Novell Teaming 2 is all about empowering users to be more innovative and productive. Not only does Teaming bring the right people with the right skills together in secure, interactive, online workspaces, but it also puts tools directly in the hands of your users that further boost productivity and enhance their interactions. Once you deploy Novell Teaming 2 and configure its powerful access controls, your users are free to immediately begin creating workspaces, sharing information, coordinating activities and moving business forward. They don’t have to wait for you or an army of Web developers to create Web pages. They can immediately create their own teams; share files; form discussion groups; create wikis, blogs, surveys and Web landing pages and even produce their own automated workflows.
The built-in workflow capabilities in Novell Teaming 2 enable you and your users to automate, streamline and enhance processes to save time, eliminate errors and improve overall efficiency. The workflow engine in Novell Teaming facilitates everything from simple workflows to extremely complex business process workflows.
The nice thing about workflows in Novell Teaming is that you don’t have to be a developer to deploy or leverage their capabilities. The View and Form Designer in Novell Teaming makes it easy to create and customize all the elements of a basic workflow: States, Transitions, Entries (also known as forms), Folders, Notifications and On-entry/On-exit Settings and Access Controls.
Last year Novell Connection published an article that discusses workflow support in Novell Teaming, including workflow best practices and the concepts involved in creating simple to advanced workflows (See Workflow in Teaming). Although that article centers on workflows in the first version of Novell Teaming, most of what it covers still applies in Novell Teaming 2. Additionally, the Advanced User Guide for Novell Teaming 2 details how to create both simple and advanced workflows, generally consisting of the following basic steps:
- Creating the workflow definition – Define the caption (display name) and internal data name of the workflow.
- Adding workflow states – Define the caption, internal data name and description of each workflow state. Examples of states might include New Item, Review Item, Item Approved, etc.
- Adding workflow transitions – Define how an entry will move from one state to another. This might include transitioning immediately, after a specified amount of time, after a comment is entered, upon a manual action, in a customized manner or as a result of any other criteria you specify.
- Adding actions – Add the option to initiate certain actions when an entry enters or leaves a state. This might include sending an e-mail notification or moving an article or trouble ticket to a different folder.
- Configuring access controls – Specify who can access the entire workflow or specific states in the workflow.
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- Enabling the workflow for use – Define when, where and how a workflow will start.
In addition to the instructions provided in the Advanced User Guide, Novell provides a number of articles on workflow concepts and creation.
Even though Novell Teaming makes it easy to create and customize your own workflows, you don’t have to start from scratch. In the Novell Teaming Library, Novell provides a growing online collection of entry forms and workflows you can download (or customize) to address specific business problems. Some of the most frequently downloaded workflows in this library include Time Off Request, Employee Help Desk, Catering Request, Travel Request, Meeting and Room Request, Employee Self Evaluation, Bug/Issue Management and Tracking, Bid List Application and Expense Report.
For example, the Expense Report form and workflow allows you to gather and track all of your business-related expenses at the individual level. The workflow first submits an expense report to the Records Department for long-term storage. A copy of the expense report is also submitted to the Statistics Department to enable your organization to better manage and understand costs.
Accordingly, the states for this workflow template consist of Submit Expense Report, Finance Department, Needs Attention, Report Processed and Report Filed. (See Figure 1.) Each state includes a transition definition that determines how the process moves from that state to the next. Some of the states have access controls or actions assigned to them as well. For example, if an entry moves into the Needs Attention state, a notification will be sent to the appropriate user or group.