Workflows in SharePoint provide great ways to save time, effort, and cost by automating existing business processes. Many business needs can be addressed through SharePoint workflows. Here are some of them:

  • Attending to customer service requests
  • New employee accounts creation
  • Budget and project approval
  • Leave request management
  • Employee recruitment process management

It would be hard to track these business needs if they were managed with pen and paper as in the early days. SharePoint workflows provide a great solution.

What are the OOTB Workflows?

Although business needs vary with the organization, some business needs almost look the same across organizations. Let’s look at five SharePoint out-of-the-box (OOTB) workflow templates that can help meet business needs.

#1: Approval

Think about a document or a list item that needs to be approved before being made visible to many people in the organization. The Approval workflow helps automate this process in an effective manner. The authorized person can define the people who need to approve the content when attaching the workflow to the list. Once a person adds a list item, the workflow will start and request approval for each person defined earlier. The progress of approval can be monitored at any given time.

#2: Collect Feedback

Sometimes some content isn’t drafted in a single attempt or by a single person. In such scenarios, the Collect Feedback workflow provides support to get feedback and comments from several people within the organization.

When you create a document or a list item, SharePoint will initiate the workflow and assign tasks to the people specified in the workflow. Each person who opens the assigned task to provide feedback can interact with three actions:

  • Send feedback
  • Request change in an item
  • Reassign task

#3: Collect Signatures

Imagine a proposal within the organization that needs to be sent to management. People within the organization might or might not like to sign it. The Collect Signatures workflow provides the options to either sign or ignore upon the user preference.

#4: Publishing Approval

From the business process perspective, this might seem similar to the Approval workflow. But if we think about the purpose, the Publishing Approval workflow is designed to approve the changes made to pages in a publishing site. For example, imagine an employee adding a news page to the public-facing site.

#5: Three-State

A three-state workflow lets you track progress on a business process. It has the facility to have three states:

  • Active
  • Ready for Review
  • Complete

This template is mainly used for issue tracking using SharePoint. Still this can be customized and used for many other situations.

Don't Try Reinventing the Wheel

Workflows are really useful for an organization. Many times when a workflow requirement arises, the IT teams attempt to make custom workflows by being specific. But if you use the OOTB workflows, sometimes things can be done very easily. There might be small process changes within the organization that might not affect much. So in a situation where you need to automate a business process, first try to get things done using OOTB workflows. It doesn’t always have to be a custom workflow.

Have you created OOTB workflows? Why don't you try today?