Understanding how to use workflows

Let's have a look at a specific example of how a team might use workflows so that we can understand how all the pieces come together. We go with purchasing a piece of new equipment since it is a common use case for workflows.

When a new request comes in where someone wants to purchase a new piece of equipment, what steps does it need to go through?

The request goes through two steps:

  1. The Support department needs to pass it to the finance team.
  2. The Finance department either approves or denies the funds for the request.

The flow of the issue would look something like this:

Flow of the issue

Looking at the diagram, we have a few things going on:

  • There are two main parties involved – a support team member and a finance team member.
  • We have a set of ticket criteria established – open 'equipment purchase' tickets assigned to the support department.
  • And we have three total steps defined:
    • When the issue comes in, the support staff member uses the workflow to assign the ticket to finance.
    • When it lands with finance, they can do one of the following:

      approve the request, which returns the issue to support and add a note about their approval,

      deny the request, sending it back to support, adding a note, and closing the issue.

In GFI HelpDesk, we can define a workflow for each one of these steps, and limit their visibility based on ticket criteria. Then, every time a purchase request comes in, the support team can move it along to finance with the press of a button, and finance can either approve or deny it.

Now, this example probably is not an exact match for a process in your organization, but you can see how you might start mapping common procedures so they can be standardized with workflows. A great way to get started is to sit down with an actual pen and paper and map out the steps of your real-world processes using flow diagrams. This makes it much easier to determine how many workflows you need and what each of them needs to do.

Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to create a set of workflows that would function as described above.