What is Workflow in Microsoft Dynamics GP?

Most of us have probably heard the term ‘workflow’ in relation to Microsoft Dynamics GP.

But, what exactly is workflow?

  1. Workflow is a system
    Workflow is the system that you installed with Microsoft Dynamics GP. The Workflow system provides functionality you can use to create individual workflows, or approval processes.
  2. Workflow is an approval process
    A workflow is the approval process for a document, master record, or batch. A workflow defines how a document, master record, or batch “flows” through the system by showing who must approve it, and the conditions under which they must approve it.

Workflow and employee self-service previously offered via Business Portal (Workflow 1.0) has now been embedded into Dynamics GP, starting with Dynamics GP 2013 in conjunction with SharePoint, and further evolving to a fully embedded Workflow using Web Services starting with Dynamics GP 2013 R2. This new workflow system is self-contained inside of Dynamics GP, which eliminates the need to install Dynamics GP workflows on top of SharePoint. This new workflow system is referred to as Workflow 2.0.

So, what is Workflow 2.0?

It supports employee self-service and involves a variety of business logic steps (if-then) linking to active directory and other approval structures via e-mail or other Dynamics GP notifications to notify, review and approve/deny and edit specific requests.

The workflow design experience is now in a Microsoft Dynamics GP window, replacing the prior workflow system, and removing the dependency on SharePoint (via Business Portal). It also adds web client access, integrates with Dynamics GP web services, and increases Dynamics GP’s overall process management flexibility and accessibility.

This system allows users to design workflows, such as approval paths, for documents in Dynamics GP. The workflow approvals can be completed within the user interface, and there is the option to approve them external to the user interface using the link on the notification email.

Workflow 2.0 includes functionality to remotely approve a workflow step. The remote approval functionality is supported by Dynamics GP Web Services. Remote approval is not required as workflow approvals can be completed from within the Dynamics GP user interface. Enabling web services allows you to set up approvals that can be processed from an email notification without the need to log in to Dynamics GP or be a registered GP user.

Workflow 2.0 includes functionality to escalate an overdue workflow step. This escalation functionality is supported by the Microsoft SQL Server Agent. Escalation of overdue steps is not required, but additional review of pending workflows will be necessary if it is not used.

With the removal of the dependence on SharePoint, Workflow is now faster to deploy, easier to access, and easier to configure and customize. All this makes it easier to implement!

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The first 4 workflows that were made available in Dynamics GP 2013 R2:

  • Purchase Requisition Approval
  • Purchase Order Approval
  • Time and Attendance Approval (US Payroll)
  • Project Timesheet Approval (Project Accounting)

In GP 2013 R2, all additional workflows are still available for setup in the old workflow system.

With the release of Dynamics GP 2015 Microsoft expanded the workflows available for Workflow 2.0.

Added in Dynamics GP 2015 – Approvals for:

  • General Ledger Batch
  • Payables Batch
  • Receivables Batch
  • Vendors
  • Project Expense (Project Accounting)
  • Direct Deposit (US Payroll)
  • Employee Skills & Training  (US Payroll)
  • Employee Profile (US Payroll)
  • W4 (US Payroll)

In GP 2015, all workflows from the old system are replaced, and setup for the old system in Dynamics GP is removed.

GP2015 R2 –New functionality within SmartList Designer was added which now allows a user to send a SmartList through workflow to create a SQL view based on the SmartList query. One active workflow will need to be setup in order for the SQL view to go through the approval process.

Dynamics GP2016 – due to be released this spring promises some additional workflow enhancements.

The setup for workflow is a relatively simple and involves a few basic steps.

First, Workflow 2.0 functionality includes the option to send email notifications during various workflow events. In order to have these emails sent, email must be enabled. Use the Enable E-Mail for Workflow checkbox and the upper portion of the Workflow Setup window (Administration home page; Setup | System | Workflow Setup) to enable the email functionality. Here you must enter the e-mail address, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (STMP) server, and authentication information for an e-mail account so you can send e-mail notifications.

Similarly, emails that are sent for an approval step can include a link for completing the approval remotely. Then this must also be enabled. If you enable e-mail actions, you can perform actions directly from the e-mail message, such as approving a document. Use the Enable E-Mail Actions checkbox and the lower porting of the Workflow Setup window to enable these (remote approval) actions.

Workflow

To perform actions from the e-mail message, verify the following components.

  • Be sure that you have installed Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Services and that the application user account set up in Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Services is a domain account that has privileges to access Active Directory.
  • Be sure that you are using Internet Explorer 9.0 or later.

The remaining setup tasks are accessed from Microsoft Dynamics GP > Tools > Setup > Company > Workflow >

  1. E-Mail Message Setup – Messages can be sent from a number of locations from within Workflow. The Message Setup window allows for these messages to be customized.
  2. Workflow Calendar – The calendar is used to determine the due date for each step in a workflow. The calendar allows the differentiation work days and non-work days to be differentiated. In calculating a step’s due date, only the work days are considered.
  3. Workflow Maintenance – The workflow maintenance screen is where you setup each workflow. You can specify the settings, conditions, managers, and approvers for the workflows.
Workflow

The following list summarizes the features and benefits to Workflow 2.0 as well as a few other facts:

  • No Dynamics GP licenses are required specifically for Workflow, so a user that does approvals from email, without logging into Dynamics GP, will not need a Dynamics GP license.
  • Workflow 2.0 utilizes Active Directory users for all approvals and tasks – this eliminates the need for users to be Dynamics GP users, unless they need Dynamics GP for part of their approval tasks
  • Therefore Dynamics GP licenses are only needed for activities using Dynamics GP windows
  • Since it uses Dynamics GP and SQL Server the only other service required is Web Services if you want to be able to use email approvals
  • Workflow offers access through Web Services Server and Outlook
  • Workflow 2.0 is available for both the web client and the desktop client
  • It is embedded in Dexterity code and utilizes the SQL Server
  • No longer requires design and setup in SharePoint and Business Portal
  • Provides automatic notifications
  • Provides workflow history and reports
  • Fast to deploy – easy to configure and customize
  • Provides consistent business processes and reduces errors
  • Increases GP’s overall process management flexibility and ease of access

Therefore, as you can see, there are many benefits of Workflow 2.0 and makes a great business case for implementation!  If you are interested in implementing please contact us!

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