Using Flags + Workflows, Part 1

BY IT GLUE | October 09, 2018

IT Glue’s Flags feature is integrated with the Workflows feature to create a streamlined means of improving your business processes. This post will provide a quick overview of these two features, and then take you through a couple of examples common to most MSPs.

Flags & Workflows Overview

The Flags feature allows you to create flags, and apply them to documents within IT Glue. Common examples include “Needs attention”, “Incomplete”, “Needs approval”, but the options are limited only by your needs and imagination.

Workflows is a feature where an action triggers an email, Slack message or webhook (for MS Teams, etc.). That trigger can be used to spur further action. Workflows can be filtered, for example by organization, by flag type or by document type. So however your team works, the workflows can be structured to fit that.

When flags and workflows are combined, any flag action can be set up to trigger an email, webhook or a Slack message. Thus, applying a flag to a document, changing a flag or removing it from a document could all be set up to trigger a workflow. To illustrate how this works, let’s run through a couple of examples.

Example #1 – Major Incident Process

For most MSPs, the major incident process document is one of the most important. This is the document that explains what needs to be done, and by whom, when the excrement hits the fan. In a high pressure situation, there is no room for ambiguity, so this document needs to be perfect.

Suppose you have a change to the major incident process document. Our example would be an update to the paging system to alert your team leads in the event of off-hours incidents. You’ve just changed this system and need to update the major incident process document accordingly.

The change might need to be approved, so set another flag for “Needs approval – urgent” that triggers an email or webhook to the team leads responsible for this review. Once the review has been conducted and the document is approved, the “Needs approval – urgent” flag can be removed, and a new flag applied “Urgent review”. Set this up to trigger an email to your entire team, so that everybody is aware that they need to familiarize themselves with the change to the major incident process.

flag workflow screenshot 1

flag workflow screenshot 2

Example #2 – Login to DNS Panel

It’s Sunday afternoon and all of a sudden your help desk is getting calls from a major client. Their staff can no longer access email. Before too long, their CEO is on the phone with your CEO demanding answers. Calls are coming in from multiple different directions, and your entire team is, shall we say, highly motivated to resolve the problem ASAP.

You quickly discover that the web developer pushed an update, wherein the name servers have been changed to point to a new website host, and DNS information was only partially transferred. You have a document for how to log into the domain management panel, but now that document is out of date, as you quickly discover, because the UI is entirely different with the new provider.

You flag the document “Requires Update – Urgent”. This triggers a series of workflows. First, it triggers alerts to a Slack channel with your executive and team leads. Now your service desk lead is aware of the problem, and your CEO is, too, so they are better equipped to handle their respective phone calls.

Then your senior tech gets the message via email as well, and quickly moves to update the credentials and procedure for the new domain management panel. The senior tech flags the document “Update in Progress”, which triggers the same Slack alert. Now all internal stakeholders are aware that work is being done to resolve the issue. The service desk and the CEO can assure the people on the other end of the phone line that a resolution is forthcoming, and you can feel comfortable knowing that only one person is working on it – not four people trying to work overtop of each other.

When the DNS login issue is resolved, the email functionality will be restored. The documentation will be completed in short order, allowing others to address the issue in future, quickly and without crisis.

By setting workflows to trigger with flag actions, your team can be alerted to action required, especially urgent action. By streamlining the document creation and approval process and identifying outstanding or incomplete documents that require further action, business process efficiency is improved, and your organization achieves a higher level of transparency and accountability, and ensures that critical changes to documentation are not overlooked.

To learn more about how IT Glue can help solve your documentation and business process challenges, sign up for a demo today.

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