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10 Tips to Create a More Efficient Approval Process in SharePoint
Approvals in SharePoint, if done correctly, can have a significant impact on the overall productivity of your organization. At the same time, it gives the assurance that the information that you are accessing is of a consistent quality. At Evolvous, it has always been our endeavor to help organizations from diverse backgrounds use the fullest potential of the Microsoft SharePoint platform, by using all its exciting features, including approvals.
That is why we offer completely customized SharePoint services that your team can easily integrate into your existing process.
In this article, we will look at some of the tips and strategies that you can use to make your approval process in SharePoint more efficient. But before we do that, let us rundown through what Approvals in SharePoint means and how it works.
Overview of Approvals in SharePoint
In SharePoint, approval refers to a process of reviewing and granting authorization or permission for certain actions or content within the SharePoint environment. The approval process in SharePoint involves one or more individuals reviewing and evaluating a document, item, or workflow before it can continue to the next stage or become visible to others.
How Does Approval Flow in SharePoint Work?
Initiating the Approval: A user creates or changes a document, item, or workflow and sends it for approval.
Approvers: SharePoint allows you to choose one or multiple individuals or groups as approvers for the specific content or action. They are the ones responsible for reviewing and granting approval.
Approval Requests: SharePoint generates an approval request as soon as a relevant document, item or workflow is created. The approvers are notified via email and from within SharePoint as well.
Review and Decision: Approvers access the document or item, to review it, make the necessary comments, give feedback, or take any required action. The approver can give approval, reject, or request changes to the document.
Workflow Progression: Based on the decision made by the approver, the workflow progresses accordingly. If approved, the document/item may be published, the changes may be implemented, or the workflow can move to the next step. If the request is rejected or changes are asked, the initiator must change the content and resubmit it for further review.
Notification and Tracking: SharePoint sends notifications to relevant parties, such as the initiator, when the approval status changes. The system also keeps an audit trail and tracks approval history, capturing details such as who approved, when the approval was made, and any comments provided.
Tips & Strategies to Make Approval Process in SharePoint More Efficient
Now that we have an idea about the basics of approval in SharePoint, let us now learn about some of the things that you can do to make approval flow in SharePoint more efficient.
Set a Clear and Well-Defined Process – The best way to start will be to set up a clear and well-defined approval process that outlines the steps, roles and responsibilities involved. Make sure all stakeholders understand the process and their roles in it.
Automated Workflows – It is an innovative idea to use SharePoint’s built-in workflow capabilities or third-party workflow tools to automate the approval process. Automating the flow of approval requests, notifications, and decision tracking can save time and reduce manual effort. DID YOU KNOW? Microsoft Power Automate, one of the constituents of the Microsoft Power Platform family, is an automation tool that is highly compatible with SharePoint. You can use Power Automate to automate workflows in SharePoint and automate other operational tasks like data entry, reporting, etc. To learn more about our Power Automate services in Canada, click here.
Conditional Branching: You can configure conditional branching in the approval workflow to route the approval requests to different individuals or groups based on specific criteria. This ensures that the request is always directed to the right approvers, thereby streamlining the process of content approval in SharePoint.
Use Escalation Mechanisms: Timely responses are a challenge in the ‘offline’ world. Getting approvals on time might also be an issue in SharePoint at times. To deal with that, you can set up an escalation mechanism. If an approver does not act within the specified timeframe, the system can automatically notify their supervisor or assign the approval task to someone else. Build More Custom Features with Custom Development: Apart from escalation mechanism, you can also explore the option of building custom features that can help you route approval requests in a more efficient way. Evolvous offers custom SharePoint development that helps you to build custom feature that helps you to get more from SharePoint.
Mobile Access and Notifications: You can also enable mobile access to SharePoint and configure notifications so that approvers can receive and respond to approval requests on the go. This increases responsiveness and speeds up the approval process.
Document and Version Management: It is also important that you implement version control so that only the latest versions are sent for approval. This avoids confusion and delays caused by outdate documents.
Parallel Approvals: In situations where multiple approvers are involved, it is a smart idea to use parallel approvals. This allows for different approvers to review the content simultaneously, rather than waiting for one approval to be completed before moving to the next. This can significantly reduce the overall approval time.
Integration with email: Configure SharePoint to integrate with email systems, enabling approvers to review and respond to approval requests directly from their email client. This makes approval process in SharePoint more efficient and quicker as approvers can take action directly from the mail account.
Reporting and Analytics: Utilize SharePoint’s reporting and analytics capabilities to identify bottlenecks in approval flow in SharePoint. You can take a closer look to data such as approval times, rejections, or process delays. This would help you to improve and optimize the process.
Continuous Improvement: Make sure that you regularly review and evaluate the approval process to identify areas for improvement. You can seek feedback from the users, approvers and other stakeholders and implement necessary changes to enhance efficiency and user experience.
These tips and strategies will surely enhance the approval process in SharePoint. If you want to discover ways to enhance performance in your specific case, contact Evolvous and discuss your SharePoint project with our team today.