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Defining a chain of approvals

A chain of approvals or chaining refers to a series of approvals. In chaining, an approval is run based on the outcome of a previous approval. To create an approval chain in BMC Helix Business Workflows, a case business analyst can create a new approval process or reuse the default sample process that is provided in BMC Helix Innovation Studio. A case business analyst can configure chaining for both types of approval flow—level up approval and general approval.

A case business analyst must complete the following steps to configure a chain of approvals:

  1. Define a process for a flow group.
  2. In an approval flow, associate the process with an approval flow.
    When the outcome of the process is achieved, the selected approval process is run.

Example of approval chaining

Consider an example, where as an administrator you want to create an approval flow for medical reimbursement requests by employees. A case for this request needs to be approved by the direct manager, and then, by the HR manager of the employee.

You create the following flow groups:

  • Reimbursement-Manager approval
  • Reimbursement-HR approval

The following table provides details about the approval flows:

Flow GroupFlowApproverExpressionOutcomeProcessFlow group in which the process is usedFlow group with which the process is associated

Reimbursement-Manager approval

Manager approvalManager of the requesterPriority = Critical and Category Tier 2 = BenefitsApprovedHR approvalReimbursement-Manager approval

Reimbursement-HR approval

Reimbursement-HR approval

HR approvalHR manager of the requesterSupport Group = HRApprovedNAReimbursement-HR approvalReimbursement-HR approval

A case status triggers an approval and a case Need medical reimbursement matches with the expression in the Manager approval flow. The direct manager approves the case and the process HR approval is run. Then, the HR manager approves the case.

The case is set to the Pending status until all approvers approve the case.

The following figure illustrates how the chain of approvals is executed in the example:

Sample of approval chaining

BMC Helix Business Workflows provides a sample process Case - Sample Chaining Approval that you can refer to, to create a chain of approvals. The sample process contains the process variables. As a case business analyst, you can create a copy of this process and configure the approval. When you create a copy of the sample process, the process variables are added automatically to the new process.

The following table describes the process variables that are available in the sample process:

Process variable typeProcess variable nameVariable IDDescription
InputCase Record57000This ensures that the self approval process is run for the correct case record definition.
Approval Status57020This ID stores the outcome of a previous approval.
OutputFinal Status57030This ID stores the final outcome of the Approval Process element that is used in chaining.

Best Practice

We recommend that you do not modify these process variables.

To create a copy of the sample process

  1. Log in to BMC Helix Innovation Studio and navigate to the Workspace tab.
  2. Select Case Management Service.
  3. Click Processes.
  4. Select the Case - Sample Chaining Approval process, and click Copy.
    In the new process, the process variables are automatically added.
  5. From Palette, drag the Approval Process element to the canvas, and perform the following steps in Element Properties:
    1. Under Record, click Click to build an expression.
    2. In Edit Expression, from Process Variables, add Case Record, and click OK.
    3. In Flow Group Name, click Select.
    4. In Select From Approval Flows, select the flow group that you want the process to call, and click Use Selected Flow Group.
  6. (Optional) Use any other elements in the process based on how you want to configure the process.
    The following image shows an example of adding an element in which the approval process triggers an approval from a different flow group.

    Learn more about elements in Process designer elements .
  7. Save the process.
    After the process is created, an administrator must associate it with an approval flow.

    Important

    While configuring an approval flow, in the expression of approval flow execution, you can use the Approver List field to compute an approver of a case or task based on your business logic.

To create a new chain of approval process

If you do not want to use the default approval process, you can create a new process in BMC Helix Innovation Studio.

  1. Log in to BMC Helix Innovation Studio and navigate to the Workspace tab.
  2. Select Case Management Service.
  3. Click Processes.
  4. Click New.
    In the new process, the process variables are automatically added.
  5. Specify the Name of the process.
  6. Click Add/Remove Variables.
  7. Specify Case Record and Approval Status as the Input Variable.
  8. Specify Final Status as the Output Variable.
  9. From Palette, drag the Approval Process element to the canvas, and perform the following steps in Element Properties:
    1. Under Record, click Click to build an expression.
    2. In Edit Expression, from Process Variables, add Case Record, and click OK.
    3. In Flow Group Name, click Select.
    4. In Select From Approval Flows, select the flow group that you want the process to call, and click Use Selected Flow Group.
  10. (Optional) Use any other elements in the process based on how you want to configure the process.
    Learn more about elements in Process designer elements .
  11. Provide the appropriate permissions for users.
  12. Save the process.
    After the process is created, an administrator must associate it with an approval flow.

Associating the approval process with an approval flow

After an approval process is created, a case business analyst must associate it to an approval flow. If required, multiple approval flows can be associated through chaining.

  1. Log in to BMC Helix Business Workflows as a case business analyst.
  2. Click Application Settings .
    The Settings page opens in a new browser tab.
  3. Click Approvals > Approval Configuration.
  4. To open the default approval process, click com.bmc.dsm.case-lib:Case, or open the approval process that you created.
  5. Click Approval Flows.
  6. To use the default flow group, expand BWFA Group.
  7. To create a new approval group, click Add New Flow Group.
  8. Click Add New Flow, and click Level Up Approval Flow or General Approval Flow.
    1. For Level Up Approval Flow, specify the No. of Levels and Qualification.
    2. For General Approval Flow, select the Approvers, and specify the Qualification.
      If you select multiple approvers, select one of the options for If Multiple Approvers.
  9. To create an approval chaining, select the status from Outcome, and select the process that should run when the outcome is achieved, and click Add.
    The following image shows an example of approval chaining in which a new process is called when the outcome of the approval flow is Approved.

  10. Save the approval flow group.

Where to go from here

Defining approval notifications

Related topics

Case approvals

Configuring approval flows


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