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New Business Workflow Management Upgrades in OroPlatform

November 10, 2016 | Oro Team

Today, we are happy to announce some recent improvements we are making to the OroPlatform workflow engine. These upgrades make workflows easier to build, customize, manage and adapt for specific business needs. They will apply immediately to the entire Oro suite of products, including both OroCRM and OroCommerce.

A Peek Into Workflows

The first question you may have is “what is a workflow?”. Workflows are a sequence of steps and rules that help automate a business process.

In OroCommerce, workflows require multiple prerequisite conditions, such as:

  • When the workflow starts
  • What action it performs
  • Under what condition these actions will be completed

In contrast to most eCommerce platforms, OroCommerce lets administrators use workflows to manage what users can and cannot do in both frontend and backend.

What’s New Snapshot

In order to make the workflow function even more helpful, we are going to introduce several significant enhancements. For instance, after the upgrade, it will be possible to:

  • Configure multiple workflows for a single entity, add new workflows to that entity, and keep them all simultaneously active without having to deactivate already existing ones. The workflows can then be executed in parallel unless mutually exclusive workflows are set up.
  • Set up mutually exclusive workflows in order to configure how they each correlate in the system. They can also be arranged into groups of mutually exclusive workflows. This will make it possible for only one workflow to be active, or for an entity record to use only one workflow from the group at a time.
  • Translate workflows and their components, including the workflow names, step names, and transition names, as well as warning messages, into any of the existing languages available in the system. This can also be applied to any new workflows that users create themselves.
  • Specify how workflows apply to certain sets of records in order to limit their applicability. This lets users create specific workflows for specific segments (subsets) of records. For example, this can be a special workflow for opportunities that have a certain budget or different workflows for opportunities according to their location.
  • Restrict which users can edit workflows in order to give you greater control over who can manage workflow transitions and view the current state of workflows. Access can be set up for the entire system, organization, a particular role, a business unit, individual user, or an account.

Business Value of the New Upgrades

The recent upgrades we are making to the workflow function give OroCommerce business users a more flexible and customizable approach to managing their data. They can now have more control over how their regular business processes are handled, and can adapt workflows in order to better fulfill specific business requirements in customer and order management.

Let’s take a closer look at how these upgraded workflows can be used within an eCommerce environment:

Use Case #1
By configuring multiple workflows for a single entity, businesses can gain more control over how orders are processed. For instance, some buyers may require orders that exceed a certain limit to be submitted to a supervisor for review, rather than immediately getting processed. Although orders may typically follow a default workflow, an additional workflow can be created for large orders that meet certain criteria (e.g., price or quantity), ensuring that they have to pass through another step to get approved.

Here’s an example showing the difference between a workflow built for a standard checkout procedure in OroCommerce vs. its alternative checkout version:

checkout workflows in OroCommerce

Use Case #2

Another example where you may require more flexible business workflow management is when your business sells online to other businesses but also directly to consumers via different sites (both can be managed by the same OroCommerce instance). Such a business might want to have 2 different workflows for an abandoned shopping carts. In B2C, abandoned shopping carts would usually trigger a series of automated marketing emails trying to get the customer to complete their purchase. But in B2B business, where each individual buyer is more personal and carries much more potential value, it makes sense to set up a different workflow that requires sales reps to contact prospects directly via phone call or email.

Use Case #3

Back-office operations can also be guided with workflows. For example, once an order has been processed, workflows may vary as to how a sales representative or an order fulfillment center should respond. For example, if a customer completes their purchase through a self-service website, further information, like invoice and shipping details, can be sent via an automated transaction email. Whereas if the buyer was guided by a sales rep all the way from the pre-sale stage up to the purchase completion, the sales rep may want to follow-up with a personal email or phone call with further details.

In Conclusion

These updates will introduce more advanced, flexible, and powerful business workflow management tools within OroCommerce. Whole departments, teams, and even individual employees will have the ability to create multiple workflows, control how those workflows are applied, specify exceptions for certain records and segments, and more. All this will empower businesses by helping them adapt to unique scenarios and operate more effectively in nuanced conditions.

Stay tuned for more future updates! We always look forward to receiving feedback, so please feel free to either comment on this blog or contact us via the forum.

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