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How to automate a document review process

Hello,

 

I am really struggling to determine the best method inside Office365 to automate this process. I have tried SharePoint, Flow, Powerapps, Planner but nothing seems to quite fit what I am trying to do. It is a somewhat complex process because there are so many possible document status' that makes it difficult to find the right solution. 

 

The current state is I manage an Excel document register (i.e. list) and for every document that is released, must go through a potentially complex review process. I will list out three possible review process scenarios that I would like to automate (there are more!):

 

1. Doc Release (status = released pending submission)-> Administrator emails pdf to auditor (status = Doc in review) - > auditor creates Excel comments log and emails administrator - > Administrator emails engineer  (status = Comment log in review) -> Engineer emails administrator updated comment log with responses -> Administrator emails comment log to auditor (status = Response log in review) -> Auditor accepts responses -> Auditor emails administrator with updated comment log showing approval (status  = approved)

 

2. Doc Release (status = released pending submission) -> Administrator emails pdf to auditor (status = Doc in review) - > auditor creates Excel comments log and emails administrator - > Administrator emails engineer  (status = Comment log in review) -> Engineer emails administrator updated comment log with responses -> Administrator emails comment log to auditor (status = Response log in review) -> Auditor accepts responses pending updates -> Auditor emails administrator with approved comment log pending updates to document (document = Approved pending revision) -> Engineer releases document with agreed to changes (status = approved).

 

3. Doc Release (status = released pending submission) -> Administrator emails pdf to auditor (status = Doc in review) - > auditor creates Excel comments log and emails administrator - > Administrator emails engineer  (status = Comment log in review) -> Engineer emails administrator updated comment log with responses -> Administrator emails comment log to auditor (status = Response log in review) -> Auditor rejects some or all responses -> Auditor emails administrator with comment log with open and closed comments (document = Ready for technical meeting) -> Administrator schedules meeting and open comments are closed -> Auditor emails comments log with agreed to updates (Status = Approved pending revision) -> Engineer releases document with agreed to changes (status = approved).

 

So what app or combination of apps are the most practical to achieve my goal of eliminating the administrator? Between the complex logic and documenting each and every step (in Excel or SharePoint) automatically seems daunting. In practice the administrator job is easy and seems to be easily replaced but I have not been able to find a suitable analogue to model from. Flow seems to be the best bet but I am not getting anywhere close to what I need. Any help / feedback is definitely appreciated!

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Community Support
Community Support

Re: How to automate a document review process

Hi @jstfmc1,

 

After reading your requirements logic, I probably understand what you want to do.

The hardest part to implement is the update of the comments log and the part waiting for a response, because there is no action, with features such as send email-wait for email response in the current Flow, so it is very troublesome to reply when we deal with Email response. But we can use Send approval and wait for response action instead.

For stable, I command you use the SharePoint list instead of Excel document register. And create some columns for next operations.

  • Status - store the Doc status, default value is released pending submission.

 

Scenario 1:

  1. Doc Release (When a file is created in a folder - SharePoint connector)
  2. (Convert doc into PDF file, create a new item in SharePoint list then create a text file as log comments file and store it as attachment of this item, then send email with item link to the auditor)
  3. Auditor click this link to item in approval request, and then edit log comments. Or you can consider add the log comments in the approval comments, and then add it into the log file.
  4. After received approval (just add comments) response, create an send second approval request to send the Engineer with link to item.
  5. Engineer update the attachment (log comments) and response the approval.
  6. After received second approval (update comments) response, send third approval request to Auditor with updated link to item.
  7. Auditor response and update the log comments, set the item status as approved.

 

The Scenario 2 and 3 just need to add some condition and branch in the Flow, if you understand my workaround and think it's feasible, it's easily to do it. The approval center and condition act the role of administer.

Best Regards,
Community Support Team _ Lin Tu
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