1. Alerts and Approvals overview

 This article is suitable for a Library Administrator

Ref: 201005021036PEV
Last Edited: 23rd July 2012
Applies to: Triaster Server 11.2 and onwards
 
To see a list of Animated demonstrations including approvals click HERE

Introduction - What are Alerts and Approvals?

Alerts

Up until now the only way that a user would know if there was a new process in the library, was to be told verbally or for a library administrator to email them directly. This leaves organisations with a real problem how do you ensure everybody is kept up to date?
With the new alerts tool, process maps can have new attributes put against them to denote if a process is relevant to a single, multiple departments/functions or an entire organisation. When these maps are published, the Triaster software will instigate an e-mail alert to users in the relevant groups describing the change (as specified by the author) and a link to the map concerned. This reduces the risk of human error in the communication cycle.

Approvals

Process mapping has always been a manual task and ensuring the correct content is in place takes a great deal of governance, with a Library Administrator or Business Analyst chasing process owners for approvals. Within the Triaster software, there have always been reports that can be run to see unapproved maps, but no way of notifying approvers automatically. All this has now changed. This article will describe how the approvals cycle works and the optional reminders too, making your process library a leaner and more agile tool.

New requirements

Triaster Server setup

The alerts and approvals tool requires a completely new installation. This can be on a new server or on the same server as the existing library. The installation process is complicated and is performed by a Triaster Engineer. The minimum system requirements document has been updated with any changes that are needed, but the most important is that Triaster software can communicate with your e-mail server. If you currently have Browser toolkit 10.1 or above, this should already be in place.

Client setup

There are no changes required for end users viewing the library over and above those set by needing Silverlight installed which was a requirement of the previous versions.

Authoring machines

There are some changes to the Triaster Software and therefore each machine will need to be upgraded to the latest version. There are also a number of changes required to the properties file. We recommend you book some professional services time to help you with this transition, as whilst the changes we are making from an end user perspective do not seem that significant, if all of the configuration files that are needed are not set up correctly, alert or approvals may not work as required.

How does it work?

Alerts

There are different types of people who are alerted to changes in maps. Alerts are triggered by:
  • A map requires approval
  • An approval is overdue
  • A map has passed a review date
  • A process is new or has been changed and has been approved.
Mappers should complete all process development work in the Sandpit. Once the map is ready for approval, it should then be published into the prelive site. Any map published in the prelive site that does not have an approval status of ‘approved’ will trigger an approval required e-mail to an approver. The e-mail will contain a URL to the map so the approver can efficiently review it. (This is detailed in the approvals section of this document.) If an approval is not given in the required time frame (currently set to seven days) an approval reminder e-mail is sent out.

Maps can be set to have a review date. When a review date is reached, an e-mail will be sent out to the approver to review the map. 

The alerts for process maps are controlled by a number of new properties, these are:
  • Date of change
  • Change description– this free text field is used to give a basic description of the change made to the maps (it must be completed on every sheet that has changed). This text is used when the e-mail alert is sent out
  • Change Author – used for notifications to Authors when a rework is required.
  • Business Function – Process maps are grouped into categories (such as IT, Finance, all, etc.) and in the Library, a distribution e-mail address associated with them. These are exclusively used for sending the change notifications to users
  • Frequency (days) of approval overdue alerts – if an approval is not given, on a map-by-map basis the author can set a reminder period. By default this is set to every 7 days
  • Frequency(days) revision due alerts – much the same as approvals, this field controls the review date field.  By default this is set to every 7 days

Approvals

Once all development work has been completed in the Sandpit, the maps are moved into the prelive site for review and approval. Over and above the fields required for the Alerts, the following fields must be completed:
  • Approval status – Only maps which do not have the status of approved will appear in the approvals dialogue of the library
  • Content approver – This assigns the map to the correct queue for review and approval
  • Author – In the library there are a list of Authors e-mail addresses, which are used for notifications if a map requires rework.

On most systems an automatic overnight Prelive publish is run. When an approver opens their e-mail in the morning, there will be an e-mail with a list of maps waiting to be approved and their status. The Triaster server can be configured to require multiple levels of approval, (such as content, compliance etc.) but by default, only one approver is required. Maps cannot be approved by e-mail. The approver will be given a link in the e-mail to the library where they can review their list. The map name is given in the first column. By clicking on the map name, the map will open in a new window for review. If the maps meet the required standard, it can be approved by checking the tick box. Multiple maps can be approved simultaneously. Where a map fails to meet the expected standard, a request for rework can be selected and a short description of the change required can be added. The approver will then be shown a confirmation screen as a final check. When the maps are approved or a request for rework made the author will be notified automatically by e-mail of the required actions. Before finally confirming the list, there is also an option to send a confirmation e-mail to the approver – this is the same e-mail the author receives.

Types of Approver

There are a number of system user types:

  • Approver – This is the default approver type. Only maps allocated to this user will appear in their approval list
  • Super User – These users can approve maps in the queue of other approvers
  • Admin User – Can change a user’s status (i.e. make them a Super User) add new users or delete users.

Configurable options

The Triaster Server can also be configured to do the following:

  • Block a Live publication if all maps in prelive are not set to approved
  • Auto increment the version on Approval of a map
  • Auto increment the revision on approval of a map
  • Auto archive Visio process maps on Live publish
  • Auto archive HTML process maps on Live publish
  • Keep a revision history on each map (which can be viewed from the library)
For a summary of configurable options, click HERE
 
 

Need further help? Contact the Triaster Support team by e-mailing support@triaster.co.uk or by calling us on + 44 (0)870 402 1234.
 
Do you have any feedback or suggestions that you would like to share with Triaster? We would love to hear from you! Please e-mail feedback@triaster.co.uk