This documentation supports the 22.1 version of Action Request System.
To view an earlier version, select the version from the Product version menu.

Approval Central

Approval Central enables you to quickly review the approval requests awaiting your attention. These could be direct requests or requests for which you act as an alternate approver. You can approve, reject, hold, or view the details of a pending request by using the appropriate buttons provided in the form. You can act on single or multiple requests at one time without opening each request individually. If the administrator set the Can Reassign option for the corresponding approval process to Yes in the AP:Process Definition form, you can reassign a pending request.

The Approval Central form, which acts as the approval server console, appears when you log in to  AR System and click the Approval Central link on the home page. (This link is localized.) The Pending Approvals table appears by default, and it displays requests that have the PendingHold, or More Information status. The left pane contains two sections: Summary and Actions. Clicking a link in these sections displays a corresponding panel in the right pane.

Tip

The localized link is visible only if the Localize Server option is enabled on the Advanced tab of the AR System Administration: Server Information form. See Setting performance and security options.

Requesters use Approval Central to access More Information requests sent to them. See Processing approval requests

For Google Chrome in a Chinese locale, several fields on the Approval Central form show garbled characters.

 To open Approval Central from the AR System  home page

If your administrator has configured Approval Server , the  AR System home page form will contain an Approval Central link. Click this link to open Approval Central. (For more information, see Configuring the Approval Server.)

To open Approval Central in a browser

  1. Launch your browser and go to http://hostName:portNumber/arsys/forms/serverName/Approval Central where hostName is the name of the web server where  Mid Tier is running, and serverName is the name of the AR System server  where  Approval Server is running.
    Ask your AR System server  administrator for the exact URL.
  2. In the  Mid Tier login window, enter your user name and password, along with an authentication string if necessary, and click Log In.
    You can use a similar procedure to access any other Approval Server  forms, such as the AP:Administration form.

Summary fields

The links in the Summary section of Approval Central correspond to predefined searches. A table in the corresponding panel on the right displays the search results. 

FieldDescription
Pending Approvals

Click to view the requests that await your approval. Such requests are in the Pending state. The following links are displayed under the Pending Approval link:

  • Needs Attention
  • Past Due
  • Due Soon
Needs Attention

Click to view the requests for which a question or answer is directed at you. Such requests are in the More Information state. The Need Attention Approvals panel displays a table with the columns: From, To, Action Date, Description, Application, Request, and Status.

You can perform one of the following actions on any selected request in this table:

  • Click Respond to answer the corresponding question. The AP:More Information form opens in Modify mode.
  • Click View to open the corresponding question-answer thread. The AP:More Information form opens in Display mode.

After you respond to a question or view the answer to a question you raised, the state of the request changes from More Information to Pending.

Past DueClick to view the requests whose Action Date has passed. The Past Due Approvals table displays requests that have the Pending, Hold, or More Information status. For more information about the Action Date, see Creating signature escalations in a process.
Due SoonClick to view the requests whose Action Date is approaching. The Due Soon Approvals table displays requests having the Pending, Hold, or More Information status. Through AP:Administration, a process administrator configures the time factor that decides whether an approval request falls under the Due Soon category. For more information, see Creating signature escalations in a process.
My Approval History

Click to view the requests that you approved or rejected, and requests that have the Error status. This is a predefined search, the results of which appear on the right pane in the My Approvals History table. Requests displayed in this table have the Approved, Rejected, or Error status. A process administrator configures the number of history items to display. See Form to change server settings for approval server.

The Rejected by Others link is displayed under My Approvals History.

Rejected by OthersClick to view the requests that you approved earlier, but are rejected by an approver further in the approval sequence. This is a predefined search, the results of which appear on the right pane in the Approvals Rejected by Others panel.

Actions field

FieldDescription
My Alternate ApproversClick to open the AP:Alternate form in New mode. For more information, see Form to create, delete, maintain, and search alternative approvers.

Pending Approvals table

In the right pane, the Pending Approval table displays requests with the Pending, Hold, and More Information status. In the first untitled column, some rows might display a bell icon, indicating that the corresponding request is Urgent. The second untitled column contains check boxes that you can use to select the corresponding requests. Use the check boxes to select multiple requests on which you want to perform similar actions.

When you click Approve, Reject, or Hold, the status of the selected requests changes. These modified requests continue to appear in the Pending Approvals table until the table is refreshed, or until you navigate to another page or link.

When you click a row-level icon without explicitly selecting the row, the row gets selected first.

Fields on Approval Search Result table

FieldDescription
Action DateThe date on or before which, if you do not act upon the request, you receive a notification that it is still outstanding, or the state of the request is changed automatically. This is applicable only to those requests where Notification:Still Outstanding, Automatic Action, or both are configured in the corresponding AP:Process Definition form. The Action Date is calculated as the least of these two values, if both are specified. See "Signature Escalation tabs" in Form to create and modify approval processes and see Creating signature escalations in a process.
Summary

The description associated with the Request ID (Application ID). This value is populated from field 14506 on the AP:Detail form, which contains the Description value for the associated application request. When you hover over this field, a tooltip displays the information mapped in the Tooltip Configuration tab of AP:Form. This additional information helps you make a quick decision about the request.

This tool tip appears only if the appropriate setting is done on the Tooltip Configuration tab of AP:Form form.

RequesterThe name of the requestor. This information is obtained from the three-way join form for the related application.
Acting AsThe name of the approver to whom the request is originally assigned. This field contains a value only if you are the alternate approver for the original request assignee.
PriorityThe priority of the approval request that is stored in the corresponding AP:Detail record. The possible values are: Urgent, Normal, and Low.
Application

The application name associated with the request, for example, Service Request Management or Change Management . This name is provided by the application itself.

StatusThe current state of the request. The possible values are: Pending, Approved, Rejected, Cancelled, Hold, More Information, Error, and Closed.
Approve iconClick to approve the selected request.
Reject iconClick to reject the selected request. If a rejection justification is mandatory, but the Justification For Action field is empty, a dialog box prompts you to enter a reason for rejecting the request. See Rejection justification for approval requests.
Hold icon

Click to put the selected request on hold.

Reassign icon

Click to reassign the selected request to another person. If Can Reassign is set to Yes for the corresponding process, the AP:Reassign dialog box prompts you to enter the name of an approver; otherwise, an error is displayed. For more information, see Reassigning approval requests.

The AP:Reassign dialog box appears only once, which means that all the selected requests are assigned to the same person. Validation for the user name entered in the dialog box is not provided out-of-the-box.

Approval Details icon

Click to open the AP:Show-Detail form, which displays the details of the highlighted approval request and enables you to take further action. When you click the Approval Details icon on the Approval Central form, you can view the approval process as a sequence diagram or a table.

The following screenshot shows the Approval Sequence Diagram:

When you click the Approval Details icon on the Approval Central form, if the AP:Show-Detail form does not load the sequence diagram, the rendering continues or the following error is displayed: Error during loading document.

To fix the issue, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Visualizer Module Registration form.
  2. Click Search.
  3. Select the Approval Server record that has an attachment of the Approval_0.jar or Approval.jar file.
  4. Delete the attachment and add the Approval_0.jar or Approval.jar file again.
  5. Restart Mid Tier .
  6. Stop the Apache Tomcat service.
  7. From the Mid Tier  Install folder, delete the contents in the PluginCache folder.
  8. Start the Tomcat service and open the Approval Central form.
  9. Select a request and click the Approval Details icon.

You can see the sequence diagram without errors.

For more information, see Approving and rejecting requests from Approval Central.

View Questions and Responses icon

Click to display all the questions and responses, if any, for the selected request. If there is no question for the selected request, the following pop-up message is displayed: No Questions Present.

PreferencesClick to set the preferences to display items in this table. You can display or hide a column, set the refresh interval, and reset or save the display settings.
RefreshClick to refresh the contents of the table.
Justification For Action

Enter some meaningful text in this field to be recorded as a justification for your action, and click Reject. An entry is added to the Activity Log table. If you click any other action button, this field is ignored. For information about how your input is processed, see Rejection justification for approval requests.

Approval Search

The Approval Search window enables you to specify criteria for searching through approval requests. Select or enter field values in this section of the form to search for requests and display the results in the Search Results table.

Quick search

Select an approval status from the Show list to search for requests with the selected status. The default status is Pending.

To filter your search results further, you can enter a search string in the text box, and click the Search icon. The approval server finds all the requests with the selected status, that also contain any of the specified words in a field, instead of matching a string of characters. This search action tries to match the search string to the data present for the Summary, Application, and the Requestor fields for the requests.

Advanced search

You can use Advanced Search to specify a detailed search criteria. (When you enable Advanced Search, the quick search is disabled.)

Fields Approval Search section

FieldDescription
ApplicationSelect an application from the list of available applications. Select the name of the approval request form from the list to search for approval requests related to that form.
ProcessSelect a process. If you select an application, only the processes belonging to that application appear in this menu.
Acting As

Select a value from the list to search for requests with the selected type of approver authority. The default is Myself. If you select All and perform a search, the resulting list contains the same requests that appear when you click Pending Approvals.

The Acting As field cannot be blank.

User

Contains the name of the current user or the user on whose behalf you are acting as alternate or performing an override.

  • If Acting As is set to Myself or Global Override, AR System populates this field with the name of the current user.
  • If Acting As is set to Alternate or Override, you must enter the AR System name of the user for whom you are acting as an alternate, or performing an override.
Approval StatusSelect an approval status from the list to search for requests with the selected status. The default is Pending.
Requester

Type all or part of a requester's AR System full name to search for approval requests from that requester. If you have the correct privileges on the corresponding requests, the search results display the requests that this requester created.

SummaryEnter one or more words in the summary that you want to search for.
Action DateSelect the Action Date. See Creating signature escalations in a process.
PrioritySelect the priority. (This is the priority of the approval request, not the application request.)
Modified DateSelect the date on which the requests you want to search for were last modified.
SearchClick to perform the search after you specify all the required criteria.
Clear AllClick to clear all the search fields.
Request-IDType the Request ID to search for approval requests.


Approval Search Result table

The Approval Search Result table is displayed in the right pane. The contents of the table change according to the links you click in the left pane, or the advanced search criteria. In the first untitled column, some rows might have a bell icon displayed, indicating that the corresponding request is Urgent. The second untitled column contains check boxes that you can use to select the corresponding requests.

When you click Approve, Reject, or Hold, the status of the selected requests changes. These modified requests continue to appear in the Pending Approvals table until the table is refreshed, or until you navigate to another page or link.

Fields Approval Search Result table

FieldDescription
Action DateThe date on or before which, if you do not act upon the request, you receive a notification that it is still outstanding, or the state of the request is changed automatically. This is applicable only to those requests where Notification:Still Outstanding, Automatic Action, or both are configured in the corresponding AP:Process Definition form. The Action Date is calculated as the least of these two values, if both are specified. See Creating signature escalations in a process.
Summary

The description associated with the Request ID (Application ID). This value is populated from field 14506 on AP:Detail that contains the Description value for the associated application request. When you hover over this field, a tool tip displays the information mapped in the Tooltip Configuration tab of AP:Form. This additional information helps you make decisions about the request.

Important: This tool tip appears only if the appropriate setting is done on the Tooltip Configuration tab of AP:Form form.

RequesterThe name of the requestor. This information is obtained from the three-way join form for the related application.
Acting AsThe name of the approver to whom the request is originally assigned. This field contains a value only if you are the alternate approver for the original request assignee.
PriorityThe priority of the approval request that is stored in the corresponding AP:Detail record. The possible values are: Urgent, Normal, and Low.
Application

The application name associated with the request, for example, Service Request Management or Change Management . This name is provided by the application itself.

StatusThe current state of the request. The possible values are: Pending, Approved, Rejected, Cancelled, Hold, More Information, Error, and Closed.
Approve iconClick to approve the selected request.
Reject icon

Click to reject the selected request. If a rejection justification is mandatory, but the Justification For Action field is empty, a dialog box prompts you to enter a reason for rejecting the request. See Rejection justification for approval requests.

Hold iconClick to put the selected request on hold.
Reassign icon

Click to reassign the selected request to another person. If Can Reassign is set to Yes for the corresponding process, the AP:Reassign dialog box prompts you to enter the name of an approver; otherwise an error is displayed. For more information, see Reassigning approval requests.

Important: The AP:Reassign dialog box appears only once, which means that all the selected requests are assigned to the same person. Validation for the user name entered in the dialog box is not provided out-of-the-box.

Approval Details iconClick to open the AP:Show-Detail form, which displays the details of the highlighted approval request and enables you to take further action. For more information, see Approving and rejecting requests from Approval Central.
View Questions and Responses icon

Click to display all the questions and responses, if any, for the selected request. If there are no questions for the selected request, the following pop-up message is displayed: No Questions Present.

PreferencesClick to set the preferences to display items in this table. You can display or hide a column, set the refresh interval, and reset or save the display settings.
Justification For Action

Enter some meaningful text in this field to be recorded as a justification for your action, and click Reject. An entry is added to the Activity Log table. If you click any other action button, this field is ignored. For information about how your input is processed, see Rejection justification for approval requests.

Working with multiple pending requests

To select a single row in the Approval Requests table, click anywhere on the row. Its check box is selected and those of other rows are unselected. To select multiple requests, use the corresponding check boxes. To select all the requests in this table, select the check box in the table header. However, at a time only one row appears highlighted (regardless of the status of its check box).

Multiple row selection does not work for requests of the Needs Attention category.

You can select multiple requests and change the status. When you click the appropriate action button, a guide runs through the individual requests and performs the actions. If one or more of the associated processes require passwords, you are prompted to provide them once, before the action is performed.

Setting display preferences on Approval Central

Use the Preferences menu to set display preferences for the tables on this screen as follows:

  • Add Column—Use to select a column to be displayed.
  • Remove Column—Use to select a column to be hidden.
  • Set Refresh Interval—Click to open a dialog box in which you can specify the duration (in minutes) after which the table is automatically refreshed.
  • Reset—Click to revert any changes you made to the appearance of the table, or the refresh interval.
  • Save—Click to save any changes you made to the appearance of the table or the refresh interval. These changes are saved only for the current session and are not retained when you log out and log in again.

Action buttons

You can select one or more requests on Approval Central and click the appropriate buttons to perform actions. The buttons are disabled only if there are no requests to be selected.

Selecting one or more requests enables all the action buttons regardless of the status of the request. If a certain action cannot be performed on a selected request, one of the following occurs:

  • Clicking the action button has no effect. For example, if you select a request that is on hold, clicking the Hold button will have no effect.
  • Clicking the action button displays an error message and the request remains unchanged. For example, if you select an request with the Approved, Rejected, or Error status and click Approve, Reject, Hold, or Reassign, the following error message is displayed:

    Select at least one row with appropriate status to perform the buttonLabel action. (ARERR errorNumber)

Action buttons to operate on selected requests

FieldDescription
Approve Selected

Click to approve the selected requests. If other approvers are required, AR System routes the requests to the respective next approvers. If no further approvers are required, the request statuses change to Approved, and the approval process is done.

Reject Selected

Click to reject the selected requests. If a rejection justification is mandatory, but the Justification For Action field is empty, a dialog box prompts you to enter a reason for rejecting the request. The same comment is applied to all the selected requests. See Rejection justification for approval requests.

Hold SelectedClick to put the selected requests on hold. The request statuses change to Hold until further action is performed on them.


Request Details

The Request Details section displays all the data related to an approval request. This data is fetched from the AP:Show-Detail form. For more information, see Form to view history of activities on a request for an approval process.  For information about the approval request details, see AP:Detail form.

FieldDescription
Request ID

Displays the application ID (the request ID or any other ID in the application) as a link. Click the link to display the relevant application form.

If you upgrade from an earlier version of the Approval Server to 7.5.00 or later, this link displays the correct application ID for newly created requests. The application ID might not be accurate for requests that were created before upgrading. To specify the value for this link, the process administrator must map the Application Request ID field on the Advanced tab of AP:Form to the appropriate field on the application form. See AP:Form form.

Activity LogDisplays the activity log (Questions, Comments, and other information) associated with the Request ID. Click View Activity Summary to view all the activities related to the current request in a report format.

When you click the Approve, Reject, Hold, or Reassign icons, a dialog box prompts you to enter your password. The statuses of the selected requests are changed only if you provide a valid password; otherwise, an error message is displayed.

More Information

The More Information section enables you to add questions or comments to the current request in a table. 

To modify or delete questions or comments associated with the current request, you must go to the Activity Log tab on the AP:Show-Detail form.  For more information, see Form to view history of activities on a request for an approval process

FieldDescription
TypeSpecify whether you are creating a comment or a question.
Question To

Select a name from the user list or enter the AR System  login name of the person to whom you want to raise a question. This field is enabled only if you select Question from the Type drop-down list. Using the Question To field, an approver can ask questions to the requestor or any other person who belongs to the same group as the approver.

The Approval Server does not have any way to know where a particular user's details are stored. (The consuming applications are responsible to validate the login name.) The source of a user could be any form other than the User form that the AR System provides. For example, the user information could be retrieved from an LDAP server.

Question / Summary

This field is labeled Question when you add a question to the approval request. Enter the question here.

The field is labeled Summary when you add a comment. Enter the brief comment here.

Response / Notes

This field is labeled Response when you view a question about the approval request. The corresponding response appears here.

The field is labeled Notes when you add a comment. Enter the detailed comment here.

SaveClick to save a new comment or question.
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