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How to Design Your First No-Code Laserfiche Workflow

people icons forming a workflow

From speeding up employee onboarding to taking the headache out of records retention, Laserfiche workflows can give your employees back hours of their time each week. And best of all, you don’t need to be an IT professional or computer programmer to set them up. Learn from guest contributor Amy Johnson how to design your first no-code Laserfiche workflow!

As the Systems Administrator in the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office, I designed and implemented the department’s workflows myself. Hanover County IT department only provides support – not configuration. Here are some of my strategies for planning, designing, and implementing your very first workflow. I know it can seem scary, but you can do it!

How to Design Your First No-Code Laserfiche Workflow

Step 1: Generate Ideas
💡 Make a list of ideas of processes within your department or organization that you would like to automate. Remember to start simple. Sometimes, the small workflow is as important as the big, flashy one. So for your first go-around, find a process that has relatively few steps and not very many exceptions.

Our first no-code workflow dealt with obtaining Statutory Assessment worksheets. It routed them to managers for approval and then to the records folders for storage and retention.
Step 2: Determine the Goal
🎯 Determine a specific goal for your workflow. In my case the goal was to eliminate redundant printing of Statutory Assessment worksheets.

Ask yourself whether you are automating a process or trying to solve a problem. If you see or experience an actual breakdown in the efficiency of the current process, then you should first solve the problem before automating the process.
Step 3: Research
🔍 Take advantage of the multitude of resources available to Laserfiche users.

The Visit Building Laserfiche Workflows Certification course taught me how to approach planning, diagramming, and designing my workflows.

The many white papers and training videos available on the Learn and Support Site provide specific details on various aspects of the workflow design process.

Your VAR/Solution Provider is also an excellent resource. I put MCCi support on speed dial and called them whenever I ran into problems or lost my confidence.
Step 4: Diagram Your Process
➡️ Time spent diagramming up front will more than pay itself back later. Sometimes you may think that the process works one way, but there are specific steps you may have skipped.

Gather all the stakeholders in one place and come up with a diagram of how the business process automation should look. I invited the managers who are responsible for approving the Statutory Assessment worksheets as well as the division manager to join me. I drew out the whole process on a piece of paper, and we discussed the detailed steps together, going into such specifics as to how the manager would prefer to approve the worksheets (with a template field or a personal stamp).

Remember that it is OK to change or revise current processes to make your workflows as efficient as possible.
Hanover County Workflow Design screenshot
Step 5: Design Your Workflow
💻 Once the current process is thoroughly outlined, you can begin working within Laserfiche Workflow itself. Here are some things to keep in mind when designing your workflow:
  • You must have Workflow Designer installed on your computer or on the machine where you want to create the workflow.
  • It is best practice to create a user account for Laserfiche Workflow in the Administration Console. This user will be the one performing the automated tasks when the workflows run.
One of the most important parts of designing workflows is specifying the starting rules—what conditions will invoke the workflow. When setting up your starting rules, follow these guidelines:
  • The Workflow user should be excluded from being able to initiate workflows to prevent “runaway workflows” – workflows that keep initiating themselves in an endless loop.
  • Make the entry type (document, folder, etc.) and path as specific as possible to prevent the workflow from starting when you do not want it to.
Design as much as you want since you can always delete and start over. Don’t be afraid to publish what you’ve designed. You must first publish the workflow before creating the starting rule. Remember, if you start designing and lose your confidence, call your Solution Provider for help. I hired my Solution Provider to come and sit with me for the day while I designed my first workflow. Just having him there boosted my confidence.
An example of Workflow starting rules
Step 6: Test, Test, and Test Again
🧪 Even the experts need a few tries to get things 100%, so expect that your first attempt will require a lot of testing and tweaking. I had to test my first workflow at least 15 times before I got it to work exactly how I wanted it to! It is much safer to test on sample documents than live data. You can create sample documents and then run them through the workflow as you are designing it to make sure it functions as expected.
Step 7: Unveil to Your Users
👁️ Listen to your stakeholders and be prepared to revise this workflow as needed. Make the changes you want in the Laserfiche Workflow Designer and republish until you are fully satisfied. After my first workflow went live, I had to revise some of the email activities because, after seeing the process in action, we found that they could be optimized.
Step 8: Pat Yourself on the Back and Move on to the Next One!
🎉 Congratulations! You’ve completed your first Laserfiche workflow. Now, go back to that list of ideas you created in Step 1. Based on what you learned, what do you want to tackle next?

Interested in learning more about the power of Laserfiche for your organization? Contact us today and see how you can run smarter.