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Approvals and Workflow in Salesforce

Salesforce provides extensive support for implementation of workflow and approvals.
  1. A queue can hold a predefined set of objects and consists of a set of users. Any of the queue members can pick up tasks assigned to the queue. Users or Queues can be owners of records.
  2. Approval processes

    Salesforce supports wizard based easy to configure approval process. After an object is selected, the wizard guides the user through a step-by-step setup. Approval process is triggered when a user clicks on the "Submit for approval" button.
  3. The approval process consists of the following steps -
    1. Process definition
    2. Initial submission actions
    3. Step definitions
    4. Final Rejection actions
    5. Final Approval actions
    6. Final Recall actions

  4. The Process Definition step consists of the following sub-steps:
    1. Provide the name of process
    2. Specify entry criteria for records
    3. Specify who is going to approve
    4. Specify email template
    5. Fields to be displayed in the approver page
    6. Specify who is going to send approval mail

  5. Workflow rules are like triggers. Action is triggered when a record meets an evaluation criteria. Workflow rules definition does not impact existing records. Workflow rule gets applied to new record creation or edits.

  6. Workflow rule consists of three steps
    1. Select the object
    2. Specify evaluation criteria (when should the workflow rule be executed, example for new records are created)
    3. Define rule criteria (example when status of job applicant is approved)

  7. Workflow actions can include sending an email, setting values to fields, sending an external message or creating a task.

  8. There are two differences between Workflows and Approval process
    WorkflowApproval process
    They are activated when a record is saved.approval process are triggered by explicitly clicking the "Submit for Approval" button.
    Workflow consists of single step and single actionApproval process consists of multiple steps. Also different action is taken based upon whether the record is approved or rejected.
    Workflows can be modified or deleted.In approvals some attributes cannot be modified. Processes must be deactivated before approvals can be deleted.

  9. Time-based workflow allows action to be triggered after a delay. As an example we could implement following business logic using time-based workflow: In a recruitment application if for no high priority position no candidates are assigned in a week, then send a mail to Recruitment Manager.

  10. Time-based workflow cannot be executed when evaluation is set to "Every time a record is created or updated".

  11. Approval processes can be single or multiselect process. Multi-select processes require end user authorization for record promotion.

  12. Approval process is unique for object type.

  13. Parallel approval process allows specifying (upto 25) multiple approvers simultaneously. The approver setting could be set to unanimous or first action. In unanimous parallel approval process, all approvers must approve a request, before it is considered as approved.

  14. Possible actions of workflow and approval process are -
    1. Creating a task
    2. Sending a message to external system (outbound message)
    3. Updating a field value
    4. Sending an email
    5. Locking a record

  15. Outbound message helps keeping salesforce coordinated with other applications.

  16. Dynamic approval process is used to route approval requests to users listed in lookup fields on the record requiring approval. In this, approver names are defined dynamically from an object.

  17. Process Visualizer provides Read only visual of an Approval process. It can be accessed by clicking on “View Diagram” button.
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