In each company and department, it is a struggle: how do we keep track of all the requests that pass our desks (and the desk of my manager, the budget holder, and the directors)? Some requests are received by mail, others are issued on paper and there are even phone calls and personal visits.
Questions like: do we even have a budget for that? Who must approve this request? To be on the safe side, all requests often are handled by all management levels, which takes a lot of time. Often, nobody knows on what desk the request is now, and it gets stuck. It is just too much and too divers!
Yes, there are specific applications to address this annoying issue. However, most of them are quite expensive, and again, it is yet another application that only solves one issue…
So we thought: why not use the platform we already have: Microsoft 365?
For that reason, we developed our Requests and Approval solution. In the heart of it, we have the function “Approval Routes”. This is an easy-to-use function that enables users to configure the steps (the route) that a request must follow. E.g. first it goes to the direct manager of the issuer, then to the budget holder, and then to the department manager and perhaps to the director.
The approval route
For each request type, one can configure a specific approval route. Perhaps, in a step, one must first perform a specific task and, if ready, he/she can “approve” the step and send it to the next role in the route.
Of course, in each step one can also Reject the request. Do we need to take a step back, or should we start from scratch? Both options can be configured.
Once the Route is configured, we can attach a request type to a Route.
The request can come from several sources: we can have MS Forms for relatively simple requests (can I have a new access pass, can I buy some office supplies, those kind of requests).
But we also can connect other sources. Perhaps we need to handle incoming job applications and distribute these to HR. Or we need to have a formal approval of important documents before we send these to the addressee.
For the approval itself the solution provides a dashboard in which each user, with proper rights management, only can access her/his own requests and the requests she/he must approve.
Since all actions are stored in the database, management has a complete insight in the status of each requests. Delays can be detected easily, and it is always clear on which (digital) desk the request is.