Article last updated on the 9th of June, 2023.
The contents of this article may be subject to change due to ongoing development of the Process Management product.
1. What is the WorkPoint Automate?
Nearly all organizations have processes to ensure efficiencies, adherence to standards, processes which help them stay compliant, etc.
WorkPoint Automate is designed to help customers get these processes automated as much as possible.
WorkPoint Automate is a no-code WorkPoint aware feature for implementing and running processes. It is WorkPoint aware in that it knows about things like Projects or Clients that users are working on. Even the documents and tasks the users are working on - WorkPoint Automate knows about them.
Processes from WorkPoint Automate can be triggered manually by clicking a button, but they can also run automatically based on events in WorkPoint.
Another focus when designing WorkPoint Automate was that data capture such as registering a risk, creating an RFI, or starting an approval process, should be very easy.
Yet another key component is that Processes can integrate with other data sources (e.g. a Salesforce system) to look up and import information instead of the user having to copy and paste information manually. This makes the user's life easier and ensures that the information used is accurate.
The key benefits from WorkPoint Automate, as mentioned, include automation of processes. When we automate processes, we eliminate human error. More things can also be done quicker. When processes are automated in certain ways, we can also ensure quality and governance and prevent non-compliance.
Check out the following interview with WorkPoint CPO Dominick Cosgrove about the WorkPoint Automate (then known as "Process Management Framework"):
2. Key terms and concepts
When working with WorkPoint Automate, is it beneficial and indeed crucial to have an understanding of key terminology and familiarity with core concepts..
In this section, we will cover the most important terms and concepts.
2.1. Process Builder
The Process Builder is the tool inside the WorkPoint 365 Administration where you can build processes for your WorkPoint solution.
The following image shows the front page of the Process Builder:
All work you do related to setting up processes, editing process, publishing process and similar, is done in the Process Builder. The Process Builder should therefore be considered a tool for working with processes.
In addition to creating processes from scratch, it is possible to start from a template process, or even to import a process exported from some other WorkPoint solution.
The process builder is accessed from left side menu in the WorkPoint Administration:
Processes are created, edited, and published from inside the Process Builder. They consist of one or more steps, which when put together attempts to automate some business process.
An example of a process could be one which creates Projects based on data such as project title, project ID number and Project Manager, put into the system by a user.
Another example of a process could be one which automatically locks editing of projects when they enter a specific stage in their stage models, e.g a "Closed" stage.
These two examples also highlight two other key terms in WorkPoint Automate: User Processes and System Processes.
2.2.1. User Processes
User Processes include an input form where the user is required to enter some data for subsequent steps, and are started manually by the user, e.g., by clicking a button.
An example hereof could be the aforementioned process to create project entities in WorkPoint.
2.2.2. System Processes
System Processes are triggered by an event in WorkPoint and executes steps which do not necessarily require input from the user.
An example hereof could be the aforementioned process to lock projects when they enter a "Closed" stage.
The following image shows the front page of the Process Builder with one of each type of processes (note the types in the "Type" column:
Note that the groups "User Processes" and "System Processes" are customizable groups.
Also note that for System processes to be able to run, a user must be set up in "Connections".
As previously mentioned processes are built using steps.
The following image shows a process for creating Project entities in a Project Management solution:
- The process currently includes two steps: the "Entity input form" step in which the user can input meta data for a new project, and the "Create business module entity in WorkPoint" step, which creates a new business module entity, based on the meta data from the previous step.
- Additional steps can be added by clicking the +buttons. Steps can be added after the last step or between steps.
In relation to processes, steps refer to the individual steps which make up the processes. Each step has a function, which helps the process accomplish it's goal. Each step also has settings related to it.
In the following image, we have added another step which sends e-mails:
In the image above, the "Send e-mail" step is selected, revealing options for the step. The options are dependent on the step, meaning different steps have different options.
In this case, the Send e-mail step has settings for e-mail relevant data such as recipient(s) (the "To", "CC" and "BCC" fields), subject, and e-mail body.
Some input fields also have special functionalities indicated by icons to the right of the fields:
Special configuration allows you to import data from context (explained in a later section) or using expressions using the "Adaptive Expressions" language.
You can read more about the Adaptive Expressions language here.
In WorkPoint Automate, triggers are special steps which allow for execution of subsequent steps when certain conditions are met.
Triggers are used in System processes only, and are typically used to define under which circumstances the process should be run.
WorkPoint's event receivers register events happening in the WorkPoint system. If an event matches a WorkPoint Automate trigger, the subsequent steps of the process are executed.
Here are some examples of triggers in WorkPoint Automate:
- When an item is updated trigger
- When an entity is created trigger
- When a stage is changed trigger
As previously mentioned, triggers may execute the steps in the process when certain trigger conditions are met. For example, using the "when an item is updated" trigger, a configuration could be made which executes if a task on a process is updated e.g., if it's status changes to "Completed".
Another example could be a "when a stage is changed" trigger, which executes a series of steps when cases change to a specific stage, sending an e-mail to the case responsible.
In WorkPoint Automate, the "Context" is a kind of a storage for data related to a process, local to the process itself. This means that the data in the context of a process is inaccessible from other processes.
When a process is started and is running, the Context can store data about the user who started the process or perhaps a Business Module ID, or other data related to the steps implemented in the process. In addition, the Context can store output data from steps in the process, which can then be used by subsequent steps.
To exemplify the use of the Context, we take a look at a process to create Projects in a Project Management solution.
This process could include two steps: a step where the user provides some meta data for the project, e.g. project title, Project Manager, and the project's objective. This data is stored into the Context storage.
In the subsequent step which actually does the work of creating an entity in a Projects module, this step can grab the output from the previous step (which holds the meta data for the project) and create a new business module entity based on the output from the previous step.
In the following image, a step which created business module entities, uses the input from a previous user input form in the "Step Input" field:
2.6. HTTP Endpoints
HTTP Endpoints can be used in processes in order to get data from external data sources.
An example of this could be a form where the user can input entity data, perhaps in a process which creates new companies in WorkPoint.
Using an HTTP endpoint, the user can look up information in another system. An example of this could be an address information provider, which can be used to fill in company address in a form.
This can greatly improve the experience of users when running processes for various purposes.
The following image shows how the user would experience a form using an information provider of company data in Denmark:
Note the search icon to the right of the "CVR Number" field in the form. Clicking this icon opens the search panel seen in the right of the form. Here we can search for companies (in this case "WorkPoint"). The endpoint will then return a lot of company data about WorkPoint, data which we can import into the various fields in the form automatically: