Workflow Overview

Workflow Overview

Before learning about how Workflows function, be sure to first understand all the basics of how individual Actions function.

What is a Workflow?

Workflow refers to the sum of all Actions that make up a particular “story” of an interaction with a Record. How to divide interactions into Workflows and which Actions belong to which Workflows will be something for your firm to decide internally.

Within AdvisorEngine CRM, a Workflow is the container of all the related Actions in a sequence. This could just be a single Action, or it could be a large number of related Actions. When you open an Action in AE CRM, you are taken to the Actions Overview screen, which shows not only the Action you selected, but the entire Workflow it belongs to, including all the related Actions. This Workflow perspective of Actions allows you to see the progress of a particular story, how the Actions within are related to each other, and the overall purpose of all the Actions within.

Though a single-step Action is technically a Workflow in itself, typically these are referred to simply as Actions. Any sequence with two or more Actions are more often referred to as a Workflow and each Action within referred to as a step of the Workflow.

How is a Workflow Structured?

Workflows are created by relating one Action to another in a sequence using parent, child, and sibling relationships. Each Workflow begins with one fixed Parent Action. From that point, more Actions can branch off as needed. Each Action can have as many child Actions as needed.

In real-world terms, a child Action is one that takes place after the parent is completed. A parent with multiple direct child Actions means that one real-world event leads to multiple follow-up Actions happening simultaneously within the firm. This parent/child/sibling structure can be set up however suits the needs of your firm and the workflow you are capturing in your CRM.

See Adding and Reorganizing Workflow Steps for more information.

Workflow Structure at a Glance

The overall structure of any Workflow can be viewed in the Summary section of the Action Summary view.

From here, you can see which steps are completed, which are pending, and which have not yet been added to the system.

Completed or no Action Required
Pending Completion
Steps that have not been added yet

Workflow vs Workflow Templates

Though they share many characteristics, it’s important to understand the difference between a Workflow that is live in the system and a Workflow Template that can be called any time. The term “Worflow” in AE CRM refers to an active Action or sequence of Actions that is applied to a particular Record. A Workflow Template, on the other hand, refers to a stock Action or sequence of Actions that have been pre-filled with as much information as needed.

The bridge between the two comes when you use the Add Action function. When you click Add Action within AE CRM, you are given a list of all active Workflow Templates in your database. When one is seleced, a copy of that template becomes a live Workflow and is applied to the Record(s) selected. From there, the two are no longer connected. Changes to the live Workflow do not affect the Workflow Template and changes to the Template will not affect the live Workflow.

See Workflow Templates Overview for more information.

How is a Workflow Created?

The short answer is that as soon as you add an Action to your database, you have a Workflow. All Actions are contained within a Workflow, even if that is just one Action.

All Workflows (including single-step Actions) start from a Workflow Template. This can be as simple as a mostly-blank single Action or as complex as a multi-part series of Actions describing an entire process in your firm. The question is simply how much information you want pre-filled and how many steps you want to be automatically created as you work through the sequence. New Actions can always be added dynamically as the Workflow progresses as well, it's simply a matter of using what works best for the situation.

For example: You may build a Workflow Template for your firm that encompasses the steps of onboarding a new client. When a new client is brought on, the Workflow is added to the new client’s Record. Each Action contains the directions of what needs to happen for the client, and each is automatically assigned to the Team Member that handles that task. As each Action is marked complete, the next Action is added automatically and assigned appropriately as the Template indicated.

For example: A client may call in unexpectedly. The person who takes the call may create an Action using the Phone Call template, assigned to the Advisor, with a basic note to return the call. As the call is returned, more demands might be made of the particular interaction, so new child Actions may by added on the fly as it goes. This could end up building out several steps to the Workflow. Though it wasn’t all planned ahead of time, this is still a Workflow, just built dynamically as needed.

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