to create a shared services team that would handle corporate services requests globally. My team’s job was to study the different processes in the different offices (each one had a slightly different one based on the office structure and region’s culture and regulations), streamline these processes, and roll out a standardized process to all sites and ensure that these processes were well-documented for internal reference for the shared services team.  

Global Corporations Have Stringent Door Access Requirements

Being a financial institution, one of the biggest parts of operation was security access for specific doors around the office. Staff who were traveling, transferring departments, or simply visiting a different part of a multi-floor workplace for a meeting needed to request access to a specific area, which needed to be approved by various levels of approvers sitting in different cost centers (departments), some of them regional VIPs who would frequently travel to various sites. Once access was approved, the specific door access would be programmed on the requester’s ID badge, whether permanently or for a specific time period. 

 The security request flow would look like this: 

Corporate services would only accept approved forms, so a requester would have to seek assistance from an admin assistant to use the correct form, submit it back to the group assistant who would collate the forms and send them to the reviewer, get the approved form back, then submit it to corporate services.

Not only was the process long, involved, and had an unpredictable turnaround time, but it also put a lot of heavy lifting onto the group assistants. While each department had a group assistant, they were often busy with admin tasks for the entire department. (Not included in the diagram is the nuance that some bigger divisions also an executive assistant for the division head, who could either approve on behalf of the VIP or acted as a gateway to the reviewer.) There would be a lot of delays, and both group assistants and requesters would chase up multiple people just to find out where the request was. If the approver was traveling and people did not know about it, or they didn’t authorize anyone else to approve on their behalf, it would hold up the whole process. 

Shared Services Teams Can Help to Streamline the Process

In our improved process, we standardized the forms across all sites and we took a lot of the legwork off of the group assistants. Individual requesters could now make requests instantly, or assistants could put in requests on their behalf. This drastically cut down the turnaround time. 

That said, most of this was still done manually, via email, around a decade ago. In some old-fashioned offices, they would print out the standardized form, get physical signatures, and scan them. Some old-fashioned group assistants would fill out the form, scan it, send it to the reviewer, who would approve via email, and then forward it to us. Whatever got things done, what was important was that we were taking our baby steps towards streamlining office management processes around the globe, at least for our company. 

An online approval workflow process would have been a godsend. 

How Approvals Using Form Workflow Plus Could Have Helped

With an online approval workflow, the request flow would simply look like this:

A requester would simply have to submit a form which would automatically go to the reviewer for approval, and once approved, the request would then go on to the next step, which was for corporate services to do their task. Then the requester would know instantly that this was done.  

Not only that, each person involved would have visibility over the approval process and where it currently is on the flow, and who to chase up if there were any delays. 

Corporate services and group assistants could co-create workflows and customize the forms based on real needs, and set up conditions for multiple approvers in as many approval steps as they need.

Collaboration, Transparency, and Efficiency

Now that I’m working for the company that created Form Workflow Plus, I wish I could turn back time. Granted, it hadn’t been created yet at the time I was working in that corporation, but process is probably still the same as when I left it. This is only one of many use cases, but there are dozens of companies out there who still have approval processes dating back to the age of paper! With the technology available now, especially if you’re using G Suite, or even just as an individual using GMail, Google Forms, and Google Sheets, it’s so simple to utilize existing easily available tools and add-ons like Form Workflow Plus. 

You can try out Form Workflow Plus for free for two weeks. If you’d like to schedule a demo with us, I and my Customer Success team love to help you figure out how to use it for your particular situation! We also offer support via email or scheduled video calls when needed.

Please subscribe to our blog if you’d like to hear more about Form Workflow Plus. We’ll feature more use cases and different types of customers in the future, as well as provide you with updates about new changes and features. 

LeicaWhy Approval Workflows Are Perfect for Access Requests for Global Companies
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Introduction to our new Form Workflow Plus App

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screenshot of Form Workflow Plus application

Last July, we upgraded Form Workflow Plus without too much fanfare. If you’re one of our loyal customers, we hope that it has been a seamless experience since then! (Otherwise, we can help!) 

One of the new features we are especially proud of is the Form Workflow Plus application. You can launch the application either from the add-on itself in the right sidebar of Google Sheets (simply click on “My Dashboard” at the bottom!) or as a standalone Google app you can access by going to //app.formworkflowplus.com

If you already have the add-on but don’t have the Form Workflow Plus app yet, install it now from the G Suite Marketplace

When you go to the app, you’ll be asked to log in to your domain, and then main page will load up where you can manage your workflows and/or approvals. 

What’s New? 

Workflow management in the app is now more intuitive and can thus help you save time and manage your workflows and approvals better.  In Form Workflow Plus, you can either be a Creator, an Owner, an Admin, a User, or a Viewer. Depending on how your organization is set up, people can have one or more roles defined in the application. The views are also personalized: what you see in the app will depend on your role, so there is minimal chance of incorrectly clicking or processing commands accidentally. 

A Creator can create workflows for their domain through the Form Workflow Plus add-on. (Other types of users don’t need to install the add-on.) Creators can oversee workflows, forms, users, approvers, and requests for their domain. Creators can see “Manage Workflows” on their dashboard, which provides an overview of all the workflows.

An Owner can manage workflows but cannot create them. Owners also manage users and are the only ones who can see the “Billing” section under Account Settings for their domain. This can be the same person as the Creator for a small company, but not always. (Sometimes, this role is given to a non-technical admin or someone with a financial controller role.)

An Admin has access to workflow management and user management, but cannot create workflows nor see the billing page. 

A Viewer has view-only access to workflow management. 

A User can either be a requester or a reviewer. Users have access to forms they have submitted or approved. 

Anatomy of the Workflow Management Dashboard

Here at Form Workflow Plus, we understand how important it is to oversee your company’s workflows to ensure that you’re on top of everything and can focus on what you need to focus on. 

That’s why for workflow Creators, the Manage Workflow dashboard provides you with access to all your workflows, links to create a new workflow via the add-on, install the add-on (if you haven’t yet), and refresh the contents to see the latest workflows. 

When you click on any workflow, you can then see quick links to the spreadsheet and the request form. On the Responses tab on top, you can filter by reviewer response. You can also click over to the Reports tab to see a summary of the number of forms by status. 

Maximum Efficiency for Requesters and Reviewers (Approvers) Alike

Very often, request reviewers are Very Important People: admins, managers, department heads, C-level executives. While we offer one-click approvals via email, it can get confusing when there’s a multitude of requests to approve. 

Workflow Creators and Owners can invite these approvers to install the Form Workflow Plus app to easily manage approvals. 

The Approvals dashboard makes it easy for users by gathering all the forms submitted for approval in one place, with the ability to filter and see the form’s contents, and then easily move on to the next request. 

Pro-tip: Requesters can also check the Steps tab to see the progression of their request. 

Losing Track of Requests is… History!

For anyone who needs to submit a lot of requests for the same workflows for work or school, keeping track of what you actually submitted can be difficult, especially if the form wasn’t set up to send you a copy of your own response. With Form Workflow Plus, you can see the history of forms you’ve submitted, the status of each one, and as a bonus, you can also see the steps involved (especially if there are multiple approvers) and the content of the forms you’ve submitted. If this sounds good to you and you’re not using it yet, invite your administrator to use Form Workflow Plus for your approval workflows today!

What’s a FW ID? 

If you noticed in the screenshots above and in the requester/approval emails we send out, we place emphasis on a string of characters starting with “FW” followed by numbers. This is the FW ID, which is a unique identifier for your request.

In the past, you would have needed to contact our Customer Success team to delete a FW ID, but now you can do it via the Form Workflow Plus application.

In case you need to follow up with someone or need any help with a particular request, just note the FW ID and provide it to your workflow Creator or to the Form Workflow Plus team, and we’d be happy to help! 

A Dash of SaaS 

The modern workplace is paperless, and Form Workflow Plus is software as a service designed for professionals who want to build workflow processes quickly and easily by utilizing Google tools online instead of heavy programs that need cumbersome and time-consuming setups. We do one thing, and do it well, and if you haven’t tried Form Workflow Plus or gone paperless for your approvals yet, then it’s easy to try! 

Feel free to install the Form Workflow Plus application, which is free to try for two weeks, or schedule a demo with our Customer Success Manager, Marko

If you have any questions or thoughts about this article, please leave a comment below or contact us! 

LeicaIntroduction to our new Form Workflow Plus App
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How to use Form Workflow Plus For Education (K-12)

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Our Education Customers love it for:  Field trips Authorizations, Maintenance
Requests, Purchase Request, Bus Trip Request and Many More

Field Trip Authorization: Create a workflow that ask for approvals from parents for them to join the field trip. You can send a Google form request to be sent to the parents emails and the parents can approve the trip as well as send the parents some information about the activities and field trip as well as ask for payment for any fees that needs to paid for the trip.

Maintenance Requests: A well organized maintenance management system will have fairly typical workflows. For example – external users or customers send in maintenance work requests, you schedule preventive maintenance, create work orders and complete them and so on using Form Workflow Plus. This makes the process paper free and easy to use.

Purchase Requests: When a purchase requisition is submitted for review, Form Workflow Plus Program send the request to the reviewers for  approval. After a purchase requisition is approved, a purchase order can be generated for the purchase requisition lines and submitted to the supplier for order fulfillment.

Permission Form Requests: Electronic signatures on your web forms and approval workflows dramatically improve usability. Get rid of wasteful printing, scanning and emailing. Ask parents for approval using online permission forms and get their approval immediately upon form completion.

Employee On-boarding: Form Workflow Plus helps new employees to provide information required for on-boarding. We can create online forms for new employees and students to make it easier for them to enroll to become a student or a faculty member. First, the employee completes the needed information, views the generated PDF documents and confirms. The workflow is then routed to HR for review and completion.

Incident Report Response: A reported incident is initially evaluated by a faculty member that assesses the situation, severity, etc. and makes a determination if it should be sent to an assignee for review. The department head may decide to simply file the incident or pass it along to the remediation team to handle. This process helps fix Student/faculty incidence and make it easier for faculty to resolve issues and take action.

Contract Approvals: By building workflows to vet contracts according to organizational business rules, companies can avoid legal and financial headaches. You can create a workflow that passes through the different departments like finance, legal etc, to ensure that the contract is read and approved by all the needed parties.

Form Workflow Plus can also do the following tasks to digitize your school approvals:

  • Permission Forms
  • Absence Records
  • Travel Authorization
  • Purchase Order
  • Student Registration
  • Transcript Requests
  • Class Scheduling
  • Teacher On-Boarding
  • Recruiting Authorization
  • Budget Approval

Pio PamintuanHow to use Form Workflow Plus For Education (K-12)
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