The short version

We are excited to announce our latest feature “Version Approvals”. This is a convenient way to request the sign-off of a published version from other document members.

The longer version

In Simul, a document can have draft and published versions. Published versions can be declared as either a minor version (x.Y.z) or a major version (X.y.z). Both minor and major versions often need approval from a set of stakeholders before being distributed The most common method of collecting approvals is to email a “final” version to multiple users and request written sign-off. More than likely, this will involve ambiguous responses or change requests which may contradict each other. Simul now provides a more streamlined process for such scenarios.

Publishing versions

At certain points during a documents life, it makes sense to publish a minor or major version. Publishing a version usually represents a document that is ready to be consumed. As a result, this version may require the approval of one or more stakeholders.

To publish a version, navigate to the appropriate draft version and select “Publish this version” from the “More actions” menu:

You can then declare the version a minor or major version. This will assign a more meaningful version number to the published version. In addition, you should give the published version a name to convey its purpose:

This document will now appear on a streamlined view of published versions on the “Major Versions” tab:

The publication details will also appear on both the draft and major version pages like so:

Requesting approvals

To request approvals, select "Request Approvals" as shown in the above screenshot. This will open a dialog allowing you to select one or more members to approve the document. This will create approval requests for each member and send them a notification via email.

The publication details on the draft and major version page will now show all requests currently pending approval:

If an approval request is assigned to you, you can “Approve” or “Reject” it directly from the publication details inline. Alternatively, you can approve or reject the version from the underlying task to take advantage of the tracking features described in the following section.

Tracking approvals using Tasks

Requesting approval creates a task which is associated with the document. Tracking approvals using tasks has many advantages including the ability to set a due date and record conversations throughout the approval process. You can read more about the benefits of tasks here.

Any outstanding tasks assigned to you will be highlighted on the “Tasks” icon in the navigation menu like so:

Each approval requests will be listed individually on the Tasks page:

The task will provide a clear history of the request and can be used to capture any comments. This can help the approver understand why their approval is required:

Completed approvals

Approval requests are considered complete when a task is either closed (equivalent to cancelling the request) or the delegate approves or rejects the version.

Once approved or rejected, the status will be displayed on both the draft and publication pages like so:

The task will also be updated to reflect that the version has been approved:

If the version is rejected, the publication details will appear like this:

Approval tasks can always be reopened and this will reset the approval back to a pending state. Any modifications will also be recorded in the task’s history to ensure a clear audit trail.

Major Versions, Tasks and Approvals, Oh my

This is a simple yet powerful addition to Simul Documents. It replaces the unstructured and difficult to audit process of collecting approvals via email. In addition, it shows how Simul’s features can work together to meet your document management requirements and ensures that every action regarding a document is captured.

We hope these new document features can help you work more efficiently with your documents.

As always, we appreciate any feedback!

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