Workflow applied to a line item update process

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Contributor

Workflow applied to a line item update process

I like the basic concept of workflow and want to use it to flag progress against various processes that my model supports. Organisation is used throughout my model and so there are several processes I need to track by Organisation - the status of various assumption builds, as well as progress in signing off the overall plan.

 

It seems that I can only have a single workflow applying to a list. My question is whether there is a way to scope the workflow by Line Item or Module so that I can have a workflow for the filling in by Organisation of key assumption line items whilst also having a workflow tracking progress as each Organistation starts and completes the process of sign-off.

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Certified Master Anaplanner

Re: Workflow applied to a line item update process

Hi @Peter40,

Great question.

How we've done this in the past is to use the built-in workflow functionality to support the approval/sign-off portion of your ask.

Then, you use lines item in a module that check whether a particular assumption has been entered for a particular organizational unit. If it has been entered, then one such line item could return a value of 1, otherwise it could return 0.

You could then aggregate these 1's and 0's such that if you have 150 assumptions that must be captured across 20 organizational units, you can see a count of completed assumptions grouped by Org at various levels. You can then turn this table of data into a chart that would enable a quick visual of where the organization stands in the process of supplying assumptions.

Often time's we'll publish this sort of visual + status table to an FP&A dashboard along with the ability to click on a MAILTO link in Anaplan that generates an e-mail to all organizational unit owners based on a template that reminds them of key due dates, what assumptions are still missing from them, and that provides a link to the model.

Does this make sense?

Let me know if I missed or misunderstood anything.

Cheers,

Kevin

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Contributor

Re: Workflow applied to a line item update process

Kevin, thanks for engaging with the question. What I have noticed with Anaplan is that people get very adapt at working around issues. Sometimes those issues are fundamental and a workaround is necessary. This may be the case for Workflow in its current state in which case I hope Anaplan are addressing the issue. What I would like to know is whether anyone has found a way to use Workflow  in this situation - rather than what is necessary to overcome the fact that it appears not to work that way.

The reason I am keen to find a way forward using workflow is that it does a lot of the work for you and has a good graphical view and integration with emails etc. Whilst it is possible to duplicate some of this it is all extra stuff to maintain.

Still many thanks for responding

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Certified Master Anaplanner

Re: Workflow applied to a line item update process

You raise a great point.

At this stage, my understanding is you would have to either maintain duplicates of the Organization list, one for each workflow process, or fold the separate tasks into a combined workflow associated with your Organization list.

I will preface this next statement by saying that I don't speak for Anaplan, and there may be a way to do exactly what you're asking, and if not, it may be on their product roadmap.

The thought: to your point about workarounds, given the unpredictable timelines associated with enhancements to the platform (for good reason; there are a lot of moving parts), and the many competing priorities when it comes to Anaplan DEV's prioritization of enhancements, if a client needs some functionality that requires a minor workaround that provides what they are looking for and that adds value (saves time, increases productivity, etc.) without introducing an unacceptable level of complexity, maintainence, or peformance degradation, then I'll take that any day of the week.

All that said, really glad you raised this item because A) I haven't run into this particular need yet, but if I do, I'll be more aware of limitations/options and be able to better-advise my clients B) if other Anaplan customers would like Workflow to support what you're describing, then hopefully it will get more attention.

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Contributor

Re: Workflow applied to a line item update process

Having spent more time going over what exists on Workflow in Anapedia and the Community and having tried to use workflow in anger I have concluded the following:

1, Workflow can only be set on a single list or list hierarchy.

2, Any entry of data to any line item dimensioned by the list causes the workflow status to update to in progress

3, Any change of an item status to Complete locks all data against that item for every lineitem dimensioned by the list.

4, Status can be changed manually from the Workflow tab or through an import action that updates the Status field of the list.

5, You do not need Admin access to change the status - just write access to the list item.

Despite it looking useful the restriction of only supporting a single list hierarchy and the universal impact of items 2 and 3 above mean that it can really only be used in a model where there is just one governing process.

It would be good to know from the developers if there is any plan to go beyond these limits (or indeed if I have missed the point).