Whether its approving expenses or document control, approval steps can be more complicated than clicking an approve/deny button. I have had several instances where approvers need to do more than click a button — several need to contribute data to the original requestor and/or choose which step is next in the process.
In these cases, you have a couple of choices to make your life easier. You can create a task list in SharePoint, or use the Approval option in Power Automate to navigate approvals or create a status column within the original request.
When I choose to create a separate list for tasks, I’m most likely doing so to capture information history of the flow. Using a parent-child relationship between lists, I create a column to reference the Request ID. Many customers want to maintain a history and this is the easiest way to keep it up to date for them. This includes:
Time of the Approval
What type of Approval
Etc – Whatever you want to capture you can
Easy to reassign an approver mid-flow (when you are not the one it is assigned too – think Admins)
Different approvers for different items
Multiple Approvers for a single-stage
Manually assign approvers
Getting the Data
Does your Approver need to add additional information to the request?
Let’s say we are working with time-off requests and your managers need to be able to add rates of pay, budget codes, etc.
A simple Approve/Deny process is not enough to complete this stage. How do you make it easy for your requester and approver to move through each stage?
- Build the columns you need into the original list. (You can hide the columns or not include in the requesters’ forms)
- Add a deep link to the app in the Approver Email – by using the item id you can have the app load the request dynamically. I have referenced the below post each time I have used this logic.
- Save the Data
On the form, you can load the current request by parsing the URL and then showing the data cards you need for the approver.
Approve/Deny/Complete the item
Power Automate Approvals – For some, you can have the ‘Approver’ navigate back to the email to click the approve button using flow approvals.
Task List Approvals – Ensure you have the deep link load the task list item. Then, when requested data is changed, it updates the task item at the same time.
Change Status of Request- You can have predefined Status Changes by having the default Status selection already defined in the PowerApp form that it was linked to, and you can hide the data card or leave it available for your approver to change the status manually.
Then once the item is triggered into the Flow – I often use a switch for approvals to ‘funnel’ the automation based on where we are in the process.
I have used this to filter based on status or approval type. For example, is it legal, hr, director (tracking this in the approval list)? Filter Approval type and update the request in Power Automate accordingly.
My Power Automate Pro Tip
Flow triggers vary, but often with deep linking apps, I will use a PowerApp button to trigger the flow. Using a PowerApp button can require more configuration than using the standard created or modified – but the response time is worth it to me in most cases
Custom applications are becoming more common within organizations because they are getting easier and easier to build. With Microsoft PowerApps, we find we are building all different types of applications – from social apps to business apps paired with Microsoft Flow. We have been able to implement easy-to-use solutions that can be accessed within Microsoft Teams or SharePoint pages on tablets or mobile phones. As explained in this article, approving expenses or document control often goes beyond just one click. Most organizations are eager to leverage the skills in building sophisticated apps that ask or provide more information, contain compatible layers, and provide a seamless experience for both the requester and approver.
Klarinet Solutions has seen a lot of success in using PowerApps to make powerful, user-friendly internal tools that connect to your business data and more so, the individuals at your organization. To learn more about how these tools can work for you in your company please reach out to us at 866.211.8191.