Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0: How to Create a Simple Batch Approval Workflow

June 17 2015

Editor's Note: This article is adapted from Ian Grieve's new book Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0.

Microsoft Dynamics GP has long had a Workflow module available, but it was one which required SharePoint, was not very user friendly, and was what I would almost go so far as to describe as verging on the hostile to the person trying to install and configure it.  As of Dynamics GP 2013 R2, a new workflow module, known as Workflow 2.0, was introduced.  This module sheds the prerequisites of SharePoint and GP Web Services, and operates as a core part of Dynamics GP that is both easy to setup and use.

In this article we will explore the fundamentals of workflow creation in Workflow 2.0, using the GL batch approval process as an example. The book from which this article is adapted also includes the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0
  2. Setting up Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0
  3. Workflow Maintenance
  4. Creating a Simple Batch Approval Workflow
  5. Interacting With a Workflow Process
  6. Creating a Complex Purchase Requisition Workflow
  7. Creating a Complex Vendor Approval Workflow
  8. Installing Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP

The evolution of Workflow 2.0

From GP 2013 to GP 2015, we saw Microsoft introduce many new workflow types in the new Workflow module, and GP 2015 R2 has introduced two more types, bringing the total to fifteen at this time. We have also seen workflow integrated with Document Attachments to allow attached documents to be included in the email notifications.

Workflow 2.0 is designed to utilize email notifications and actions (like performing an approval or rejection from a workflow-driven email), and it supports both on-premise and Office 365 Exchange servers, though email integration is not required. It also uses a Workflow Calendar to define both working days and working hour to calculate time spans when a task or approval step is due or overdue.

Assigning the managers

Workflows are created and maintained through the Workflow Maintenance window. In the rest of this article we will work with this window to create a simple General Ledger Batch Approval workflow.

Each type of workflow requires at least one manager to be added. So before we can create our General Ledger Batch Approval workflow, we need to assign one, or more, managers. To assign managers, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Workflow Maintenance window by clicking Workflow Maintenance from the Administration menu under Setup and Company.
  2. Select Financial in the series dropdown list; with only one workflow type available under Financial, the General Ledger Batch Approval will be automatically selected and displayed in the detail pane.
  3. Click the lookup button next to the multiline Managers field to open the Workflow User Selection window.
    GP Workflow 2.0 Maintenance
  4. Type the name of the first manager and click the lookup button; this will perform a lookup on Active Directory and pull back the details of the related username.
    If there was more than one username returned, click on the user you want.
    Workflow_GL_Create_2a
  5. Click the Add button to add the user to the Selected Users list.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to add any required additional managers.
  7. Click the OK button to save the changes and close the Workflow User Selection window.
  8. Click the Save Type button on the action pane to save the changes to the managers.

Creating the workflow

The workflow process we're going to create in this chapter is a very simple one-step approval process, but no matter how simple or complex the workflow is, the steps to create it are the same.

To create a workflow process, perform the following steps: 

  1. Open the Workflow Maintenance window by clicking Workflow Maintenance from the Administration menu under Setup and Company.
  2. Select Financial in the series dropdown list; with only one workflow type available under Financial, the General Ledger Batch Approval will be automatically selected and displayed in the detail pane.
  3. Click the New Workflow button on the action pane; this will change the content of the detail pane to show the Workflow layout.
  4. Enter the name of the workflow in the Workflow Name field. I have entered GL Batch Approval v001; I typically enter a version number in the Workflow Name to allow me to keep track of versions as they are created.
    Workflow_GL_Create_8_workflow_name
  5. The Description field can contain a longer description of the intent of the workflow process.
  6. Before creating the steps I typically configure the main options for the workflow process. If you have configured E-mail for Workflow, see Chapter 2, Setting up Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow 2.0, mark the Send notifications for completed actions.Workflow_GL_Create_9_options
  7. Click the blue expansion arrow button to open the Workflow Email Notification Maintenance window.
    Workflow_GL_Create_10
  8. Mark the Submit, Reject and Final Approve checkboxes; if only one Message ID for each type of action exists, this will be defaulted into the Message field, otherwise you will need to click the lookup button and select the required Message ID.
  9. Click OK to close the Workflow Email Notification Maintenance window.
  10. Mark the Allow approver to delegate tasks checkbox to allow the approver to send tasks to other people to complete.
    GP Workflow 2.0 Allow approver to delegate tasks
  11. Mark the Always require at least one approver.
  12. Click the Save Workflow button on the action pane to save the newly created workflow process; you need to do this before any Workflow Steps can be created.

Creating the approval step

This first workflow process is only going to have one step as I am starting with a simple General Ledger Batch Approval workflow, but the process for creating additional steps is merely a variation on the theme. To create a workflow step, perform the following actions:

  1. Click the New Step button on the action pane.
  2. Enter Approval in the Step Name field.
    Workflow_GL_Create_18_step_name
  3. Enter Approval in the Description field; I would typically enter a longer more meaningful description in this field, but this workflow process is a simple single step one.
  4. In the Step Type, select Approval.
  5. Leave the Condition set to Action is always required for this step.
  6. In the Assignment section, click the lookup button nest to the Assign to field to open the Workflow User Selection window.
  7. Select a user in the same way as we did when assigning a manager and add them to the Selected Users.
  8. Click OK to save the selected users and close the Workflow User Selection window.
  9. Click Save Step to save the step.

Activating the workflow process

Now that the workflow process and one approval step have been created, we need to activate the workflow process. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Workflow Maintenance window by clicking Workflow Maintenance from the Administration menu under Setup and Company.
  2. Select Financial in the series dropdown list; with only one workflow type available under Financial, the General Ledger Batch Approval will be automatically selected and displayed in the detail pane.
  3. Click on your workflow process in the list on the left of the window; in my case it is called GL Batch Approval v001.
  4. Mark the Active checkbox in the top right of the window next to the Workflow Name field.
  5. Click the Save Workflow button on the action pane.
  6. Close the Workflow Maintenance window.

Summary

In this article we took a look at creating a simple General Ledger Batch Approval workflow process. Further considerations in deploying your own workflow will include the user interaction, as well as more complex process elements, use of Document Attachments, and integration of Web Services for Dynamics GP. 

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About Ian Grieve

Ian is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Microsoft Dynamics GP and is a senior consultant for Perfect Image Limited in the United Kingdom. Ian has worked with Dynamics GP sine 2003 and has dealt with all aspects of the product from pre-sales, implementation, technical and functional training, go-lives, support, upgrades and continual process improvement reviews. He has written several books on Dynamics GP and runs the azurecurve | Ramblings of a Dynamics GP Consultant blog.

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