What does this PPS Planning workflow action mean?

Workflow handles jobs, cycles, assignments and more. In keeping with my focus on the PPS Planning Business Client (aka Add-In for Excel), this post will just cover those actions related to assignments. In keeping with my new analogy of describing workflow as the paper/check-based banking system I'll try to use some comparisons as well, although the analogy doesn't hold as well when we get to this level of detail. I'll also refer you to my previous post that described what the various assignment statuses mean.For now I'm not going to go into the details about "Include Workbook" nor what happens in the local cache nor completely what happens in the PPS system, those are other posts. I'll just give some rough commentary beyond what the official docs say since some are from the modeler perspective. I much prefer the definitions given in the add-in help (but of course I helped in the tech review of those so I'm biased). But I can't find a link to office online for them yet. Look in the add-in help for "About actions", it also improves on that web page by clarifying which user role will see the the actions.

 

Approve

This action should appear only for Approver's after the contributor does a "Submit Final". If the approver is happy with the data they can choose "Approve" and then from the add-in perspective that assignment is done. It won't appear in the 5 latest assignments for the contributor. In the banking system, this is like when the check clears. You're done except for any audits!

 

Discard Included Workbook

This only appears after a submission. Note because the RDL is always updated on the server it will appear even if "include workbook" was not chosen. In SP1 I believe that the server side will tweak the name of this action so that this distinction is more clear. In the banking world this is like when the bank sends back your canceled check. Your check is still cashed, and the money has exchanged hands. But the bank isn't interested in keeping your checks around, so they send them back. (Well they used to until everybody switched to check duplicates instead.)

There are a few reasons you might use this action. 1) Because the form template for the assignment has been updated. And if you don't discard the old one, you'll never get the new one. 2) You might have inadvertently put things in the margin notes that you don't really want the approvers and reviewers to see. This kind of gives you a chance to delete that information. 3) The contributor might have fouled up the assignment, and they need to get back to the "defaults" or what the original author intended.

 

Override Status

As an assignment owner this action can use this action to reset an assignment to a new state. Typically they would do this from Business modeler, but its not filtered out on the client side. This is useful if somebody did Submit Final but meant Submit Draft. Essentially it gives you a chance to do a manual "do-over", but it doesn't affect any of the data. In the the banking analogy.....its kind of like calling in to the help line and having them walk through some kind of operation manually. Like having them extend the date before a late fee might take effect or something along those lines. Not just the simple kind of thing you would work with a teller for, definitely need a supervisor.

 

Purge

This action only appears for assignment owners. Typically they would be doing this from Business Modeler for more assignments than just their own. But its possible if they are contributors for their own assignment to see this in the client. This completely removes the assignment but does not remove any submitted data.  As for the banking system analog: This is like having root access to the bank's systems and deciding that poof, that mortgage bill can just disappear and it doesn't matter how many checks were sent in.

 

Review

This action only appears for Reviewers. Reviewer's are just notified of the submission. They can't Reject or anything so they just get to click Review to say, "Yes, I've seen this. Thank You". In the banking world? Hmm like being a Bear Stern or Enron shareholder maybe? You don't get to do anything: just say, "Yes, Thank you, now I know you're nearly insolvent. Thanks for the head's up!" Ok maybe that's unfair and completely meant to be satirical not judgmental! Sorry, I can't really think of a good analogy for this one. Maybe its like some law enforcement agency who is tracking you and needs to get a notice when a transaction goes through. At least that's how it works in the movies and on TV in shows like CSI and Without a Trace.

 

Reject

This action should appear only for Approver's after the contributor does a "Submit Final". If there is something "wrong" they can choose Reject and optionally add a comment. This will cause the assignment to appear in the contributor's action pane again. Then the contributor can try to update or correct the data and re-submit. This is like having the check sent back to you as NSF or otherwise denied. You shouldn't take it personally, but somebody thinks you made a mistake!

 

Save Privately

With this the data entered by the user is just written to the local cache as well as the workbook and RDL. That way the next time the contributor opens the assignment from the same machine they get their same changes. Quickly I'll note that this doesn't send any data at all to the server so you have to be working with the same machine for this to work. Its like opening your checkbook and writing a check but not sending it. If you go to another check book then you have to start over.

 

Submit, Submit Draft, Submit Final

These 3 actions are very similar. They all take any data entered by the user and try to write to the fact table, and then get published to the cube. One thing that seems to surprise some people is that all of these actions make your data public, even if approval or review is part of the assignment. There are a couple ways to build your models so that it is possible to delay making your data public until after approval but that's another post.

The first difference between them is that typically "Submit Final" can only be performed once, while "Submit" and "Submit Draft" can be performed multiple times. When there are approvers and reviewers the contributor needs to be able to indicate that their work is done. That's what "Submit Final" is for. Sometimes contributors will only see "Submit". This usually means that there are no approvers and reviewers so they can Submit as many times as they like up to the deadline and there is no way to indicate that they are done.

So here there's no good analogy with the banking system. For the most part its the same as putting a check in the mail. Somebody on the other end might be reviewing it and so you could get the bill again, but more often than not your check is just cashed and that's the last you hear of it until you get the next bill.

 

And that's about it. If there is still something that's not clear post to the forums or post a comment here. But by far the best option is to click the Send Feedback link in the add-in help. That goes directly to the documentation writers. They are constantly updating the content and looking for more things to post online. I think its great that we have the capability to direct that feedback directly to the teams responsible for it, so I have to encourage you to take advantage of that!