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OutSystems Workflow Builder: A powerful tool to create workflow apps

workflow builder

Are you looking for a solution that works out for your employees’ real-time problems? Are your IT personnel overburdened with large amounts of requests? Are you looking for a standard way to collect requests from your team?

Well, you’re in luck because the emerging low-code platform has a rapid solution with its Workflow Builder which is an amazing tool. Workflow Builder can reduce your increasing backlog load and provide your cross-functional teams with tools to easily build their Workflow Apps.

The best part about Workflow Builder: anyone, including enthusiasts with no prior application building experience, can build the first version of a workflow app in a small amount of time.

What is a Workflow Builder?

The Workflow Builder provides a visual tool to build internal productivity apps to automate routine functions by creating workflows. Workflow Builder is a low-code tool for the business process technology available inside the OutSystems platform for creating, displaying and processing workflow definitions & streamline routine processes. It creates a scope for cross-functional teams to work together within the same common platform, from process design to app development to deployment. The tool enables the incorporation teams to build workflow apps and effectively overcome their productivity challenges.

Why do you need a workflow builder?

To help you understand the immediate need of a workflow builder, let’s review the following statistics:

  • By 2024, Forrester reports that the US economy will suffer a deficit of 500,000 developers.
  • There are long backlogs in the IT department and the organization is unable to deliver IT services according to business expectations with less complex/internal apps being prioritized over more business-critical apps.
  • There are few business experts who are capable of becoming low-code developers and delivering apps following IT processes. 

See where we are going with this?

To effectively solve your IT backlogs, adopt a scalable, agile and flexible enterprise system, pace ahead of the competition, and accomplish your digital transformation goals, low-code tools like workflow builder can prove to be instrumental. 

Is the workflow builder tool suitable for my organization?

If your organization executes daily processes manually or through conventional channels like emails, or if your cross-functional teams need a simpler, fast or convenient method to manage those processes, then definitely yes, workflow builder is the right tool for your organization. 

Potential workflow builder offers to create, test and publish the workflow apps to fit specific workflow needs.

Nowadays, IT teams are engulfed with a lot of requests & processes, companies are moving to online digitization over head-on interactions, and seeking IT to develop an app that sometimes takes too long or does not suit budget, priorities and manpower.

OutSystems provides a rapid tool for the IT managers who can easily register, set up the Workflow Builder and leverage their teams. For instance, the business experts can have privileges (privileges to access workflow builder as defined by the IT team) to build apps that are suitable for their organization’s needs. Different organizations have their identical processes and way to manage henceforth that needs tensible solutions. Using Workflow Builder anyone from process owners to developers can design, build, monitor internal productivity apps like expenses approval, employee onboarding, employee performance, vacation approval, timesheet management, and different kinds of case management apps.

Pre-Built Templates collections  to  accelerate the creation of your workflow app

Workflow Builder consists of several templates that enable you to cater the workflow apps at a higher pace. The templates include form fields and workflow logic that suits a type of workflow app, like data collecting or issue reporting. You can also build your workflow app with the blank canvas. The Project Request, Approval Request, Issue Report workflow app templates are available within the tool.

How can I configure & set up Workflow Builder?

Workflow Builder is a tool governed by IT teams. IT managers encompass full control of the administration of IT assets & firmly manage the complete application lifecycle; they will register in the workflow builder with their development environment; will set up the governance model and end-user management, then grant access to the people who design and own processes, so they can build workflow apps to fulfil their specific needs. Cross-functional teams work together within the same common platform, from process design to app development to deployment.  

Building Automated Approval Process using Workflow Builder

In today’s working procedures, there are a multitude of approval processes that can be digitized according to specific user & business needs.  

Custom Request Form

Users will get started with creating custom forms for requesters to enter the desired information and trigger the start of the workflow app. Let’s start with an example of the expense approval app that is created & published through it. This app took approx 2-3 hrs to be developed & published from scratch with the simplest logic

OutSystems Workflow Builder

 workflow app

With the rich set of capabilities, not only does Workflow Builder expedite the development of a workflow app, but it also lays the groundwork of a scalable, performant application that can be extended and customized like any other application that you’ve developed from scratch. It is possible through its rich framework that allows extending the business process technology, by providing actions and entities that let you add the following capabilities to your case management apps, such:

  • Keep tracking of process transactions while the entire lifecycle of a case
  • Trigger email notifications for specific events
  • Enable to define different types of rules to be used in case and process decisions
  • Managing delegation activities
  • Provide configuration facility for specific SLA for processes and activities
  • Associate events to a specific case
  • Allow managing access control
  • Allow performing operations (takeover, pick up, release, block, unblock and add comments) to activities

Why should you opt for this?

Being a seamless business process technology, it helps to transform the ideas into workflow apps through the easy to use inbuilt wizard; that abstracts the development process. The accompanying pointers explain why it ought to be your first choice. 

  • Lighten up the increasing IT backlog of internal business application requests
  • Provide collaborative approach for app development
  • Build and publish internal productivity apps within a small amount of time without writing a single line of code
  • Auto-generates professionally-created, compatible and intuitive user experiences
  • Deliver simple-to-complex workflow applications in minutes
  • Business experts and developers can further expand the workflow builder-generated apps in Service Studio

Converting a Workflow App to Service Studio

If you want to enhance your workflow app by adding features unavailable in workflow builder, you can convert the app to the Service Studio app. The option such as “convert to edit in Service Studio” helps to make the application compatible to edit in Service Studio. Developers can add more functionalities to enhance the workflow app capabilities through this. Please remember, once you convert your app to Service Studio, you can no longer use workflow builder to edit it.

Conclusion

Creating low-code reactive web apps with the workflow builder makes the workflow related application creation process efficient, intuitive, faster, and more collaborative. As it is not only limited to the workflow apps feature, if you want to add more functionalities to the app, you can convert it for Service Studio and do further customization. With this feature, more than half of the application development work can be done with exponential speed and robustness. In short, the workflow builder feature is too facile to use from developers to business experts. Potentially, it promotes collaboration within modern and cross-functional teams while ensuring IT remains in full control.

Lalit
Lalit Nama
Senior Business Analyst
Lalit Nama is technology agnostic having worked on many technologies, programming languages and tools, assisting clients worldwide. With his passion to learn the latest technologies, he got into OutSystems and fell in love with it. Currently, he leads the OutSystems practice as Practice Lead and Solution Architect at Ranosys where he helps enterprises to utilize the full potential of the OutSystems platform in solving their business problems.
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