The world of approvals has gotten richer and more complex in the last year or two. Here’s a summary of your options.
‘Legacy’ Approval Processes
We informally use the word “Legacy” here at Salesforce when talking about Approval Processes, the classic technology available in Setup at no additional cost:
In evolutionary terms, if you’ll permit a digression, the alligator is often called out as an animal that hasn’t evolved at all in hundreds of millions of years and continues to do well in its ecological niche. Legacy Approval Processes is something of an alligator. It’s very old, fairly ugly, and highly effective. Salesforce has stopped active development on this technology, just like it stopped active development on Workflow Rules. The simple reason is that the twenty year-old architecture of those services is hard to work with today, and it’s costly to make changes to those products because the changes cannot be used anywhere else. To increase the rate of innovation (think: new features), we’ve needed to focus on a smaller number of technological platforms, and that means a focus on Flow. Legacy Approval Processes does not make use of Flow technology.
We even added a new feature to Legacy Approval Processes: As of Summer ’22, you can receive approval notifications in Slack.
There are no plans to end-of-life Legacy Approval Processes, but don’t expect any more new features.
- Unlimited usage without additional license costs
- Currently has the strongest set of Approval-related features
- Inflexible (Hard to customize)
- Can’t leverage Flow capabilities like screen flows
- Hard to incorporate into more sophisticated business processes
Approvals in Flow Orchestration
Flow Orchestration provides a powerful new foundation for the creation of approval processes. As shown in these early tutorials, it’s easy to set up an Interactive Step in an Orchestration Stage that’s assigned to an approver. Orchestration will quietly wait until the approver takes action, and then wake up.
Think about Orchestration as a powerful new application platform that lets you build sophisticated business processes that include approvals. As a paid product, it’s overkill for simple one step approvals. In addition, it lacks many of the approvals-centric features of Legacy Approval Processes, such as built-in support for Delegate Approvers.
Where Orchestration really shines is in its flexibility. Want to create an approval with several stages of parallel approvals? Straightforward. Want to customize the screens that the approvers see, and the information on those screens? Straightforward. Want to add timers that ensure that if an approval step isn’t completed, an alternative fall back is used? Straightforward.
In this orchestration by German solar company Eigensonne, multiple approvals are nested in the larger business process (shown in red, below):
- Maximum flexibility
- Futureproof: Flow and Orchestration are the future of Salesforce automation
- Mix other parts of a business process in with the approval parts
- Dynamic assignment of approvers
- Uses Screen Flows to provide customized approval requests
- Must be purchased separately (beyond annual 600 run allocation)
- Takes more work to setup initial orchestrations
- Missing some of the built-in features of Legacy Approval Processes
- Steeper learning curve
Approval Orchestrator by Forcelution Apps
Approval Orchestrator is a paid, supported application that has been developed to run on top of Flow Orchestration. It takes the advantages of Flow Orchestration and eliminates many of the disadvantages. Learn more here.