This week we have been looking at the new Microsoft Teams Approvals App that has been launched.
Microsoft Teams Approvals is a very lightweight system for your business to handle things like expense claims, holiday requests and get sign offs on key documents or business decisions.
The main idea is for when you want to have a reliable audit trail of approvals within your business.
So let’s have a look at how it works.
Microsoft Teams Approvals is actually just using a lot of back-end functionality that you get in Microsoft 365 like Power Automate and just making it really easy for you to use.
Step By Step Guide To Make an Approval.
First things first, it needs to be enabled within the tenant so let’s have a look in the teams administration panel, under Teams Apps and Manage Apps. Just do a quick search and here it is. By default this should already be on.
OK so let’s head over to Teams.
On the left hand menu, just click these three dots and choose “Approvals”. If this if the very first time that your organisation has been here, you’ll be told that it’s still setting up.
Let’s create an approval request. Here we’re going to use something that’s important for your security and compliance auditing; tracking approvals for Global Admin rights in your Office 365 tenant.
So let’s give the request a friendly name and pop in who we need to approve this request.
We can pop up some supporting text and here we can attach a document with supporting information. Then we can hit send.
Once it’s sent, we’re taken to our current list of requests. You can see the status, when it was requested and who the approval was sent to.
It’s also worth noting that when you make a request, you can select multiple approvers. Here you can either require that ALL people approve, or any one individual can approver – depending on your process.
The recipient of the Approvals will get alerted in Teams that they have a new approval and once they click on the alert, they’re immediately taken to the request.
Here they can review the request, who it’s from, the supporting details as well as reviewing any attached documents before making a decision.
Once they made that decision it’s immediately sent back over to the requester who will be alerted in Teams.
They can now review any other requests which they have and make a decision. When declining a request, they can use the text box here to provide supporting information if they choose to.
And that’s it. It’s pretty straightforward stuff.
- It’s a very simple process which is led by the person making the request. So if you have an existing process which you’re replacing it might be that you need a certain set of documents for an approval to take place. There are no templates here to guide the user into supplying the information necessary for an approval.
- This whole idea of an audit log is that it needs to be long term. What happens when someone leaves the organisation? I expect you’re going to see that things were approved by “Unknown User” which isn’t overly helpful.
- There is no centralised storage of the attachments. They live in the requesting users OneDrive. So if that user leaves the business, then the file attached to that approval will eventually become inaccessible. You need to ensure the file is in a central location e.g. Sharepoint BEFORE it’s attached to a request.
Now let’s not forget that Teams Approvals is a deliberately a lightweight process. A lot of those “drawbacks” can be overcome by using PowerAutomate and Sharepoint which are included in your 365 subscription. So if you want more complex functionality, you can make it yourself in there.
Overall we found Teams Approvals to be a great little value add to Teams!
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