View Poll Results: Is the workflows module adequate for your needs?

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  • Yes, for all my needs

    1 14.29%
  • Yes, for some of my needs

    1 14.29%
  • No, it is not

    5 71.43%
  • I don't use it

    0 0%
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  • 2 Post By rbmhbiz

Thread: Building a better Workflows module

  1. #1
    rbmhbiz is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Building a better Workflows module

    In addition to something that has came up in the 'Building a better campaigns module'-thread i've got the idea to start a thread for the workflows module.

    The workflows module is a module that is one of the most powerfull modules in SugarCRM since it can let you automate a lot of actions/checks and notifications. I think this is an essential part of sales and marketing automation, which is highly advertised, and the correct use of this module can make a lot off difference for your company in efficiency, structure and customer satisfaction. With the help of this module the only limit are (should be) your ideas. It being the automated planning of calls, the automated notifications to clients for a meeting, a birthday reminder, etc. You name it, this module should let you do it.

    However the possibilities for this module, I have run into many problems using it. Often resulting in comments that i should program a logic hook to get what i want. Offcourse you could do that, but this module is there in the first place to make sure you don't have to! So what are some of the problems I am running in to?

    (1) You can not use the opt-out and invalid fields for email addresses in a workflow
    - So you can not make workflows to alert users when either situation occurs.

    (2) Like problem #1, I frequently run into fields (or even complete modules) that I can not use in the workflows module, and also in the alert templates as well.
    - In the case of the complete modules that can not be reached it could be so that you need to make a relationship between the modules first. But this also sometimes can not be done.

    A BIG problem I have is that you can not use the Users module in Meeting/Call templates. Luckily you can use the 'assigned to user'-fields with a workaround. But the 'created by user' and 'modified by user' fields can not be used. For a workflow I need to use the name + function + office/mobile phone numbers of the user who created the record. For this problem there is a bug created, #54919

    (3) I've ran into major problems using the time-based modules
    - I also received comments that these just don't work properly and you have to build logic hooks.

    (4) You can not use OR statements in the workflows
    - Which makes sure that you have to make a new workflow for each OR conditions > which for example in my case is 20 workflows instead of 1. In this topic someone also suggest to have the AND, OR, IF, THEN statements as an option. There are actually multiple topics about this issue. #3

    (5) You can not mass update -/-reports-/- >> i meant workflows
    - So you can not activate or de-activate them all at once.

    (6) The filtering in alerts and actions is very limited in functionality.
    - Which also makes sure that you have to create a new workflow for each filter.

    (7) You can not mark workflows as favorite, like you can everywhere else in SugarCRM

    (8) You can not create alerts messages where you can insert a variable
    - F.e.: name, for either contact/lead/target, whichever is valid. Like you can do in the campaigns module > in the editor when creating an emailer. This will also save you from making duplicate alert messages + workflows. In this case you have to make 3 workflows and 3 alert messages, while with this feature you only have to make 1 of both.

    (9) A very nice feature would also be to add some off the most common used workflows as standard workflows in SugarCRM.
    - For input see this thread. Very nice offcourse would be some workflows based on the Campaigns module, especially massmailing campaigns.

    (10) Option to archive e-mails that we're sent through a triggered workflow
    - Now when you have triggered an alert email, this email is not archived anywhere in the system.

    (11) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to add invitees.
    - When creating a call for a contact you can select invitees and it works fine, when creating a call for a lead you can not do this.

    (12) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to set the related module field.
    - This way you can make sure that the call is not only connected to the contact/lead but also keep the hierarchy intact and connect the call to the account.

    (13) Copy values between modules via workflow
    So you can create workflows that take the variable of a field in the source module, and use that variable in a created action (or alert for that matter). Lets say:
    If followup_reminder_c = x, create a call with time = x. where x is a variable, f.e.: 1 week / 2 weeks / 3 weeks / 1 month / 2 months / etcetera.

    This means that the created call should have a variable which is NOT a fixed value. Now you have to create a workflow for the 1 week variable, another one for the 2 weeks variable, etc. etc.

    See bug 34662 for more information

    (14) The ability to compare two fields as a condition.
    F.e.: assigned user EQUALS/ DOES NOT EQUAL user who created the record.
    Explanation:
    With this condition you can easily create a workflow that is fired only when the 'assigned to user' and 'created by user' match/do not match. I've ran into this problem while creating meeting confirmations:
    - When I send a custom template 'meeting confirmation' to the customer, and the meeting itself is created in SugarCRM by the same user as the assigned user -> I want the alert to have the signature signed by this user.

    -However when the meeting is created by a user that is NOT the assigned user, I want the alert to be signed by the user who created the meeting. But inside the message I want the name and phone number of the assigned user.

    So I have two different messages with two different workflows, the easiest way to check which one of the two workflows have to be fired is to use this function. Because without it you will have to make a workflow for every combination of 'assigned to user' and 'created by user'.

    (15) a suggestion for the Workflows module user interface; Conditions screen
    Why not make the user interface of the Conditions screen look like the Reports module; Define filters screen. But add an extra column for the type of condition. As follows:

    1. So you first select the field (instead of the type of condition)
    Name:  Knipsel.PNG
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    2. In an added column you select the type of condition
    Name:  Knipsel.PNG
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Size:  12.5 KB

    3. And in the last column you select the value of the field and the multiplier (for lack of a better word, before/after/is/is not/ etc.)
    Name:  Knipsel.PNG
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    + This would have the huge benefit that you can use all of the fields that are related to a certain module, plus you can easily find those fields. This is not possible at the moment.
    + Also the interface would be much more user friendly this way imho.


    (16) Use business hours in workflows
    After reading this topic another nice request shows up. Using business hours in workflows so you can make tasks created in the weekend a higher priority than others. Another thing you could do with the use of business hours is to schedule a call in the future, but only during business hours. So when a workflow automatically plans a call after 30 days, and this is on a sunday, the call gets planned scheduled for the friday before/ the monday after.

    (17) Partial matches in text fields
    In this topic another good request for "includes" & "does not include" on the matching statements for text fields in workflows.

    (18) Workflow logging
    This topic has a nice improvement as well. Having a workflow log, separate from the CRM log, would be very helpfull. So you can track all actions of the workflows module in a separate file.

    (19) Attachments in Alert email template
    Nice addition in this topic about the ability to add attachments to an alert email template.

    Offcourse it is not all bad with this module, but it could be a lot better. I was wondering if more people have problems using this module? If so, please state your problems, or solutions offcourse, in a comment below.

    If you want to tell us what kind of great workflows you've created? Look at this topic
    Last edited by rbmhbiz; 2012-10-24 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Addition
    blak3r and kirstyobrien like this.

  2. #2
    eggsurplus's Avatar
    eggsurplus is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    If the workflow module isn't meeting your needs have you looked into these 3 powerful workflow modules?
    Process Manager Pro: PM Pro - SierraCRM
    Process Manager Pro SP: PM Pro SP - SierraCRM
    Process Maker: Open Source Workflow Software & Business Process Management BPM

    Not sure if they fill the gaps/issues you have but they are the popular alternatives with Process Manager Pro being the most popular.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Using CE and have 2 or more users? You need SecuritySuite - Teams

  3. #3
    rbmhbiz is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Quote Originally Posted by eggsurplus View Post
    If the workflow module isn't meeting your needs have you looked into these 3 powerful workflow modules?
    Process Manager Pro: PM Pro - SierraCRM
    Process Manager Pro SP: PM Pro SP - SierraCRM
    Process Maker: Open Source Workflow Software & Business Process Management BPM

    Not sure if they fill the gaps/issues you have but they are the popular alternatives with Process Manager Pro being the most popular.
    Those are worth investigating I think. However I do think the SugarCRM workflows module should receive a thorough review and probably some significant updates. Marketing and Sales automation are highly advertised, the workflows are (or should be) an important factor in the automation part...
    Last edited by rbmhbiz; 2012-06-21 at 08:42 AM.

  4. #4
    bconvis is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Hi rbmhbiz,

    I wanted to thank Jason for the kind comments and links back to our workflow module Process Manager. Also - I have comments on your 12 suggestions:

    (1) You can not use the opt-out and invalid fields for email addresses in a workflow
    - So you can not make workflows to alert users when either situation occurs.

    Are you suggesting that there should be a notification to the owner of a contact/lead when the contact/lead has been updated and email opt out is set?

    (2) Like problem #1, I frequently run into fields (or even complete modules) that I can not use in the workflows module, and also in the alert templates as well.
    - In the case of the complete modules that can not be reached it could be so that you need to make a relationship between the modules first. But this also sometimes can not be done.

    In Process Manager we can support all modules, as long as the module is related to the Activities via Studio. For example, if you create a custom module such as a Books Module - you will need to relate this module to the Activities module. This will now allow Process Manager to schedule Calls, Create Tasks or Schedule Meetings for this module.

    (3) I've ran into major problems using the time-based modules
    - I also received comments that these just don't work properly and you have to build logic hooks.

    This is the core feature of Process Manager - time based workflow. You can setup a process on the create or modification of an object. This process trigger is related to what we call Process Stages. A process can have one or many process stages and each stage is nothing more than the delay for when the action is supposed to happen. Stages are related to Process task in a One to Many relationship.

    (4) You can not use OR statements in the workflows
    - Which makes sure that you have to make a new workflow for each OR conditions > which for example in my case is 20 reports instead of 1.

    In Process Manager - the product allows the end user to set up to five filter fields that can and'd or or'd.

    (5) You can not mass update reports
    - So you can not activate or de-activate them all at once.

    Process Manager has no features for Reporting.

    (6) The filtering in alerts and actions is very limited in functionality.
    - Which also makes sure that you have to create a new workflow for each filter.

    Up to five filters can be set for each process. Also, our filter operators are quite extensive for the fields being evaluated. We include, equal, not equal, less than, greater than, any change, any value, is null and date field checks such as is date field due today or in the future or in the past.

    (7) You can not mark workflows as favorite, like you can everywhere else in SugarCRM

    Not available in PM

    (8) You can not create alerts messages where you can insert a variable
    - F.e.: name, for either contact/lead/target, whichever is valid. Like you can do in the campaigns module > in the editor when creating an emailer. This will also save you from making duplicate alert messages + workflows. In this case you have to make 3 workflows and 3 alert messages, while with this feature you only have to make 1 of both.

    PM uses the OOB email templates in Sugar to send emails. We support any field from the object that triggered the process using the standard $object_fieldname criteria.

    (9) A very nice feature would also be to add some off the most common used workflows as standard workflows in SugarCRM.
    - For input see this thread.

    PM includes 1- pre-defined templates/workflows. I will have to take a look at your other thread to see what your suggesting.

    (10) Option to archive e-mails that we're sent through a triggered workflow
    - Now when you have triggered an alert email, this email is not archived anywhere in the system.

    PM always archives the email sent to the object that triggered the process.

    (11) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to add invitees.
    - When creating a call for a contact you can select invitees and it works fine, when creating a call for a lead you can not do this.

    This is a feature request for PM

    (12) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to set the related module field.
    - This way you can make sure that the call is not only connected to the contact/lead but also keep the hierarchy intact and connect the call to the account.

    Also - this is a feature request

    Hope this helps in understanding the differences between SugarCRM OOB workflow and Process Manager.

    Bill Convis
    SierraCRM
    SierraCRM | Taking Sugar Higher

  5. #5
    ganardineroenc Guest

    Talking Re: Building a better Workflows module

    This will also save you from making duplicate alert messages + workflows. In this case you have to make 3 workflows and 3 alert messages, while with this feature you only have to make 1 of both.

  6. #6
    rbmhbiz is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Quote Originally Posted by bconvis View Post
    Hi rbmhbiz,

    I wanted to thank Jason for the kind comments and links back to our workflow module Process Manager. Also - I have comments on your 12 suggestions:

    (1) You can not use the opt-out and invalid fields for email addresses in a workflow
    - So you can not make workflows to alert users when either situation occurs.

    Are you suggesting that there should be a notification to the owner of a contact/lead when the contact/lead has been updated and email opt out is set?

    (5) You can not mass update reports
    - So you can not activate or de-activate them all at once.

    Process Manager has no features for Reporting.

    (9) A very nice feature would also be to add some off the most common used workflows as standard workflows in SugarCRM.
    - For input see this thread.

    PM includes 1- pre-defined templates/workflows. I will have to take a look at your other thread to see what your suggesting.

    (10) Option to archive e-mails that we're sent through a triggered workflow
    - Now when you have triggered an alert email, this email is not archived anywhere in the system.

    PM always archives the email sent to the object that triggered the process.

    (12) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to set the related module field.
    - This way you can make sure that the call is not only connected to the contact/lead but also keep the hierarchy intact and connect the call to the account.

    Also - this is a feature request

    Hope this helps in understanding the differences between SugarCRM OOB workflow and Process Manager.

    Bill Convis
    SierraCRM
    SierraCRM | Taking Sugar Higher
    Hi Bill,

    thanks for your reply. It does seem that I should definitely take a look at your module! In answer to some of your questions:

    (1) Yes I do mean that. But also the fields should be accessible for more than just send the related user an alert. F.e.: you could also use this field to send the customer a goodbye message.
    (5) I did not mean the reports module, I meant the workflows module. So you can activate or de-activate more than 1 workflow at a time. My mistake.
    (9) The other thread has some of my ideas. But the purpose of the thread is to have more people telling what workflows they created so you could eventually filter out some common used workflows (or get some ideas to create them yourself).
    (10) So if I create a workflow where an email is sent to the customer because of a trigger initiated by a custom field in f.e. meetings, the email will be archived at the customer?
    (12) This would be something I could definitely use.

    Thanks again for your elaborate reply. When I have some more time on my hands this summer, I will defnitely take a good look at your module!

  7. #7
    rbmhbiz is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Added the extra feature to the startpost, #14. Can't delete the images....
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by rbmhbiz; 2012-07-24 at 09:49 AM.

  8. #8
    rbmhbiz is offline Sugar Community Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Function:
    The ability to compare two fields as a condition.
    Short example:
    F.e.: assigned user EQUALS/ DOES NOT EQUAL user who created the record.
    Explanation:
    With this condition you can easily create a workflow that is fired only when the 'assigned to user' and 'created by user' match/do not match. I've ran into this problem while creating meeting confirmations:
    - When I send a custom template 'meeting confirmation' to the customer, and the meeting itself is created in SugarCRM by the same user as the assigned user -> I want the alert to have the signature signed by this user.

    -However when the meeting is created by a user that is NOT the assigned user, I want the alert to be signed by the user who created the meeting. But inside the message I want the name and phone number of the assigned user.

    So I have two different messages with two different workflows, the easiest way to check which one of the two workflows have to be fired is to use this function. Because without it you will have to make a workflow for every combination of 'assigned to user' and 'created by user'.
    Last edited by rbmhbiz; 2012-08-03 at 07:11 AM.

  9. #9
    Saad.azad is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Hi All

    1. I faced a similar issue: While creating a Case escalation for status not changed after time lapse, I wanted to add that this does not apply to cases with Status 'Closed', 'Duplicate', 'Deferred', etc. I had to manually add each condition of Status Not Equal to instead of "Is Not one of". {I found that you can use Status one of..if I remove all conditions...so there is a work around}

    2. Also bigger problem is when condition was only for Cases assigned to 3 Support teams. There is No way to do that as only option available is Team Id Equals to. If I wud add multiple teams then each case will only have one Team and Workflow would not work. Q. What is difference Team equals to and Team Id equals to?y?

    3. There was also no option to add condition if the Primary Team of the Target Module Is ____ {Team(s)} or Assigned User's belongs to (Team), even from Related Module option

    4. How wud this condition option help when I am doing After Lime Lapse workflow : "When the target module changes and a field in a related module contains a specified value". Even if i select it, the entire chain of questions/option does not fit in any logic. Can someone explain "Filter by Any Module" and "Filter by All Module" and its difference? If I select Team in Specify Related Module then Primary Team Name Equals to : (free text??). Why not Select Team? Or does it mean Team Name Contains???

    Regards
    Saad

  10. #10
    lisajhaight Guest

    Default Re: Building a better Workflows module

    Quote Originally Posted by bconvis View Post
    Hi rbmhbiz,

    I wanted to thank Jason for the kind comments and links back to our workflow module Process Manager. Also - I have comments on your 12 suggestions:

    (1) You can not use the opt-out and invalid fields for email addresses in a workflow
    - So you can not make workflows to alert users when either situation occurs.

    Are you suggesting that there should be a notification to the owner of a contact/lead when the contact/lead has been updated and email opt out is set?

    (2) Like problem #1, I frequently run into fields (or even complete modules) that I can not use in the workflows module, and also in the alert templates as well.
    - In the case of the complete modules that can not be reached it could be so that you need to make a relationship between the modules first. But this also sometimes can not be done.

    In Process Manager we can support all modules, as long as the module is related to the Activities via Studio. For example, if you create a custom module such as a Books Module - you will need to relate this module to the Activities module. This will now allow Process Manager to schedule Calls, Create Tasks or Schedule Meetings for this module.

    (3) I've ran into major problems using the time-based modules
    - I also received comments that these just don't work properly and you have to build logic hooks.

    This is the core feature of Process Manager - time based workflow. You can setup a process on the create or modification of an object. This process trigger is related to what we call Process Stages. A process can have one or many process stages and each stage is nothing more than the delay for when the action is supposed to happen. Stages are related to Process task in a One to Many relationship.

    (4) You can not use OR statements in the workflows
    - Which makes sure that you have to make a new workflow for each OR conditions > which for example in my case is 20 reports instead of 1.

    In Process Manager - the product allows the end user to set up to five filter fields that can and'd or or'd.

    (5) You can not mass update reports
    - So you can not activate or de-activate them all at once.

    Process Manager has no features for Reporting.

    (6) The filtering in alerts and actions is very limited in functionality.
    - Which also makes sure that you have to create a new workflow for each filter.

    Up to five filters can be set for each process. Also, our filter operators are quite extensive for the fields being evaluated. We include, equal, not equal, less than, greater than, any change, any value, is null and date field checks such as is date field due today or in the future or in the past.

    (7) You can not mark workflows as favorite, like you can everywhere else in SugarCRM

    Not available in PM

    (8) You can not create alerts messages where you can insert a variable
    - F.e.: name, for either contact/lead/target, whichever is valid. Like you can do in the campaigns module > in the editor when creating an emailer. This will also save you from making duplicate alert messages + workflows. In this case you have to make 3 workflows and 3 alert messages, while with this feature you only have to make 1 of both.

    PM uses the OOB email templates in Sugar to send emails. We support any field from the object that triggered the process using the standard $object_fieldname criteria.

    (9) A very nice feature would also be to add some off the most common used workflows as standard workflows in SugarCRM.
    - For input see this thread.

    PM includes 1- pre-defined templates/workflows. I will have to take a look at your other thread to see what your suggesting.

    (10) Option to archive e-mails that we're sent through a triggered workflow
    - Now when you have triggered an alert email, this email is not archived anywhere in the system.

    PM always archives the email sent to the object that triggered the process.

    (11) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to add invitees.
    - When creating a call for a contact you can select invitees and it works fine, when creating a call for a lead you can not do this.

    This is a feature request for PM

    (12) When creating a Call/Meeting as an alert message you should always able to set the related module field.
    - This way you can make sure that the call is not only connected to the contact/lead but also keep the hierarchy intact and connect the call to the account.

    Also - this is a feature request

    Hope this helps in understanding the differences between SugarCRM OOB workflow and Process Manager.

    Bill Convis
    SierraCRM
    SierraCRM | Taking Sugar Higher
    Thaks a lot! This method of online incorporation in business will help in work flow and will help us from creating duplicate message alerts. Thanks again!

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