Workflow's within InstantKB allow you to define a series of steps to enforce a process for for content approval within InstantKB.
With each workflow within InstantKB you can...
- Have any number of workflow steps within each workflow
- Control access to the workflow by agent department
- Completely customize the order of each of your work flow steps
Work Flow Steps
All work flows within InstantKB contain a series of work flow steps that represent each stage of your work flow. Typically articles are manually moved into a specific work flow when by a support gent when adding or editing an article. At each work flow step you can perform a number of automated actions. For further information please see the "What's Possible At Each Work Flow Step" section below.
Control Access To Work Flows
You can control which works flows are visible to support agents. This is controlled based on the departments associated with your work flows and the departments associated with your support agents.
Limiting access to workflows by staff department can be helpful if you have multiple teams or departments using InstantKB and wish to ensure each team or department can only access the work flows relevant to them.
Editing Work Flows
You can edit & manage work flows via the InstantKB administrator control panel as shown below. In this screen grab we are editing the Article Approval work flow and can see the various work flow steps within this work flow...
Content Approval Use Case
You can use work flows within InstantKB to ensure a consistent quality for all your support content by enforcing workflows to ensure content is reviewed by a manager or a series of managers before it's published within your public facing support site.
To help demonstrate a typical workflow we explain further below how you could customize our default Article Approval work flow to suite your needs. If you require further flexibility you should consider creating your own custom work flow.
The Default Article Approval Work Flow
InstantKB is provided with a default "Article Approval" work flow step which can be further customized to suite your own article approval process. As each approval process differs the default Article Approval workflow provided with InstantKB only contains a sample series of work flow steps you can customize.
If you wish to create your own article approval work flow and the work flow spites within the default "Article Approval" work flow do not reflect your article approval process we would suggest creasing your own custom work flow. Creating your own custom work flow will allow you to create any number of your own custom work flow steps to precisely represent each stage you require within your article approval process.
The default article approval work flow provided out the box with InstantKB is set-up to have 3 review stages before content can be published. An explanation of each default work flow step within our out the box template is provided below with suggestions on how these steps could be further customized to fit your specific requirements.
The default steps we provide are...
This workflow step would be used whilst content is being prepared by the original content author. The content would remain in this workflow step until it's ready for the 1st review.
You can ensure all new content is automatically placed into the "In Draft" work flow step. To achieve this you would need to create a custom form and set the work flow step's default value to "In Draft". Optionally hide the work flow step & access type fields within the custom form so content authors cannot change the work flow step or set the access type. To apply the custom form for all new content you will need to edit the Agent Permissions via the administrator control panel and set your new custom form as the default form to use for all new content.
To ensure the original content author cannot publish content directly to the web site within the "In Draft" work flow step you will also want to enforce "Next Steps". You could set these to "In Draft" and "1st Review" so whilst content is within the "In Draft" workflow step it can only remain within the "In Draft" work flow step or be moved to the "1st Review" work flow step once it's ready for review.
As we progress along this example work flow and reviewers move content back into the "In Draft" work flow step it would be helpful to automatically notify the original content author that the content has been rejected and moved back into the "In Draft" work flow step. You can use "Notifications" within the "In Draft" work flow step to achieve this. You would simply select the [Created By] option for the notification to ensure the original content author is notified whenever there content is moved back to "In Draft".
1st Review (let's say Bob)
The original content author would move the content into the "1st Review" work flow step once they are finished and feel the content is of a suitable quality for your public facing support site.
Within the "1st Review" work flow step you could set the "Edit Permissions" to our 1st reviewer Bob so only Bob can edit this article whilst it's within the "1st Review" work flow step ensuring the original content author cannot change the content whilst it's in review.
In addition you could automatically assign the content to Bob via "Change Actions" and trigger an email notification to Bob via the "Notifications" within the "1st Review" work flow step. In this scenario we would also want to limit the "Next Steps" for Bob to our "In Draft" and "2nd Review" work flow steps so Bob can only move the content he is reviewing back to "In Draft" or along to the second review.
2nd Review (let's say Alice)
Similar to our "1st Review" work flow step here we would want to leverage Edit Permissions, Change Actions, Notifications & Next Steps within our "2nd Review" work flow step to automatically assign and notify our second reviewer Alice and ensure Alice can only move the content back to "In Draft" or on to the "3rd Review" work flow step
3rd Review (let's say John)
Our example support agent John has ultimate responsibility for approving content once it's been through each of the review work flow steps. Within our "3rd Review" work flow step we would use Edit Permissions, Change Actions & Notifications to automatically assign & notify John.
To ensure John can reject or approve content you would set the "Next Steps" available within the "3rd Review" work flow step to both "In Draft" and "Publish To Web". This will allow John to reject the content moving this all the way back to the original content author or finally approving the content by moving the content to the "Publish to Web" work flow step.
Publish To Web
In this example our third reviewer John would be the only staff member or support agent that that can move content into this work flow step. Content would only be placed into this work flow step once it's been through each review step.
Within the "Publish To Web" work flow step you could set a "Change Action" on the built-in "Access Type" field within InstantKB to automatically make content public or live within your customer facing support site.
Change actions you define for each work flow step execute immediately again the content as soon as content is moved into that work flow step. So in this example when John moves content to the "Publish to Web" work flow step the contents access type is automatically set to Public.
Creating Your Own Workflows
Workflows can be created for any tab within InstantKB. Workflows can only be created by administrators via the Admin CP and cannot be created or edited by regular support agents.
You cannot delete the built-in work flow steps within our default article approval work flow. If you require a different process you should create a new custom workflow with your own unique series of work flow steps.
Issue / Ticket Resolution Use Case
You can also use work flows within InstantKB to help automate & streamline inbound support.
Work flows can help enforce a consistent process for support agents when dealing with support requests and can be particularly helpful if you have a busy support desk to help automate many tedious tasks such as organizing, assigning or routing issues or support questions.
What's Possible At Each Work Flow Step
There are a number of options available at each work flow step to help you automate processes. Whenever content is placed into a work flow step these options will execute. The options available when editing work flow steps are explained below...
Edit permissions allow you to limit which support agents within InstantKB can edit content when its within a specific work flow step. You can leave these options empty if you don't wish to enforce any editing resit restrictions for a particular work flow step.
Change actions allow you to automatically update any built-in or custom field associated with content whenever content is placed into the work flow step. For example you could use change actions to update the assigned agent or change the priority of issues as they move through your support work flow.
This option allows you to present a unique form to users editing content when content is within a specific work flow step. For example you may wish to display additional fields to capture feedback during review work flow steps.
Using notifications you can trigger an email notification to specific support agents or end users when content or issues are moved into a specific work flow step. We provide a default notification however this can be customized. You can also include meta data from the article or issue within the email notification through the use of quick tags.
Here you can restrict the next available work flow steps content can be moved into from the current work flow step. This can be helpful to ensure content or issues go through a specific series of steps until published or approved.
The miscellaneous tab is only shown for work flow steps associated with issue tracking tabs. Under this tab you'll find an option to change the resolved or closed state of an issue. This can be helpful to automatically close issues as they are moved into a Issue Resolved work flow step.
By default the work flow step field shown when adding or editing articles is completely optional. If needed you can enforce workflows by making the work flow step field on the appropriate form a required field and ensuring you explicitly set "Next Steps" within each of your work flow steps.