The Consultant's Corner: The Laserfiche Connector with Workflow
Welcome to this month’s issue of the Consultant’s Corner, focused on using the Laserfiche Connector with Workflow. Cities Digital’s Consultant, Kyle Knebel, System Architect and Trainer addresses a variety of questions surrounding how the Laserfiche Connector can benefit businesses when used in conjunction with Workflow for starting business processes.
The Laserfiche Connector is a tool that allows simple, code-free ways for users to integrate other applications with Laserfiche. Organizations leverage multiple applications daily, creating interactions between these applications can be a beneficial tool. A new feature of the Laserfiche Connector 10.3 grants users the ability to start workflows and business processes. The addition of workflow automation using Laserfiche Connector makes it a desirable tool for driving business innovation. Exploring how the Laserfiche Connector interacts with Laserfiche Workflow is a great place to begin our conversation with Kyle.
What types of Workflows and business processes can be started using the Laserfiche Connector?
The addition of the new Workflow initiation functionality with the Laserfiche Connector can trigger automation from various actions outside of the Laserfiche Repository. Kyle explains, “the connector can start a workflow or business process, either with information captured from an application or without any information at all (however, the latter is not typical). Additionally, any existing workflows can benefit from being fed information from another system that was captured by Laserfiche Connector.”
How do you use the Laserfiche Connector to pass information directly from an application into Workflow?
Passing information directly from an application into Workflow is a simple process. Kyle says, “the Laserfiche Connector has a configuration tool that allows administrators to create a ‘profile’ that captures information from an application and passes it into the Workflow. Once the profile’s initial action completes, for example, a document search, you can start a workflow, or even transfer parameter values to the workflow. If the workflow doesn’t require a starting entry, the workflow will run once. Otherwise, it will run once per entry.”
Why would an organization find the Laserfiche Connector Starting Workflows a useful feature?
There are a couple of reasons Kyle shares, why an organization might find this feature useful. He says, “Organizations could consider using the Laserfiche Connector to start a Workflow for ad-hoc processes which occur infrequently; the organization would build a workflow that does not have any starting rules. The absence of a starting rule can lighten the processing load on a busy Workflow server so that it doesn’t have to evaluate these rules for workflows started from Connector.”
“Also, having a workflow started after documents are imported can help in those situations when you need the workflow only to start when a user performs a specific type of activity. A process in contrast to workflow starting when something happens in the Laserfiche repository. The Connector can tell the Workflow engine to run a workflow when an activity outside of a Laserfiche repository has occurred.”
Can you provide an example of how an organization has implemented the Laserfiche Connector and used the solution to start Workflows?
The Laserfiche Connector is a versatile tool that functions in many scenarios. In the example shown, the workflow initiates a new hire onboarding process workflow as a result of the Laserfiche Connector action, such as highlighting the applicants name. The workflow then creates a file folder in the Laserfiche Repository for the new employee. Once the folder is in Laserfiche for the applicant metadata is assigned, and the workflow will transfer any existing documents into the employee file. Lastly, an update is made to the status field, when hired is the new status the applicant receives a congratulatory email. The entire process was started by a simple action from the Laserfiche Connector, triggering a comprehensive file creation workflow.
What are recommended best practices when implementing a Laserfiche Connector solution?
When it comes to best practice recommendations for implementing the Laserfiche Connector, there are a few to consider. Kyle specifies three best practices for organizations implementing Laserfiche Connector solutions:
Test, Test, Test!
Verify all the data tokens required for a process before building the profile. It is important to note; additional tokens cannot be added to the configured application after the profile saves. If later, more tokens are required, it’s easier to build the profile again.
Use the Connector Test Utility before purchasing Connector to verify that it will work with the selected applications. Laserfiche maintains a list officially approved compatible applications, additionally, a list of customer confirmed applications is also available.
How can the other new features of the Laserfiche Connector, like the updated interface, import options, and token review benefit users?
These new features benefit the Profile Administrators the most, Kyle explains, “For Laserfiche Connector Profile admins, the updated interface allows easier re-configuration of an existing profile using the same configuration wizard used to build it.
The ability to use the configuration wizard for re-configuration is in contrast with having to edit a profiles’ XML file in previous versions 10.2 and earlier.
Adding the token review feature to a process allows the user to confirm that the information gathered by Connector is correct, and if not, the user can correct the data manually before it is used in the process.“
The pairing of Laserfiche Connector and Workflow brings automation to a new level, allowing businesses the ability to get creative with solutions that will propel them into the future.