applies to version: 8.0.x; author: Lukasz Wrobel
WEBCON Outlook Add-in to Microsoft Outlook makes its debut in version 8.0 and brings new dimension to workflow and document management directly from e-mail client level.
Easy workflow initiation with e-mail correspondence
WEBCON Outlook Add-in allows for handling scenarios of starting new workflows in the system, based on selected e-mail messages. Each of WEBCON BPS users can define “shortcuts” to most commonly used workflows. Dragging and dropping a message or attachment onto a shortcut tile, will result in opening a new workflow element in background, or opening a browser window with proper registration form. In both cases an e-mail (or its attachment) will be attached to the new workflow element.
Advanced settings allows also for defining which fields of source message should be automatically copied into a form (e.g. sender’s name can be transferred into “Applicant” field on a form).
Use of Outlook Add-in provides an alternative to automatic workflow initiation based on incoming e-mails for addresses like: email@example.com, handled within WEBCON BPS, by integrated hotmailbox feature integrated with Exchange server. Outlook Add-in can be used when the decision whether to start a new workflow or not should be taken by an employee and it’s not desired to start a new workflow whenever a new e-mail comes.
Managing tasks and viewing documents
Microsoft Outlook is a primary tool for majority of office workers. Since WEBCON BPS 8.0, it is possible to display a list of user’s current tasks directly in Outlook. After selecting given workflow element, user is able to view all metadata included in a form along with all related attachments. It is all accessible directly from Microsoft Outlook.
Besides viewing direct and indirect tasks, users can also search through all workflow elements they have access to. Outlook Add-in provides a functionality to define individual search structures for archived workflows. User decides about desired method of searching through archives, e.g. by defining document type, date of creation, related vendor and step of the workflow where certain document should be found. After doing so, the system will display all workflow elements matching the criteria.
Another feature provided by Outlook Add-in is saving favorite areas of repository, e.g.: a list of all contracts, which are currently in “Negotiation step” and are related to “NDA agreements”. Another example could include all invoices related to certain vendor, that are in “Archive” step. Outlook Add-in also allows keep a track of certain tasks or documents.
Use of Outlook Add-in during creation of a new e-mail, allows for binding it with certain workflow element/document, that user works on in WEBCON BPS (e.g. a contract that or invoice approval that are being created in the system). Such connection can be made by adding an attachment from workflow to a new e-mail (which can be done by simply dragging and dropping an attachment from one window to another). As a result, the system will put an ID to the e-mail subject, which will like this: [BPS#1297].
Before sending an e-mail, system will ask whether to attach that message to the related workflow element. Thus keeping relevant correspondence is simpler than ever. Once a reply comes, the system will find related workflow by the ID and user will be able to display all related data quickly and easily. Attaching incoming e-mails to workflow elements is equally intuitive and simple.
Outlook Add-in is a perfect solution for workflows handling documents such as legal contracts. After a document is ready and attached in a workflow, everything user has to do, is to click an action icon (or text) placed on form menu bar which will invoke an action to send an e-mail via Outlook (prepared by system’s administrator that opens URL with mailto: phrase, transferring workflow ID: „[BPS#WFD_ID]”, to subject field). A Microsoft Outlook window for e-mail composing will appear, and related workflow data will be displayed in Outlook-Add-in section, along with all attachments. After creating a message, user sends message to desired recipient(s) and attach it to the workflow.
Once reply arrives, system will allow to display all data included into a form within related workflow and save the message (or only included attachment) to the workflow instance. This way WEBCON BPS allows for evidencing interaction with customers, carried out by e-mails. Document handling can be additionally enhanced by Word Add-in.
WEBCON BPS Outlook Add-in is available in Enterprise Version, for users with WEBCON BPS Enterprise User CALs.