About Assignments
  • 07 Jul 2022
  • 13 Minutes to read
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About Assignments

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Overview

Assignments are Tasks that allow Flows to wait in a permanently paused state until acted upon by a direct user interaction or an external system. A user might use an Assignment to:

  • Assign a travel form to a manager for approval.
  • Set a time frame for a certain task to be completed.
  • Require that a particular form is approved by multiple people before being accepted.

There are two Assignment types called InSession and Assigned.

InSession Assignment Type

The InSession Assignment Type is typically used as a submission or data entry Form. Examples of processes that use these Forms are:

  • Purchase Request Submission
  • Time off Request Submission
  • Customer Account Creation

An InSession Form is:

  • Not saved to the database
  • Only active during the user session
  • Process ends if the user closes out the Form

Assign Assignment Type

This Assignment type is typically used for processes that contain approvals. Examples of these process would be:

  • Invoice Routing
  • Loan Approval
  • Purchase Requests
  • Support Ticket Queue

An Assigned Assignment Type is:

  • Saved to the Database
  • Task remains active until its worked
  • Process does not end if user closes the Task

Assignments persist indefinitely until the expected interaction occurs. Task data is not erased even after a server restart, and will always be accessible. Task cannot be exported from one environment to another. Tasks take a snapshot of the current Flows and steps, so when they move to a new environment without those steps, they are left in an errored state.

For an overview of all Assignment controls refer to:

Interacting With Assignments

Designer's Perspective

 When viewing the Assignment Setup for the Add task step, users can configure the Start, Warn, and/or Late date for the Assignment. This determines when the Assignment will automatically be Assigned (Start), when it will be escalated (Warn), and when it will be considered overdue (Late). 

Users can also configure the Entity name and the action name. The Task can be Assigned to a specific individual or group Assignees, which can be declared statically or dynamically from the Flow data. Those settings can also be found by clicking on Assignment Setup.

Assignment Setup

Within the 'Assignment Setup' menu there are many options on how to configure Assignments.

Setting NamePurpose
Accounts and Groups
Assigned the Task to a group or individual account.
Assignment Roles
Assignment Roles can be used to process Task routing.
Exclude Accounts Groups
Excludes Accounts or Groups based on the selection.
Assignment Folder Type
To select the default location where the Task will be stored.
Assignment Dates
Configurable dates that will change the Task state.
Assignments Events
Assignment state Flows that will be triggered.
Assignment Reuse
Options that allow the Task be reused.
Completed Form
This completed view will cause Forms to appear within Process Folders of either the Case Entity or the Flow Execution Extension.
Additional Assignment Action
This setting creates new action definition for Email response handling.

Assignment States

Unlike other Entities, Assignment states are reserved and cannot be set using normal methods (i.e set state, set entity state).  When an Assignment moves to a new state, it can trigger specific behaviors to run by configuring the Flows for the Assignment Settings

The Assignment States are:

  • Pending
  • Current
  • Warn
  • Late
  • Escalate
  • Expired

The Expired state has an outcome path that exits the step in the Flow.

Specifying Assignees

Parallel approvals is a capability that allows users to send the same independent Tasks to two different users. The Flow Designer will wait until both users have completed the Task before proceeding to the next step in the Flow. Users must use the Merge and Branch steps in the Flow Designer to create a process that will wait until everyone completes their own Task.

Assigning a Task to an entire group does not replicate this effect, as it just assigns a single Task for the entire group. If one person in that group completes the Task, then it is completed for everyone else as well.

For more information over the Assignment Type, refer to: 

Global Assignment Settings

Another place to configure Tasks is Global Assignment settings. They are the settings object that is found in the System > Settings. These settings contain sliders to configure the Assignment initial and action lease times. Both of these controls are there to prevent two users from working the exact same Task. Whenever a Task gets assigned to a user, that assignee will get a notification in the form of a pop-up or email. 

These notifications can also be adapted globally in the Notification Types Folder found in System > Administration > Notification > Notification Types. Designers can disable or design their own custom notification Flow to send to a user upon Task creation. Task notifications don't have to be globally changed. They can also be changed on a per Assignment basis. To change the notification settings on individual Tasks, they are found in the Flow Designer on the Add Task step. In the step properties, the email category contains the notifications settings that can be customized via Email Templates. Email Templates can also be applied globally to assist in making all Task email notifications reflect company branding.

For more information refer to 

Extending Assignments

Assignments can also have their capabilities extended  by utilizing one of the stateful Data Structures which are Flow Execution Extensions and Case Entities. Both of these Data Structures would be a good fit for storing them within the Data Structures' created Folders. Since they are process tracked, users can report on the Data Structure and filter by a state to find the Assignment. In both Data Structures, there is a process view page which shows the current state of the Folder and the active Task within that state.  

Combining a Process Folder and a Task allows for users to configure personal work queues. An employee logs into the Portal to see all their tasks Assigned to them, and a manager can see their own queue. Both Process Folders and Tasks used in tandem can separate different Tasks so that only the user who has been assigned to those Folders can have access to it.

Completing Assignments

An Assignment becomes completed when a user fills out the Form and clicks on its outcome path. Assignments can be worked via:

  • The Portal
  • Email
  • API
  • Auto Expiration or Completion 

If the Tasks are worked within the Portal, a user needs to navigate to their inbox and click on the Assignment to open the Form. Then a user fills out the required fields and completes the Form. The Assignment will then no longer be visible in the user's inbox.

If a user worked a Task through Email, they can click an Assignment that will take the user to the Assignment or record their response to complete the Form. Another way users can work Assignments via email is by sending an email reply. Based on that reply, Decisions will record the user's response and set the Assignment to be completed.

Completing a Task through the API is also possible. To configure this, users should navigate to the Assignment Service located in the System > Administration > Features > All Services to use the Task's API endpoint for a response. 

The fourth way is through auto completion. Auto completion utilizes a Flow called the Auto Complete Flow. The Auto Complete Flow is user configurable and executes any logic configured in that Flow at the expiration of a user specified time frame.

Completing Assignments 

Reporting on Assignments

Assignments can be reported on. Decisions empowers users with multiple default Assignment data sources to use in constructing reports of Assignments. The Inbox is just a Report Viewer that is being sourced by the Assignment data source. This data source has many filters that can be used to manipulate all Tasks contained within a Decisions environment. Specifically, they can limit the report viewer to show only certain Assignments. These capabilities include ones that filter Assignments that are active, assigned to a particular user, or a particular group. Reporting on Tasks is the feature that ultimately gives the Designers the power to replace the default Inbox.

Creating A Dashboard

End User Perspective

Decisions gives users a Task list for all Assignments in the Inbox. The Inbox is the default location where Tasks will be displayed. Another way a user can work a Task is via an Assignment link in an email. This allows users or Guest Accounts to work the Task while restricting their access to other parts of the product. Another avenue for working an Task is making them actionable within the email. This allows users to work the Assignment in the email without needing to log into the Portal. Their response will be recorded and the Flow will continue to the next step of the process.

Assignment Database Tables

Assignments are complex. In order to maintain all the user's Assignment data, there are a series of database tables that store the information. There are a total of 4 tables that comprise Assignment Data. They are the 'entity_assignment', 'flow_state_storage', 'assignment_handler_data' and 'flow_data_delta_storage' tables. Here is how all four tables relate.



entity_assignment

The entity_assignment table holds most of the user configured data, like the assignment name or escalation configurations. Whenever a user makes a change in the Assignment Settings in the Flow Designer, it gets recorded in this table. When the Flow needs to start after the Assignment has been completed, the information in this table will be used to start the Flow from where it left off.

Database Table Details

entity_assignment
assignment_idThis is the primary key field of the database table
warn_dateA user configured date that will run the user configured warn date flow send a notification to the assignee when this date is reached
late_dateA user configured date that will run the user configured late date Flow
escalate_dateA user configured date that will send the assignment to a different assignee when this date is reached
start_dateA user configured date when the assignment set to the current state
priorityA user configured String field that is configured through the assignment settings in the Flow Designer
handler_dataSerialized Data about the Handler like the Form Assignment Handler or Custom Handler
escalation_handler_wrap_dataSerialized data about how escalations should be handled
notesnotes
valid_only_in_folder_stateFor conditional actions where they can be assigned when the folder is in the right state
completedA Boolean value that is set to true once the assignee works the task
is_assignedA Boolean value that is set to true if the assignment has an assignee
is_currentA Boolean value set to true if the assignment is active but not completed
hiddenThe property that controls whether the assignment can be visible or invisible
administrator_view_onlyA Boolean value set to true if the assignment is admin view only
entity_folder_idThe Id of the folder where the Assignment is stored
entity_nameIs the name of the Assignment that will be displayed in a user's Inbox
entity_descriptionA String field for writing a description about the Assignment
created_on_dateThe date the Assignment was created
modified_dateThe date that the Assignment was modified
stateThis field indicates the condition the Assignment is in
archivedA Boolean used to indicate if the Assignment has been archived
archived_dateThe date the Assignment will be archived and permanently deleted
all_assignmentsStores details of all the Users/Groups that have this assignment
deletedA Boolean value set to true if the Assignment is deleted
assignment_handler_idId of the Assignment Handler
assignment_handler_id_typeStores an Id of the Handler type
state_changed_dateThe date the Assignment state was changed
next_check_timeThe time when the scheduled job will check the assignment for any changes
next_check_typeWhat type of check is done i.e. Current, Warn, Late, Expired, or Escalated
next_check_idId of the Check
show_at_loginA Boolean value that if true will show the assignment at the users login
assignment_typeStores the Form Assignment Type value
has_state_changedA Boolean value that indicates if an Assignment state has changed
assignment_start_flow_idThe id of the Assignment Start Flow that a user can configure in the Assignment settings in the Flow Designer
assignment_warn_flow_idThe id of the Assignment Warn Flow that a user can configure in the Assignment settings in the Flow Designer
assignment_late_flow_idThe id of the Assignment Late Flow that a user can configure in the Assignment settings in the Flow Designer
assignment_escalte_flow_idThe id of the Escalate Late Flow that a user can configure in the Assignment settings in the Flow Designer
flow_tracking_idForeign Key from the flow_state_storage_data
step_tracking_idId of the step that created the Assignment
primary_flow_idThe Id of the primary Flow
primary_flow_nameName of the default base Flow
flow_idThe Id of the current Flow
flow_nameName of the parent Flow 
step_idForeign Key from the flow_data_delta_storage
step_nameName of the step that created the Assignment
assignment_interaction_startedTime stamp of the interaction time
assignment_startedA Boolean value indicating if the assignment is current
completed_date_timeThe date the Assignment was completed
completed_resultIs the Assignment Forms outcome path
completed_byRecords the user who completed the Assignment
completed_notesA String field used for storing notes about a completed Assignment
url_tokensURL token for the Assignment URL
notification_subjectThe Assignment notification String subject that will display when the Assignment gets created
notification_messageThe Assignment notification String message that will display when the Assignment gets created
do_not_send_default_notificationBoolean value that if set to true would cause default notification to not trigger
assignment_time_in_secondsThe amount of time the Assignment has been active
assignment_interaction_time_in_secondsThe user interaction time with the Assignment
reference_idThe user provided Id that stored when an assignment is configured
history_folder_idA common field created for Decisions Entities stores version history
all_tags_dataStores all tags that have been attached to the assignment
deleted_byRecords the user who deleted the Assignment
deleted_onRecords the date the Assignment was deleted
extension_idThe Id of the extension object that is tied to the assignment
extension_id_typeStores the extension type
folder_stateThe state the folder is currently in


flow_state_storage_data

This database table is responsible for storing the Flow data. The stored information in the table is the Flow header data. When a Flow comes to a task step, Decisions will take a snapshot of that Flow and then stores a record in the flow_state_storage_data. This table is responsible for allowing Decisions to pause the Flow until some action has occurred. Once the expected action in received, the Flow will continue to the next step in the process.

Database Table Details

flow_state_storage_data
flow_tracking_id The Primary Key field of the table
archivedA Boolean indicating if the Flow has been set to an archived status
archived_byThe user who set the archived status
deletedA Boolean indicating if the Flow has been set to an deleted status
deleted_byThe user who set the deleted status
ended_in_exceptionA Boolean indicating if the Flow encountered an exception
exception_detailsThe log error message details
primary_flow_nameStores the name of the primary Flow
primary_flow_idThe Id of the primary Flow
primary_flow_nameName of the default base Flow
current_flow_idId of the running flow
current_step_nameName of the current step
current_step_idId of the current step
current_tracking_idStores the current Flow Tracking Id
current_step_tracking_idStores the current step tracking ID
percent_completedFlow completion percentage
start_dateThe date when the Flow was started
last_update_dateThe date when the Flow was last edited
last_update_byThe user who last edited the flow
created_on_dateThe date when the Flow was created
created_byThe user who created the Flow
flow_date_storageForeign Key of the flow_data_delta_storage table
auto_restore_result_dataStores the Result Data that needs to be sent for the Auto Restart of the step
auto_restartA Boolean value that indicates if a Flow is set to auto restart
auto_restart_date_timeDate when the Flow was auto restarted
auto_restart_failedA Boolean value that indicates if a Flow failed to auto restart
store_generationNumber used to determine if the stored Flow Data is up-to-date
completedA Boolean indicating if the Flow completed
completed_date_timeThe date when the Flow completed
completed_byThe user who completed the Flow
last_active_serverServer on which the Flow Data was used
last_active_date_timeThe last recorded data time the Flow Data was used
archived_dateThe date when the Flow will be set to an archived status
deleted_onThe date when the Flow was deleted
entity_folder_idId of the Designer Folder that stores the Flow
stateThe current state of the Flow
auto_expire_onA Boolean value that indicates if the Flow is set to expire

assignment_handler_data

This table that stores data of the Assignments escalation, form, and handler data for custom Form Assignments.

Database Table Details

assignment_handler_data
IdThis is the primary key of the table
handler_dataSerialized Flow handler data
escalation_handler_dataSerialized data about handling escalations
form_view_datastores the serialized data for the completed form

flow_data_delta_storage

The primary purpose of this table is to store the differential data instead of the complete Flow data to minimize storage needs.

Database Table Details

flow_data_delta_storage
primary_flow_tracking_idThe Main Flow tracking Id
delta_dataSerialized Delta Data from the Flow
delta_time_stampDate Time of when the Delta Data was capture
current_flow_idCurrent Flow Id
current_step_idCurrent Step Id
current_flow_nameCurrent Flow Name
current_step_nameCurrent Step Name
current_step_tracking_idTracking Id of the current step
current_flow_tracking_idTracking Id of the current Flow
is_tracking_dataBoolean used to track if the data is complete or partial data

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