Sitecore workflow – Gain control of your CMS

Sitecore workflow – Gain control of your CMS
5th July 2019

Find out how the Sitecore workflow functionality can be leveraged by enterprises to prevent mistakes

When digital experience platforms market themselves, not many emphasise workflow as a key feature. But for day to day content management system (CMS) users, a workflow functionality can be one of the most useful parts of their platform. Organisations that are missing out on this helpful functionality, might want to reconsider moving to a website platform that will help make their everyday marketing output easier – like Sitecore.

What is Sitecore workflow?

Sitecore workflow provides marketing teams with features that improve productivity, make the system easier to use and prevent content being pushed live by mistake.

If you’re a content editor and you need to make an important change to the terms and conditions associated with a big promotion you are running. Your job is to work out the best way to convey the important message. When you have finished you need approval from your line manager and the legal team before it can go to be translated. There are several features within Sitecore workflow that allow data to be captured, enforced and automated where possible.

Roles and permission structures with Sitecore workflow

Getting someone in your team to check content before it’s published is a logical process to reduce missing any mistakes, especially when working across large teams or multiple offices. Sitecore allows complex permission structures to be built up in its role editor. We can define three roles that allow different actions:

  • Author
  • Approver
  • Legal approver

Roles are additive in Sitecore, so if the approver role allows publishing, but the author role disallows it, any user with the approver role and the author role will be allowed to publish.

Permission flexibility and simplicity

Permissions in Sitecore can range from which parts of the application a user can access, to which buttons they see and actions they can perform. For example, an author role will allow access to all the editing buttons and can allow buttons that change the page structure. Authors can also be restricted to different areas of the site (if your site is well structured). So, if your organisation has a large marketing team, you could be incredibly granular with permissions to set up multiple author permissions:

  • News authors
  • Blog authors
  • Dual access authors, or whatever is best suited to your business.

Sitecore is a huge and powerful platform, which we know can be overwhelming for some users. There are a lot of tempting buttons to click and a lot of great features to enhance your digital strategy. But working with an experienced Sitecore Partner can help your organisation to get the most out of the platform. We are all familiar with having the curiosity to press a button on impulse just to, ‘see what happens’. But if that button is your site publish button, its best just to remove the temptation to untrained users.

Often, businesses will have a Sitecore user in the legal team, that probably doesn’t want to use Sitecore, but has to. To keep their life simple, Sitecore enables businesses to create a very restricted role with a view that only displays tasks they need to action.

Sitecore workflow items

Workflow is defined, like almost everything in Sitecore, as an Item. If you use Sitecore already, you may not have seen them – they are configuration style items that should be hidden away. But there are modifiable from within the CMS. That means workflows can be created and updated without the need for deployments (most of the time).

A workflow item is just a container for three other types of items:

States: Items move through workflow state towards the final state. A workflow must have a beginning and end state as a minimum.

Commands: These are the instructions to move an item from one state to another

Actions: Things that happen to an item when in a particular state

In our example we might have four states:

  1. Editing
  2. Reviewing
  3. Translating
  4. Published

Commands may be submitted for review, accept, reject, send to translation or submitted for publishing. Actions may be ‘Send to Translation Service’ and ‘Auto Publish’.

We can use these items to send emails notifying people that they have items to work on so that the process can be as slick as possible. One of the great things about Sitecore is that you can take this as far as you like, all of this is extensible and customisable.

How does Sitecore handle translation workflows?

Sitecore is designed to be integrated with other platforms. Translation services are no different. Many come with pre-built adaptors that help them seamlessly integrate, but even if it is to be a bespoke integration it shouldn’t be too hard. With a good workflow and integration, approved content can be automatically sent for translation and auto published when it is complete

How Sitecore workflow works with workbox

The last great workflow feature in Sitecore that makes users lifers easier is the workbox. Sitecore workbox is a curated feed of items that need the logged-in user’s attention. Some users may only ever see the workbox. When they log in it will pop up and present them with the items they need to approve, publish, fix or enhance. The actions that can be performed for any of these items are displayed so that the user can do their job quickly and efficiently.

Find out how your organisation can benefit from using Sitecore workflow

To learn in more detail how your organisation could get more out of your Sitecore website – get in touch. We’re a long-standing top tier Sitecore Partner, with decades of experience in helping enterprises leverage the Sitecore platform to achieve their digital strategy goals. Not currently using Sitecore? Book a Sitecore demo today to learn how your organisation could benefit from the leading global platform.