By ProServeIT on March 09, 2023

5 Types of SharePoint Workflows: Make Your Life Easier with Automation

Have you heard of SharePoint Workflows before but are not quite sure what they are or what they can do for you? Simply put, by automating manual workflow tasks, SharePoint Workflows make your life easier, save time, and increase efficiency.

Read along to learn what SharePoint workflows are and the types of SharePoint workflows you might want to implement in your organization. We will also go into a bit more detail about how you can customize workflows for SharePoint to make them perfectly suited to your needs.

In this blog, you will find: 

What are SharePoint Workflows? 🗄️

5 commonly used SharePoint Workflows 🖐️

1. Approval workflows ✔️ 

2. Status Workflows  🏁

3. Notification Workflows 📱

4. Automation Workflows 🚅

5. Custom Workflows "Catch-it-all." 🗑️

SharePoint organization possibilities

What are SharePoint Workflows?

Think of SharePoint workflows as little mini-programs that run within your SharePoint environment to automate business processes. Ranging project tasks from collecting signatures to tracking statuses, workflows are designed to save you both time and effort while also bringing consistency and efficiency to tasks that your organization performs on a regular basis.

There are a number of different types of workflows, as we'll discuss in the next section of this blog. Still, ultimately, you can think of workflows as the chain of events business processes that happen after you do something with a file or document that lives in your SharePoint environment.

5 Commonly Used SharePoint Workflows

Five commonly used Workflows can be set up within SharePoint: Approval Workflows, Status Workflows, Notification Workflows, Automation Workflows, and Custom Workflows.

1. Approval Workflows

This is the most common type of workflow management within SharePoint. It allows you to start an approval chain the moment a document is uploaded into SharePoint.

How You Can Use It:

Let's say your sales team sends out a proposal to their clients, but before they do, that the proposal needs to go through an approval process. For example, the sales associate prepares the proposal, then sends it to the project team (who will be doing the work) to approve, then it gets sent to their sales manager to approve. From there, it's sent to the director to review and finally approve the document. Rather than having to keep track of all of this manually, Approval Workflows would be able to automate this approval chain all without leaving SharePoint.

Document uploaded to SharePoint

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2. Status Workflows

Status Workflows allow you to automate the status of documents as they're uploaded to SharePoint, and, based on the conditions set in the list workflow, automatically changes the document libraries' status based on what happens to that document.

How You Can Use It:

Using the sales team example above, let's say the sales associate who's prepared the Statement of Work uploads the document to SharePoint. A Status Workflow would automatically tag that document as a “draft.”  Then, after the project team reviews it, the Status Workflow would automatically changes that document to “being reviewed.” When the sales manager reviews the document, the tag gets automatically changed to “read.” Then, when the sales director gets the document, they can either approve the document (in which case, the status could change to “approved”), or they can decline the document (in which case, the status would get changed to “declined”).

Status Workflows - SharePoint

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3. Notification Workflows

Once a condition has been met within your SharePoint environment, Notification Workflows will send a notification (for example, an email) to the assigned members of your organization, prompting them to take some sort of action.

How You Can Use It: 

Your sales manager uploads the report of their monthly sales to SharePoint. Because of the Notification Workflow in place, this triggers a notification email to be sent to the Sales Director, informing her/him that the monthly sales report has been uploaded.

Modern Work proserveit academy

4. Automation Workflows

Automation Workflows allow you to be able to create a workflow to automate and automatically execute certain actions based on what's happening within your SharePoint environment. It typically piggy-backs off the other workflows that have been described above

How You Can Use It:

Let's go back to the example we used in the Status Workflow section.  Sales associates upload a proposal into a folder called “Proposal – Drafts” as it's going through the approval process.  Once your sales director has looked at it and decided to approve it, it needs to move into another folder called “Statements of Work – Published.” Rather than having to manually move that document from the “Draft” to “Published,” an Automation Workflow could be set up to move that document for you automatically.

Automation Workflows SharePoint

5. Custom Workflows: the “Workflow Catch-All.”

Of course, once you figure out what these types of workflow can do for your organization, you're likely to want to do more than one of them – maybe even a combination of all four! Custom Workflows allow you to create your own SharePoint workflow and settings your own mini-program within SharePoint.

How You Can Use It: 

You could create a custom workflow that looks something like this: Your sales associate uploads a document to SharePoint, which, because of the Status Workflow, sets the status to “in approval”. Then, as it goes through the Approval Workflow, SharePoint sends out the various notifications that have been set through the Notification Workflow. Once everything's done, the Automation Workflow automatically publishes the document to the appropriate document library for consumption by your organization's sales team.

SharePoint Sharing & CollaborationSharePoint Workflows Open Your Organization up to Numerous Possibilities

Possibilities of SharePoint Workflows

SharePoint helps open your organization to many possibilities, and automating any part of your process improves efficiency within your organization. Need help with SharePoint Workflows? Give us a shout and talk to our SharePoint experts today.  Also, this is our first post from our newest SharePoint blog series, so be sure to stay tuned for more posts.

Right to Play, a global non-profit organization, improved its staff’s access to necessary resources and tools by utilizing SharePoint.

Key Benefits:

Improved Access: Employees are using Office 365 and SharePoint which give them the necessary tools to access the resources and materials they use when teaching children.

Increased Data Security: Right To Play utilized Windows 10’s biometric security to keep their data more secure, addressing the security issues that inevitably came up from having many employees working abroad.

Cost Savings: As a not-for-profit organization, Right to Play enjoys the benefits of Microsoft’s reduced cost structure for qualified nonprofits.



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Published by ProServeIT March 9, 2023