Welcome to the first Learning Line on the Purple Express! Virtually ride the lines to visit Skill Stations, where you'll acquire skills needed to achieve your business goals.
This Learning Line uses the business case of creating and enhancing a digital work stream for managing expense pre-approvals. Each Skill Station on the line will introduce you to skills that build upon the ones you acquired at the last Station. We recommend completing them in order.
How would you like to learn today? Scroll down to follow along with a written tutorial, or watch the tutorial videos on YouTube.
Learning Concepts at this Skill Station:
Creating a basic work stream
Introduction to work stream components
Creating and managing digital forms
Creating and managing email templates
Editing the flow of a work stream
Publishing and testing
Creating a Basic Work Stream
Start by logging into Pulpstream and accessing the Streams Management area. In the upper right side of your screen, click on the gear icon. In the pull-down menu, select Streams Management. From the Your Streams page, click on the blue plus sign to create a new stream. We’re going to create our stream using the Wizard. In the popup, give the stream a name. We will call our stream "Expense Pre-Approval." In the description, type in text that describes what the stream will be used for. For example, “This work stream will be used to manage expense reimbursement request approvals for X line of business.”
Expense approval requests generally require a few pieces of information to process, so let's add 4 fields to store this information. Add four fields by clicking on the "Add another field text."
We want to know why the employee is requesting expense reimbursement. So, let's name the first field “Purpose.” The Title is the text that will appear atop the field in the digital form that employees will use to submit the request. The Name is what the Pulpstream engine uses to manage the information on the back end. This will always auto-populate. These are used in Expressions and APIs, so you don't need to worry about that right now. The Type tells Pulpstream what type of information this is. In this first field, we want the employee to type in the purpose of the expense, so in the pull-down menu select “Text Field.”
The next field, we’ll Title it "Description." Again the Name auto-populates. The Type will again be Text Field.
We need to know how much funding the employee is requesting, so in the 3rd field, type “Amount” into the Title field. Choose Currency from the pull-down in the Type section.
Title the fourth row of fields “Send for Approval to.” Select User from the Type pull-down menu. Save your changes. Save the Stream. Type in a description of the stream. And that’s it! You’ve created a basic work stream.
On the Your Streams page, there is a working version of our digital work stream.
Click on the Stream Definition tab to see the flow of your stream.
The Stream Definition Canvas is where you can access all the components you need to create a robust digital work stream. You’ll notice on the right side of the screen, you have a Components Catalog.
This is where you will find your data components, forms, roles and permissions, stages and escalations, documents, email templates, and other stream components. We will create some of those today. You will become more familiar with the components as you visit more Skill Stations.
Creating and Managing Digital Forms
At this point you have a Request Form in your Components Catalog. That’s the one we just created. Let's edit it. Double click on it to open it. In the configuration popup, you will see all the fields we made earlier. Hover your mouse over the sections to reveal dotted lines and an editing pen. Click on the editing pen to start editing the fields. We need the employee to fill out all of the fields on the form, so let's make all the fields required. Let's edit the purpose field first. In the Edit Field popup, find the Field Attributes pull-down menu. Click on it and select “required.”
Save your changes. Do this for the description and the amount fields.
Now that you’ve made the fields on your form required, let's enhance the form. After the employee submits the request form, someone needs to approve it. On the right side of your screen, in the Available Fields section you have area called "Available Fields" where you can find user experience enhancers. After we create them, you will see data components and other stream elements appear here. Save your changes to the form.
Give the form a title that everyone on the team will understand, such as “Request Form.” Add descriptive text, such as “This form will be used to request approvals for business expenses.” (This text will appear under the title of the form in the employee's digital form catalog. We will learn more about that later.) Save your changes.
Creating and Managing Email Templates
Now that we have our basic digital request form, we need to create ways to engage stakeholders in the business process. Let's do that via email notifications. We are going to create two new email templates. The first template will notify the employee in the event that the request is approved. The second template will notify the employee that the request has been rejected.
Go to your Stream Definition canvas. On the right side of the screen, in the Components Catalog, find the Email Templates section. Hover your mouse over it to reveal editing options. Click on “New.”
Let's create the approval email template first. In the Title field, give it a simple title that any future employee who has to manage the stream would understand. Call it "Approval Notice." In the Who is Sender field, we specify who will be identified as the sender of the email. Choose "Record Submitter." (It’s named that, because the person who submitted the form has created a record of the request.) In the email subject line, type in a standard subject line that would be applicable to all expense requests. Type in “Your expense request was approved.”
Next, we want to fill in the blanks and personalize the email. On the right side of the subject line and body sections you’ll see a magnifying glass that illuminates a search function. Click on that to find merge field values that you can use to automatically populate your email templates with personalization information.
In the merge field value finder popup, you will see tabs for data component fields, record meta fields, and task meta fields. We want our emails to be addressed to the person who created the record, so click on the Record Meta Fields tab. Scroll down to find “Requested by.” Click on that. Depending on your business culture, you may be on a first name basis with your colleagues. You may not have met them at all because they’re not on the same continent as you, so you could be on a full name basis. I’m going to select the full name here to address the email with the full name of the person who requested the expense approval. In the subsequent popup, we will be given the merge field value to make this happen.
Copy that and paste it into the part of the email where you want that information to populate.
We’ll put this right after "Dear," so that it says, "Dear Full Name $!record.requestedBy.fullName."
You can use these merge field values in email subject lines too. This is helpful when you are either submitting many requests or simply get a lot of email. Copy and paste one into the subject line if this is useful to you.
Next, we want to populate any comments that the expense approver made. Click on the magnifying glass. On the Task Meta Fields, find the "Comments." Click it to select it. In the popup, copy those merge field values and paste them into the appropriate section of the email.
And last but not least, we will conclude the email with a salutation from the person who approved the request. Use the merge field value finder tool to find the "Task Completed by" field merge value. Of course, conclude your email in a way that suits your business culture.
Now that we have created our approval notice email template, we need to create our rejection notice email template. You’re going to create this one on your own. When you're done, your email should look like this one:
Now that we have created both an approval and a rejection email notification template, they will be available to us in our Components Catalog. Go to your Stream Definition canvas, on the right side of the page in the components section, find the Email Templates. And there you’ll see both your Approval and Rejection Notice email templates.
With these, we are going to modify the flow of our work stream.
Editing the Flow of a Work Stream
On your Stream Definition Canvas, you will see your basic work stream. Delete that Send Report step. Click on it to highlight it. Press the delete button on your keyboard. In your canvas navigation menu, you’ll see a variety of pre-made steps that you can drag and drop into your work streams. Find the User Task. Click on it and hold down the first button on your mouse to drag it into your work stream.
When it’s on your Stream Definition canvas, it will open and give you various editing options as you can see here in the tabs of the popup window. Let's start on the General tab to give this task a subject and a due date.
In the Task Subject field: name it “Review Request.” In the Select a Form to show record details to task assignee section, select “Request Form.” (That’s the one we made earlier.)
The user will have 2 days to complete this task after the request was created, so in the pull-down menu, tell Pulpstream that “it will be due in days specified here.” Enter in the number of days that the user will have to do the task in the field to the right. Depending on your business culture, you can utilize the last option on this General tab, which is the business calendar option.
Next, click on the Assignment tab. We will assign this task to a “User present in a field” by choosing that option in the pull-down menu. In the pull-down to the right of that choose “Send for Approval To.” In the assignment options, check the boxes next to allow delegation of this task and send task assignment notification email. You will also see a section called Action buttons available to task assignee. In the pull-down to the right of that text, select “Approve/ Reject /Send Back to Requester.”
Now that we have configured the assignment options, we need to tell Pulpstream when to send those emails. Click on the Event Actions tab. We are going to create two events and specify the conditions that will trigger the action.
When the request approver takes action and approves the request, Pulpstream should send the approval email template we made earlier, right? This page may or may not have a default event created for you. Click the Add an Event button if it does not. In the Event field, select “Task Completed” from the pull-down menu. The completion action will be “Approved.” Select that from the pull-down menu. The event condition will be “Always.” Select that from the pull-down menu.
The event actions section can be configured to take multiple actions when a condition is detected. Right now, let's create one. From the pull-down menu, select “Send Email.” In the use template” pull-down menu to the right of that choose the “Approval Notice” email template we created earlier. The recipient will be “Record Submitter.”
When you’re done, your first Event should look like this:
Let's add a second event to specify the conditions that would trigger the rejection email notification. Click on the Add an Event button. In the Event pull-down menu, select “Task Completed.” The Completion Action will be “Rejected.” Choose that in the pull-down menu. The Event Condition will be Always. Again, use the pull-down menu to find that option.
The Event Actions are going to be the same as the last one, but will use a different email template. In the Event Actions pull-down menu, choose “Send Email.” In the Use Template pull-down menu, choose the Rejection Notice email template. The recipient will be the Record Submitter.
At this point, your Event Actions tab should look like this:
Save your changes to the User Task. You will be taken back to your Stream Definition canvas. There, you will see the freshly configured Step, which is now displayed with the name we gave it earlier “Review Request.”
Connect it to the Start Process step and the end point step. Hover your mouse over it to reveal an arrow. Hold down your mouse to draw a line to connect the steps.
Save your process. Check in the Stream. Type in some comments that will enable future users to know what you did during this interaction with the work stream. This will be helpful if anything needs to be edited later.
For example: “Added 2 email templates to notify user of expense approval or rejection. Configured Event Actions to trigger email sending.” Check in the stream to save those changes.
Publishing and Testing
You are now ready to publish your work stream and make it available in your Stream Catalog. Go to Your Streams. Click on the Summary tab. Then click the Publish button.
In the Publish Work Version popup, in the Forms field, use the pull-down to select “Request Form.” Title it Request Form. In the description, type in something that will be displayed under the title in the catalog. Eg “Use this form to request approval for expenses.” If you plan to create multiple work streams that can be categorized by a business unit, or line of business, this catalog folder will be useful to you. If so, create one with the name of "Accounting" or whatever name is appropriate for your business. Add a few comments about the stream creation endeavor for the public record to tie a bow on the matter if you like.
Click the Publish button. And that’s it. The first version of your work stream has been published. Go to your home page to see it in action. Click on the "Submit New Form" button to see it in your forms catalog.
You can test your form by clicking on the form you created and taking a walk in the shoes of someone who wants an expense approved.
Thus concludes our visit to this Skill Station. At the next Skill Station, we will learn how to use decisions to send a work stream in different directions.