Workflow actions, workflow diagram, and SharePoint workflow setup for BI planning solutions and scenarios


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise

Topic Last Modified: 2011-01-28

The three generalized workflow actions that are common in a planning process are described in the following table.


User Role


A contributor has completed their changes and wants to submit to their approver. By using SharePoint 2010, newly uploaded forms can be sent through an Approval.


An approver can finish the state of the workflow after reviewing the plan data.


An approver can reject a submission which then returns the contribution back to the original owner.

The contributor starts the planning process by uploading their form with their plan data to the appropriate SharePoint Document Library. Through the planning approval workflow, an email notification is sent off to their assigned approver for review. By using the document uploaded, the approver can view pending tasks assigned to them through the SharePoint task list.

For SharePoint Lists, the same workflow steps can be applied, with the workflow action invoked on IWs saves to the List.

The approver can open the related content “Product Revenue Forecast” and review the submission. The reviewer can then open the workflow task and either approve or reject the submission. Approvals can also be done by clicking the workflow task directly in SharePoint. If approved, the changes will be passed along to the next level of approval. If rejected, the form will be passed back to the original contributor for additional changes.

Once the planning form or SharePoint List is approved, the next level reviewer will receive a notification for approval needed. This can continue through several levels of review before final approval. Once the planning form has reached the final level of approval, any what-if changes that are in the form should now be published to the data model.

For planning scenarios, the contributor and approver should reserve the action of publishing changes within the Planning form PivotTable until the final approval is completed. Since the what-if scenario function, “Publish changes”, cannot be included as a SharePoint workflow action, this must be done manually by the last approver. A note within the approval email notification can also serve as a helpful reminder.

Within SharePoint Server 2010, there is a SharePoint Designer application that lets users design and build workflows through a guided creation process. This section will describe how you can create a state-based workflow that provides an approval and rejection process, which is the basis for a planning and budgeting process. However, more robust and customized workflows can be developed by using Microsoft Visio 2010 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.

SharePoint Designer must be installed and configured to the SharePoint Server environment. For more information, see Setting Up the Development Environment for SharePoint 2010 on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008. For information about how to set up a sample workflow for a planning contributor and approval process, see the “Planning Workflow Setup” section inBuilding planning functionalities guide for BI planning solutions and scenarios.