Microsoft SharePoint offers various pre-programmed mini-applications that simplify and automate different business processes within a corporation. These mini-applications are commonly referred to as workflows and are meant to cut down the amount of time and effort you put to achieve your daily business goals.

There are many SharePoint online benefits you can enjoy when you learn how to effectively implement this software in your company. Fortunately, you can offer your team numerous Microsoft SharePoint training courses for effective implementation. This training will help you and your team to understand the most important aspects of SharePoint, including workflows.

Because you’ll need to make changes to documents on your SharePoint site and prevent other people from editing them, you need to understand how checkout in SharePoint works. You can learn this too through SharePoint training. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about workflow in SharePoint.

What Is a SharePoint Workflow?

A Microsoft SharePoint workflow is an automated flowchart designed to remove most of the labor, randomness, and conjecture from your regular work processes. A flowchart is a graphical chart of important business processes, with instructions about everything that should happen at every step of the process.

Therefore, a SharePoint workflow outlines all these steps so that all your team members can understand and adhere to your standard work processes. For instance, a simple document approval process can be quite cumbersome when you do it manually because you have to check up and keep track of everything that’s happening along the way. You also have to forward the document and send reminders manually.

But with SharePoint workflow, all the interruptions and errors are eliminated because the repetitive tasks are automated, allowing you to get notifications when a member of your team is late in completing their task or if there’s an important issue that needs your attention. This reduces monitoring work–but you have to choose the right type of workflow. There are several types of SharePoint workflow you can choose, depending on your business needs.

So, the first step is to understand the different types of SharePoint workflows available and how each works. This way, you can easily choose the one that suits your workflow needs. Here are the main types of SharePoint workflows:

File Approval Workflow

The approval workflow is the most common type of workflow in Microsoft SharePoint because it helps you to start approval processes easily whenever documents are uploaded into SharePoint. For example, when a member of your sales team wants to send a proposal to a client and the proposal has to go through the approval process, it can take a lot of time to get the approval because the document has to be sent to several approving authorities, including the sales team and the sales manager. But with a SharePoint approval workflow, you don’t have to track the progress of the proposal manually because it automates every step of the process.

Status Workflow

This type of workflow automates the status of each document as it’s uploaded into SharePoint. Then it changes the status automatically, depending on the set conditions and what happens to the document. For instance, when a sales representative prepares a sales proposal and uploads it into SharePoint for the sales team to see, the status workflow will automatically tag the document as ‘draft.’

Once the team reviews the proposal, the workflow will change the status to “reviewed”, allowing the sales manager to review it. When the sales manager completes the document, its status is automatically changed to ‘read.’ Then the sales director will either approve it or decline it. If it’s approved, its status will change to ‘approved.’ And if it has been declined, it will be tagged ‘decline.’

Notification Workflow

This workflow sends your team members notifications whenever a decision has been made within the SharePoint environment. This notification prompts the assigned members to take the necessary action. For instance, when your sales manager uploads a monthly sales report into SharePoint, the notification workflow automatically sends a notification to the sales director informing them that the monthly sales report has been submitted.

Automation Workflow

This workflow enables you to automate certain functions within your SharePoint network. The workflow usually piggybacks off other SharePoint workflows discussed above. For example, instead of moving the draft sales proposal to the ‘Statement of Work’ folder manually, this workflow will do it automatically.

Custom Workflow

This workflow allows you to customize your SharePoint environment by creating your mini-program within the environment. For instance, you can find a way to combine the five workflows so that they can work simultaneously.  

All five SharePoint workflows are meant to improve your SharePoint experience and the overall productivity of your team.

About The Author

Microsoft Certified Trainer and Consultant specializing in Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Office Development, and Crystal Reports. In Glenn's career as an independent consultant, he provided network design, implementation and administration, database development, support services and training for several firms in the greater Philadelphia area.

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