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A long-awaited feature that enables content approval workflows in SharePoint Online’s ‘Modern’ experience is being rolled out to Office 365 tenants by Microsoft.
This means people can create and edit Modern pages in SharePoint without the changes going live. Instead, they are sent to a predetermined person for checking and approval, before being published to the wider intranet.
We’ve found that approval workflows are easy to set up and straightforward to use; the new process should prove intuitive both for content editors and for content approvers.
Go with the flow
To set up a new flow on a SharePoint site, a user with sufficient access privileges simply needs to visit the Site Pages document library. From there, the ‘Flow’ menu now has an option to create or configure an approval workflow.
SharePoint provides a basic template, meaning you can create a very competent approval workflow in a few clicks. Even better, because the system is powered by Microsoft Flow, the approval workflow’s owner can modify or add steps to the approval process. Because each SharePoint site has its own workflow, this means you can customise the approval steps based on the context.
For example, if news posted to your Legal department’s site needed approval by a legal expert before being approved by Communications, you could add in an extra step with a few clicks and apply it immediately.
Seal of approval
Once an approval workflow has been set up on a SharePoint site, the ‘Publish’ button content authors see on new or edited pages is replaced by a ‘Submit for Approval’ one. Rather than immediately publishing, it instead asks for a short comment summarising the changes, then submits it to the relevant person or team for approval.
There are a number of ways approvers can manage submissions. Items sent for approval are emailed to the approvers, who can immediately approve or reject a change from the email. When they visit the page in question, they can immediately see any pending approvals for that page. They can also view everything awaiting approval by going into the Site Pages library (which can now be grouped and sorted using an Approval Status column), or by viewing them in Microsoft Flow.
An approver has the option to immediately approve the changes, contact the author by email, or reassign the approval task to another appropriate person. Only once the content has been approved does it become visible to everyone on your SharePoint site.
As with all updates to SharePoint, the new content approval workflows will be fully functional for users of our Kira ‘intranet-in-a-box’ platform as soon as your tenant has been updated.
Modern SharePoint sites are about to receive a welcome boost with an abundance of new and improved publishing and user interface features. Here’s what you need to know about the changes.
New features coming to SharePoint include better branding options, a wealth of new web parts, improved layout tools for content creators, and a new ‘mega menu’-style navigation option.
As soon as the changes are applied to your organisation’s Office 365 tenant, your intranet will gain a host of new and improved features. Our Kira intranet for SharePoint is already compatible with the new features, so we expect a smooth transition for all our customers.
Here’s what’s coming up:
A host of new web parts
As well as these improvements, there’ll be a host of new components available to page creators:
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Exploring the IT industry’s problematic relationship with change management, understanding why effective user adoption is more important than ever in a cloud-ready world, and looking at some methods and techniques available to those enlightened souls who wish to deliberately and positively deliver change and user adoption.
Bananarama and The Fun Boy Three were definitely onto something back in 1982, when they joined forces to record their version of Sy Oliver and Trummy Young’s 1930s classic ditty. What they probably didn’t realise was that almost 40 years later, the song’s central message would be used as a lighthearted device to illustrate effective ways of managing change in the IT industry.
Build it and they will come?
You see, the IT industry has always had a bit of a problem with change management. “Build it and they will come!” has been the prevailing attitude of IT departments through the years.
It’s been fuelled by a misguided belief that users will simply use the solution put in front of them. And all the evidence points to the fact that, unless they simply have to use it, they won’t. Instead, they’ll seek out an alternative route as the ‘path of least resistance’ – and you’ll have a failed implementation on your hands, thanks to poorly-managed user adoption.
Erm, no they won’t
The ‘build it and they will come’ adage betrays a fundamental arrogance which has been prevalent in the industry for decades. It fails to recognise that IT exists to provide a service to the business; that the business contains users of technology, and that users are very adept at knowing what they need, and what they don’t need. IT departments simply haven’t been providing the tools and technologies their user bases demand; if you need any further evidence, witness the rapid growth of ‘shadow IT’.
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