Below are a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that have been collected since 2001. We have conveniently split them into the following categories…
- Trial Account & Billing Questions
- Process Designer Questions
- User Interface & Experience Questions
Trial Account & Billing Questions
Whether during a free trial or after account activation, you have access to a variety of support avenues. Your options are….
- Contact Assigned Process Specialist
- Resource Center
- System Documentation
Every account has an assigned Process Specialist. When you sign up for a trial, the initial email will include their contact information. You should consider them your first line of support. The Process Specialist’s main responsibility and first priority is responding to client support inquiries. You can contact them direct by your preferred method; phone or email. If you prefer you can also simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Activated accounts also have direct access to an assigned Technician.
The Resource Center is a great alternative source for more of a self-guided education or search for answers. The center is full of valuable information; How to Get Started, Best Practices, FAQ’s, and Technical Information. The technical information page includes technology requirements, the expressions guide, a number of tutorials and all the self-hosted system installation & configuration documentation. At a minimum, HighOrbit recommends everyone review the Best Practices, FAQ’s, and the Expressions Guide (on the Technical Information page). This is where you would also find documentation to the Starter Kit workflow examples in your account.
There is, of course, a full set of System Documentation. It can be accessed from within your account and is found under the “Help” menu. It includes an Overview Guide, User Interface Guide and a Process Designer Guide.
In your trial account under the “Resources” folder of the left navigation pane is a link to “Pricing & Activation”. Click that link. You will be taken to the activation form. Complete the form, choosing your desired user level and options. Enter credit card information and click Go. Your account will be live within 24 hours.
Please note that credit card payment is required for monthly subscriptions. A 12 month, annual commitment can be paid via credit card or by invoice. Contact your assigned Process Specialist, if you wish to be invoiced.
Visit the secured account update page by clicking HERE. From this page you can update billing/credit card info, change number of users, cancel service, or even make a one-time invoice payment via credit card.
The trial is a full access account. All features and capabilities are accessible. That includes the ability to add users. This allows all pertinent associates to experience the system and provide feedback. Instructions on how to add Users, as well as Groups/Roles can be found in the User Interface & Experience Questions section of this page.
Process Designer Questions
To remove the starter kit workflow examples in your account, there are essentially two options…
- Delete the process
- Disable the process
If you want to remove them completely, they can be deleted. Keep in mind that deleting the process also removes all historical data and active tasks. In the Process Designer, right-click on the process name in the Process Explorer window. If you see the delete process option, choose it. If delete is not an option, choose revert….then choose delete.
If you just want to remove the process link in the web interface, but keep the process, that can be accomplished by dis-enabling the process. In the Process Designer, open the process. Double-click on the Manual Start action of your process to access its properties. Uncheck the Enabled button. Save and Deploy the process. When you refresh you browser, you will notice the process start link is removed. This method prohibits any further use of the process, but maintains its history.
Most data element types are self explanatory such as string, numeric, or date. However, the Text Label data element is unique to the HighOrbit system and created to specifically compliment the dynamic forms automatically generated by the Task/Form design action.
The Text Label data element functions as a header to a section of the form. Essentially it allows a group of data fields to be separated into logical sections of the form. Once created and named, the Text Label data element can be placed on the Task/Form and in your preferred order like any other data element.
An example of a form properly utilizing the text labels is below. This example is from our New Employee On-boarding starter kit process.
The Approval data element type was created to help organizations comply with certain industry or government regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley. However any organization can consider using it. The Approval type data element is generally referred to as an “Electronic Signature”. It requires password verification and is 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. Functionally, the task assignee must re-enter their password in the approval field; double-confirming it is truly them approving the task or request. Internally the data is stored with the assignee’s name, a date & time stamp, and the physical term “approved”.
It is not necessary to use the Approval data element for standard task approvals. Utilization of Task Action buttons alone (i.e. Approved or Rejected) is the preferred method for those types of tasks. The system maintains a transaction in its Audit Trail with a user name, date & time associated with any clicked (executed) Task action button.
Workflow requirements generally dictate when or where the Split, Join and Merge design actions are used. That said, there are some common & basic rules associated with each of these design actions.
Split: This allows a process workflow to be put into a parallel mode; sometimes referred to as simultaneous task assignment. If your process or workflow requires multiple or simultaneous task assignment at any given point, use a Split design action.
Join: Generally used at some point following a Split to bring a process workflow back to a singular linear mode. It is usually associated with a conditional task; one that cannot be assigned until all previous multiple tasks are completed.
It is important to note that all legs of a process into a Join must complete before the Join will execute. If any legs do not or cannot execute, the process could terminate. When using a Join action, make sure all legs will execute. You may need a Merge action, if your design does not meet that criteria.
Merge: A Merge has two distinct uses. Both are too lengthy to address on this page. One guarantees proper execution of a Join, while the other allows a task to be assigned each time a subsequent task is completed. Contact your process specialist for a more detailed explanation.
First, what does the Sub-Process Design action do? It provides the ability to create a relationship between two processes. When used, a process can flow from one process into another and (when required) back into the original process. It includes the capability to transfer data in/out of related processes.
There are no hard rules regarding use of the Sub-Process action. A designer can insert it at their discretion as they deem necessary. However, there are a few common and logical reasons when the Sub-Process action should be considered. These include…
- Recurring workflow within a single process
For Example: You have a 2-5 step workflow that occurs at multiple points (let’s say 6 times) within your entire process. Rather than place that 2-5 step workflow in your process 6 times, simply design it once as its own process and then call it through use of the Sub-Process action.
- Multiple processes have a common workflow
For Example: You have four processes. Within each process is a set of steps common to each. As above, rather than design the workflow in each process, design it once and utilize a Sub-Process action in each process.
- Separate a very large process into logical, smaller, and more manageable Sub-Processes
For Example: Let’s say you have a process that starts with prospecting and runs all the way through to an order’s fulfillment. Rather than design a single huge process, we recommend you break it down into logical sub-processes that are linked together. In this example you might have a Prospecting, Proposal Review, Purchase Order, New Customer, and Order Fulfillment all designed as separate processes, but linked into the next logical process by the Sub-Process action.
When used appropriately, the Sub-Process design action can streamline your initial design and minimize efforts with any future changes or maintenance. For a more detailed explanation of the Sub-Process design action and its recommended uses, please contact your Process Specialist.
There is not a traditional copy/paste feature due to the complex nature of the system and its database structure. You can however use a previously designed process for designing another. It is accomplished via standard export & import utilities found under the File menu in the Process Designer.
First, open the process in the Process Designer and choose export (under File menu). A standard dialog box will appear providing the ability to choose a file name and path. Note that exported files have a .wfl extension. Then choose Import (under File menu). Browser to the file and open. The process will open in the Process Designer. Save it. You will notice it has been save at the “Processes” root and has the same process name as the exported process. Right-Click and choose rename. Rename it and save it. From there you can drag the process to any preferred folder.
The HighOrbit Workflow Automation System includes a full testing environment. It allows a process designer to run through the workflow they created before moving it into production. While in “Test Mode” you can change the user, so you can experience that of a specific user. Switching users also allows you to test the security properties to make sure data accessibility is configured properly. System email notifications are not sent while in Test Mode, while all Email design actions of a process are sent to the tester.
To test a process design, open that process and save it. Saving a process writes it to the Test Server. (NOTE: deploying a process writes it to the Production Server and deletes it from the Test Server). Once saved, click “Test Processes” found under the File menu in the Process Design. That will open up another browser session or tab in HighOrbit Test Mode.
User Interface & Experience Questions
The company branding option is available for “hosted” accounts. For a one-time set-up fee (and small monthly fee), HighOrbit hides their standard branding and replaces them with your company’s logo and colors. Plus, system emails are configured to match the branding. You can also use a more preferred URL (i.e www.company_name.com/workflow). This essentially projects the application as your own, although certain small HighOrbit trademarks display in some areas. It can be extremely useful for HighOrbit clients that have processes directly accessible by their customers.
Please notes that “on-premise” implementations have direct access to the branding configuration files as well as web page code.
To a certain extent, the PEEK and WORK terms are self-explanatory. PEEK allows you to simply “look” at a task, while WORK allows you to “perform actions” associated with that task. Though their functions are easy to describe, we also need to explain why both options exist.
- If you click on the PEEK link in the task list, the task/form will display in Read-Only and no action buttons are rendered. You can only review the form & data of that task. There is a work button at the bottom of the form you can click to switch from PEEK to WORK mode.
- If you click on the WORK link in the task list, the task/form will display with its task action buttons. You systematically have taken ownership and can complete the task.
The existence of the WORK link and its function is easy to understand. It’s the core feature of any BPM and Workflow Automation system. But why does HighOrbit have a PEEK alternative?
PEEK exists for two main reasons:
- To allow members of a group assigned task to review the task without taking ownership. Thus, leaving the task assigned to the group. Please note that by system default, any member of the assigned group that clicks WORK will take ownership of that task. The task will no longer be accessible by the assigned group. It will be assigned solely to that specific user.
- To allow users with management view security access to review tasks and related data. This is important to note and convey to users with management security access. You don’t want users with management view access inadvertently clicking on WORK and taking unintended ownership of a group assigned task.
From a training perspective, users should be instructed to click PEEK to look at a task and click WORK to take ownership and complete a task. If they have accidentally clicked WORK and taken ownership, there is a “Re-Assign feature on the form that can be utilized to re-assign the task back to the original group or assignee. If you require a more detailed explanation or demonstration, please contact your assigned Process Specialist.
The quick and simple answer is Yes. If the requirement to return to an earlier point of a workflow is known, the solution is easy. You simply design that capability as part of the process workflow; providing the user action buttons that return the workflow to an earlier point.
However, often times the need to return the process workflow to an earlier point is an exception outside of any design. Most often this need occurs either when a user clicks the wrong action button or the process is prematurely completed. For these reasons, the HighOrbit system has a “Reactivate Process‘ feature. It allows a user with the appropriate security access to cancel and/or reactivate a process at any design action of a process.
To do so, the process instance must be completed. If the process instance is active, you will first have to cancel it. Once cancelled or completed, a user with Company Administrator access can run a standard search to locate the process instance and access its search details page. At the top of the search details page, you will see the reactive process link. Click that link to open the Reactivate Process Instance window. From that window, choose the design action you wish to reactivate the process at from the drop-down and then click the Reactivate Process button.
Users with Company Administrator security access will notice the Admin Menu is rendered and accessible from the main navigation. The Admin Menu does not display for users without Company Administrator security access. Under the Admin Menu, you will find the User and Groups/Roles pages.
Once in the user list, click the Add Record” button. That will take you to the Create New User page where you enter and save the new User.
Add & Maintain Groups/Roles
From the Group List page you can add Groups/Roles and maintain the Users assigned to a specific Group/Role
Since a user is associated with historical process instances and data, you do not actually “delete” a user in the conventional sense. With the HighOrbit system you “deactivate” a user. The deactivation process moves a user from the active to the deactivated user file. To deactivate a User, go the the User page found under the Admin menu. That page lists all active members.
Click the Deactivate button to deactivate the user. Please note that any outstanding tasks assigned to that user must be reassigned before a user can be deactivated.