Thursday, July 15, 2010

Purchasing Workflow Approval Problems

Issue Source: Atlas Helpdesk, Workshops

Affected Parties: Country Offices, Headquarters

Categorization: Efficiency – Lack of System Capabilities

  1. Stuck Workflow

Since Atlas went live, users have repeatedly had problems with purchase orders that cannot be approved by valid approvers. The workflow in many cases appears to be stuck in process. The same problems do not occur for other workflow, such as voucher approval workflow. The Atlas help desk sees numerous cases of this problem. Further, it has been mentioned at various regional workshops.

Often the workflow can be reset a processed successfully by increasing then decreasing the amount of the purchase order by a small amount (known as the “penny trick”). But other times, it cannot be resolved and the case has to be submitted to the workflow team for final resolution.

This issue has been a major point of dissatisfaction with Atlas for the user community. While some investigative work has been done over the past two years, there still has not been a final determination of what is causing the problem.

  1. Inability to approve for lower levels

The workflow for Atlas was intentionally set to allow higher level approvers to approve documents at lower approval levels. For example, a senior manager should still be able to approve a PO or voucher for 1000 USD. However, in the past year, this logic started to not work in some situations. Often, higher level approvers are no longer able to approve lower level documents. This is increasing the number of help desk cases and has required the security to be involved in the approval. Further investigation needs to be done by the workflow team as to the cause of this issue.

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