WebSphere Commerce Enterprise

Approval flows

In general, the approval process includes the following user interactions, all of which are carried out with an HTML browser. Approvers receive notifications of all approval requests by e-mail.

  1. The system determines whether approval is required for the organization performing the particular action.
  2. An approver is selected from the appropriate approver member group.
  3. If approval is not required, pre and post-processing tasks are initiated.
  4. If approval is required, the pre-approve command is invoked and the approval request is stored. E-mail notifications are sent to approvers.
  5. An approver checks the list of approval requests awaiting approval and approves or rejects them. Optionally, the approver can add comments.
  6. If approved, the post-approve command, if any, is invoked. If rejected, the post-reject command, if any, is invoked.
  7. The submitter can check the approval status throughout the process and view the approver's comments.

For example, when an organization signs up for RFQ response approvals, an RFQ response approval member group is created for the organization. All of the organization's users who have been given a Sales Manager role will be implicitly placed into this group. The organization administrator can add or modify the rules determining which user roles are implicitly placed within a particular approval member group. They can also explicitly place users within a particular approval member group.

Use the Organization Administration Console and WebSphere Commerce Accelerator to manage approvals. Note that approval requests and approval submissions are two different ways of looking at the same thing:
  • Approval requests are approvals that have been submitted and require an approver's attention
  • Approval submissions are requests that you have made and are waiting for approval

You can work with approval requests by using the Organization Administration Console. As well, You can use the WebSphere Commerce Accelerator to work with both approval requests and submissions.

The approval process also involves commands in the three following categories:
Pre-approval task command
Pre-approval task commands are run before the approval of an approvable action within a business process enabled for an organization. For example, before order approval, the command that checks inventory is run to ensure that the product is in stock. If it is in stock, the approval request is passed on to the approver.
Post-approval task commands
If an approvable action is approved, a post-approval task commands, if any, is run. For example, the post-approve task command might automatically update an inventory.
Post-rejection task commands
If an approvable action is rejected, a post-rejection task command, if any, is run. For example, the post-reject task command might check the monetary value of the order and notify a manager if it is above a certain amount.

More specifically, when an organization signs up for a specific approver member group, users having a particular user role are implicitly placed in that group. Any user with the default role for that organization becomes an approver for the corresponding action. There are five approver member groups, one for each business process to which approvals can be applied:

Process subject to approval WebSphere Commerce default approval groups Default role with authority to approve
  • Contract submissions approvals
  • Disable inherited contract submissions approvals
  • Contract Submit Approvals
  • DisableInherited Contract Submit Approvals
Sales Manager
  • Order processing approvals
  • Disable inherited order processing approvals
  • Order Process Approvals
  • DisableInherited Order Process Approvals
Buyer approver
  • Reseller registration
  • Disable inherited reseller and buyer registration approvals
  • Reseller Registration Approvals
  • DisableInherited Reseller Registration Approvals
Channel Manager
  • Buyer registration
  • Disable inherited buyer registration approvals
  • Reseller Registration Approval - name of store's organization
  • DisableInherited Reseller Registration Approval - name of store's organization
Seller Administrator and Channel Manager
  • RFQ response approvals
  • Disable inherited RFQ response approvals
  • RFQ Response Approvals
  • DisableInherited RFQ Response Approvals
Sales Manager
  • User registration
  • Disable inherited user registration approvals
  • User Registration Approvals
  • DisableInherited User Registration Approvals
Seller Administrator or Buyer Administrator for new approval groups.

When the bootstrap data is loaded a user registration approval group is created for the root organization. That group contains one user: -1000 (wcsadmin).

Note: Users with the Site Administrator role can approve all approval processes.

Disabling the inherited approval authority that a child organization has inherited from its parent organization means that the child organization no longer has the same approval access as its parent. In order for an organization to override the parent organization's approval requirement, the disable member groups are included in the list of approval levels for an organization. The Site Administrator can open the Organization Administration Console, select Access Management > Find Organizations to find organizations to work with. From this list, the Site Administrator can select an organization and click Approval to view a list of approval groups for the organization and select approval groups from this list and move them to the Selected approvals list.

By default, the root organization has the User Registration Approvals group added to the Selected roles list and the default organization has the DisableInherited User Registration Approvals group added to the Selected approvers list. The implication of this default setting is as follows:
  • A user registering to any organization except the default organization requires approval, unless this organization explicitly disables the approval.
  • A user registering to the default organization does not require approval.
Note: If an organization administrator does not sign up for an approver member group, approval will not be enabled for the associated business process. This means that all instances of that particular process are automatically approved.