This documentation supports the 21.3 version of Action Request System.

To view an earlier version, select the version from the Product version menu.

Using Approval Server to automate the approval-driven business processes

Approval Server helps automate any approval-driven or signature-driven process across an organization. Approval Server  includes built-in contingency handling, which makes sure that approvals are completed quickly and correctly within the system. 

An Approval Server process administrator configures Approval Server  by using the AP: Administration form

When a BMC Helix Innovation Suite  application initiates an approval process, Approval Server  requests approvals according to the defined approval process. As the approvers respond with an approval or rejection, it manages all notifications, and requests for more information, if needed. After receiving the responses from the approvers, the Approval Server  reports the result for the request. Approvers can approve the requests by using any of the following methods:

  • By logging in to Approval Central
  • By replying to the email notifications

Approvals must often be recorded to provide an audit trail and proof of authenticity associated with a signature. The Approval Server  provides this functionality in BMC applications. You can add any type of approval or signature-driven process to your own BMC Helix Innovation Suite  applications. Use the Approval Server  for processes with the following requirements:

  • Workflow that needs agreement or acknowledgment from others
  • Processes that must be auditable
  • Signatures that must be authenticated

Approval-driven process for issuing a new IT asset scenario

An employee at Apex Global reports an incident about their laptop shutting down unexpectedly. The IT helpdesk agent who works on this incident understands that the solution is to change the laptop battery. Since the resolution for this incident requires a new IT asset to be issued, the IT helpdesk agent initiates a change request. The IT team in Apex Global requires employees to get an approval from the business unit head and the payroll department to issue any new IT asset to an employee.

The Approval Server  administrator configures the  Approval Server  to auto-populate the list of mandatory approvers for certain processes. However, a helpdesk agent can also modify the approval list and add approvers during the approval process. After all approvers have approved the request, a new laptop battery is issued to the employee. 

Based on the scenario, the following image shows an overview of the approval-driven process:

Approval-driven process for issuing a new IT asset workflow

StepActionReference
1

An Employee creates an incident and IT Helpdesk is notified. An IT Helpdesk agent reviews the incident and initiates an approval process to issue a new IT asset.

Approval request notifications are sent to the approvers. 

Approval notification through email
2

An approver approves the request by using Approval Central console.
When the first approver approves the request, the next approver is notified.

Approve by using Approval Central
3

(Optional) If an approver is unavailable to approve, a process administrator might modify the list of approvers to continue the approval process.

Specifying different approvers
4

(Optional) If an approver needs more details about the request, they can request for more information. Accordingly the  Approval Server  notifies the specific persons about the request.

Processing More Information requests
5

The last approver approves the request and the approval process ends.

Approval notification through email
6The IT asset is issued and the incident is closed.
All the stakeholders involved in the approval process are notified.
Approval notification through email

Approval-driven process benefits


  • Track approvals and audit data:  Approval Server  collects data about the request in the request form and the other supporting forms. Some of this data is temporary and for use only during the approval process. Data such as signatures, additional notes, and timestamp of each approval activity, is saved for audit purposes.
    You must have  BMC Helix Innovation Suite  Administrator permissions to view the audit data.

  • Send notification with approval feedback: Use  Approval Server to send email notifications, alerts, and build a feedback loop. This functionality supports business processes that require all the relevant parties to see and approve, acknowledge, or sign the workflow. 
  • Adapt to changes: Use  Approval Server to define how each approval process should work. Set up new processes and adapt to existing processes as changes occur in your organization. 
  • Modify approval processes: Customizing and modifying  Approval Server  does not require programming expertise. For every stage of the approval process, configure the Approval Server  to inform the interested parties about any change in the status of an approval request. 
  • Share approval processes with multiple applications: You need not build a custom workflow or separate solutions for each application. All processes can share the same approval engine, providing a common approval experience across applications.

You can also use Approval Server  logging to record data about all requests and responses, as well as to track the configuration changes that the process administrator or BMC Helix Innovation Suite  administrator makes.

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