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Formotus Workflows Using Google Sheets or SharePoint

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Joe is serial entrepreneur who has been a pioneer in a variety of emerging technologies, including creating one of the 1st digital media companies at the advent of the Internet.

FORMOTUS WORKFLOWS USING GOOGLE SHEET OR SHAREPOINT

Formotus has added Formotus workflows to the Formotus creator for our customers who subscribe to the Enterprise Plan.  Now you can use Google Sheets or SharePoint as a backend and set up powerful workflows.  The Formotus client app that you can download for free from the app stores, has a client-side workflow built right in. This blog will show you how easy it is to create workflows that enable managers to assign jobs/tasks to their mobile users, leveraging SharePoint or Google Sheets to operate a “mobile dispatch console” powered by Formotus workflows.    Once the mobile user has finished collecting the data in their Formotus workflow form they will submit their data to your Google Sheet or SharePoint backend.  You can create reports and graphs with the submitted data.  [We will cover using Google Sheets first.  Scroll down if you want to learn about Formotus workflow using SharePoint as your backend.]

FORMOTUS WORKFLOWS USING GOOGLE SHEETS

To set up a Formotus workflow, you will create 2 versions of the Formotus workflow form based on the same form template.  One version of the form (job assignment version, named “Inspection Form” in this example) will be used to create and assign jobs to mobile users of the second version (mobile users’ version, named “Mobile Inspection” in this example) of the Formotus workflow form.  A manager or someone in the back office will open the job assignment version of the form on their desktop or any iOS, Android or Windows 10 device to assign jobs to mobile users.  When the mobile users open the Formotus software on their device they will see the list of jobs that have been assigned to them.  The mobile user selects a job from the list and pulls that job off of the server onto their device.  The job is “checked out” so no one else can work on it.  When the user completes the job, they submit it back to the server where the data will appear in your Google Sheet.

Best practice:  Before beginning to create your Formotus workflow form, set up a Google Folder and Google Sheet within your Google Drive.

Step 1. Create your Formotus form – Create a form with the Formotus form creator and add a data connector so that it submits to Google Sheets.  Below is the Formotus Google submit wizard.  Below the graphic is a list of the information you need to fill into the wizard.

Google data connector

Name: This is the name of the data connector, for example, ‘Inspection Form Google Submit’

Folder URL:  Copy and paste your Google Folder URL here.  Be sure to get the shareable link, and choose ‘can edit’ instead of ‘can view’.  Also, make sure the folder/sheet are set to share.  You will want to share this sheet with any mobile user that will have the Formotus workflow form deployed to them.

Authenticate:  Select the Authenticate button.  This will prompt you for your Google credentials if you are not already signed in.  You must also allow pop-ups for this authentication to work.

Spreadsheet:  Once your Google account is authenticated, you can select the spreadsheet you want to submit to in the dropdown menu.

Sheet Name:  This will likely be ‘Sheet1’, but if you have multiple Google Sheets, you can select which Google Sheet you’d like to submit to.  Remember the Google Sheet name is not the title of the Google Sheet, it is the name of the tab at the bottom of the Google Sheet that you want to submit to.

File Name:  You can leave this default, but feel free to rename the file name to whatever you like.  This will be the name of the submitted instances in your Google Sheet.

Use this destination to submit from device menu:  This checkbox option is helpful if you don’t have a submit button in your form, or if you want to give your users another way to submit.  This allows your users to submit the form by selecting the menu button rather than a submit button. Best practice, however, is to have a submit button.

What happens to the form after submit:  If you selected the ‘Use this destination to submit from device menu’ checkbox above, you have the option to choose what you’d like to happen when submitting.  You have three options after submitting: Close, Keep Open, or Open New (blank draft).

Select fields to promote in the sheet (optional): To make your form more organized, it is recommended to rename your field names before promoting them to make your data more clear.  By default, a field name example would be ‘textbox1’, but you may want to rename it to something that matches the control’s label.  The field names will show up in your Google Sheet as column names.  To change field names, find the Fields tab in the right panel of the screen.  Select one of the fields to see the Properties option where you can change the Field Name.

Change field names

Step 2. Create the mobile user version of your Formotus workflow form – Once your Formotus workflow form is created, go to the Forms page in the Formotus portal.  Click the checkbox to select the Formotus workflow form.  You will notice options will appear in the right panel of the screen.  Select the +Workflow button.

Add workflow to Formotus form

The wizard will prompt you to create a name for your Formotus workflow form.  This version of the Formotus form will be deployed to your mobile users/field workers will see on their devices, so the name should descriptive (e.g. Mobile Inspection).  After giving the form a name, authenticate using your credentials if you’re not already logged in, and select CREATE WORKFLOW.

workflow wizard

Step 3. Configure your workflow form – On the page shown, you can customize your workflow form to your specifications.

configure Formotus workflow form

You don’t need to fill out every filter on this page, but it is recommended to at least Filter by job status for workflows.  One example of this would be to add a checkbox in your form and label it ‘Job Completed’.  As long as the checkbox isn’t checked, the job will be available for field workers to grab and enter data.  If the job is finished, the field worker can select this checkbox before submitting to tell the back office the job is done.  Also, the job will disappear from the list of available waiting jobs so they can move on to the next job.

filter by job status

Step 4. Deploy your form – When finished creating your workflow, select SAVE SETTINGS at the bottom of the workflow configuration page.  You will be prompted to deploy your form, it is suggested to do this to view the form on your device.

select form to deploy

Step 5. Deploy your Formotus workflow form – On the  Forms page in the Formotus portal your Formotus workflow form will have the green workflow icon next to the form name.  The workflow version of your Formotus forms (green icon) is the form that you will deploy to your mobile users.

list of mobile inspection forms

FORMOTUS WORKFLOW USING GOOGLE SHEETS IN ACTION

To assign a job to a mobile user, you will deploy the workflow job assignment form (Inspection Form/blue icon) to your device or anyone who will assign jobs.   Open the form on your device, create a job, assign it to a mobile user and submit.

Formotus inspection form on iOS

assign job number for workflow form

The jobs that you assign to mobile users will show up in the Formotus forms list on your mobile users’ devices.  The mobile user will “grab” the job which checks it out and loads the form with the job assignment onto their device.  Once a job is checked out, the mobile user’s username appears in the Google Sheet listing who is working on the job.  While checked out, no one else can work on the job.

Mobile User Sees Jobs Waiting in Workflow Form

job waiting for mobile user

Mobile User Views Jobs Details

view job details

Mobile User Grabbed/Checked Out Job

grab job pull onto device check out of Google Sheet

Below is an example of data submitted to a Google Sheet.  The promoted fields transfer to the sheet with data filled out by mobile users.  Note that Google Sheets shows that the job on the bottom of the list is checked out by ‘user@example.com’.

Submit Formotus workflow form to Google Sheet

The submitted data can be used to create reports, graphs or charts in your Google Sheet.

BI, charts, graphs, reports

FORMOTUS WORKFLOWS USING SHAREPOINT

Formotus workflow enables you to use a SharePoint library as a “mobile dispatch center”.  A Formotus workflow form can be pushed back and forth to SharePoint and to different mobile workers until the job (form) is completed.  The workflow can be customized so that a specific worker or workers will see the job in a list of forms on their mobile device. It is available to be grabbed from SharePoint by any mobile user who it has been assigned to.  Each time a job is grabbed by a mobile user, it is checked out of SharePoint so only that person can work on it until it is submitted back to SharePoint.  The form can be checked in and out of SharePoint so that other users of the form can add data to it.

To set up a Formotus workflow, you will create 2 versions of the Formotus workflow form based on the same form template.  One version of the form (job assignment version) will be used to create and assign jobs to mobile users of the second version (mobile users’ version) of the Formotus workflow form.  A manager or someone in the back office will open the job assignment version of the form on their desktop or any iOS, Android or Windows 10 device to assign jobs to mobile users.  When the mobile users open the Formotus software on their device they will see the list of jobs that have been assigned to them.  The mobile user selects a job from the list and pulls that job off of the server onto their device.  The job is “checked out” so no one else can work on it.  When the user completes the job, they submit it back to the server where the data will appear in your SharePoint server (any version, on premise or Office 365).

HOW TO SET UP A FORMOTUS WORKFLOW FORM USING SHAREPOINT

First you will create a Formotus form that has a data connector to submit to SharePoint to use as the template for your Formotus workflow form.  There are 3 easy steps that the data connector wizard will take you through.

Step 1. In your Formotus form, in the right pane of your screen, select +DATA DESTINATION under the Submit tab.

Formotus portal dashboard data destination button

Step 2: Select SharePoint library as the new data destination, followed by the NEXT button.

data destination wizard for SharePoint

Step 3. Complete the SharePoint library data destination.

submit data to SharePoint library

Name: You can create any name you like for the data connector in your Formotus form.

SharePoint URL: Paste your SharePoint URL here; make sure that it is a SharePoint library URL.

Authentication: There are 2 authentication methods to select from Standard or Custom. Choosing Standard authentication requires you to add the credentials for your SharePoint server.  Custom authentication does not require any credentials.  However, if you choose this setting, it requires that the Federated Login option needs to be activated on your SharePoint account. (Learn more about Standard and Custom SharePoint authentication.)

CONNECT: Enter your SharePoint credentials to the specified SharePoint library and select CONNECT. This connects you to your SharePoint library, allowing you to select the desired library in the Select library dropdown.

Attach credentials: Attaching user credentials (learn how to attach credentials here) in your form eliminates the need for mobile users to enter SharePoint credentials on their device. The credentials are encrypted in the Formotus mobile form, so none of your mobile users will be able to see what the credentials are.

File name: You have the freedom to customize the File name or leave it as the default name, which will have the name of the Formotus form and a timestamp.

Allow to overwrite if the file exists: Checking this box will cause a draft of a Formotus form that is submitted with the same name as an existing Formotus form with the same name to overwrite the existing file.  The recommended best practice is to check this box.

Use this destination to submit from device menu: Checking this box will allow mobile users to submit to this data destination from the Formotus mobile client software on the users’ device (Android, iOS, Windows) menu. [Note:  Although, users can submit forms from the Formotus mobile app’s device menu, Formotus strongly recommends as a best practice to include a Submit button in all forms to improve usability for your mobile users.]

Upload PDF: You can upload a PDF version of your Formotus form to the SharePoint library of your choice.  To do this, select the Upload PDF checkbox and copy/paste your SharePoint document library in the textbox.  After submitting your form, you will find the PDFs at the specified SharePoint URL.

What happens to the form after submit: Select what action you’d prefer after the form has been submitted off a mobile device. Submitted form options include; Close, Keep Open or Open New.  Typically, you would keep Close selected.  This dropdown will be read-only unless the checkbox Use this destination to submit from device menu is selected.

Mapping Options / PROMOTE FIELDS: This optional function allows you to set mapping and promote fields in your SharePoint library. The fields you choose to promote will show as columns in your SharePoint library. Pictured below is an example of how the promoted fields translate to columns in SharePoint.  You can see form fields Name, Inspection_Site, and Job_Completed show with the same labels in the SharePoint library once a completed draft is submitted from a mobile user’s device.

Now that your Formotus form submits to SharePoint, select your form from the list of Formotus forms on the Forms page.  Note the button to add +Workflow to your Formotus form.

add workflow to Formotus form

Select the +Workflow button to open the Create workflow wizard.

adding workflow to inspection form

Workflow Form name: This is the process of creating another form that the mobile users will see on their device(s).  The original form, Inspection Form, is the dispatcher form, which is used by the person who creates the jobs, where this form is for your mobile workers.  I’ll name this form Inspection Form – Workflow.

SharePoint Information: Enter SharePoint credentials that have access to your library, and select Attach credentials if you do not want your mobile users to be prompted to enter SharePoint credentials each time they submit data they collect in your Formotus form. [Note: that the credentials are encrypted so none of your mobile users can see them.]  Then, select the CREATE WORKFLOW button to configure your workflow.

workflow configuration for inspection form

RECOMMENDED FIELDS: There are a number of fields we recommend you add to your workflow.  If you want to add anything to your form before finishing the workflow, select the EDIT FORM button as seen above to continue to design your Formotus form.

Memo line: This memo will show in the list of Formotus forms on your mobile users’ devices to provide them some information about the job.  In this example, I’ll make it the Job Number textbox field, so when the user looks at their form list on their device, they will see the Job Number.

add job number to memo line

Job assigned to: You can assign the job to a specific mobile user or check the box to allow all mobile users to see the job on their device. When you assign a job to a group anyone in the group can check out the Formotus form.

filtering by job assigned to

Filter by job status: Set up a trigger so that if a field has a specific value, the job will be considered completed. That job will then be unavailable for mobile users.  In the example shown, we are using a checkbox to indicate that the job is completed.  Since a checkbox only has 2 values, True (checked) and False (unchecked), when the JobCompleted checkbox is selected and submitted, that job will no longer be available to grab by other workers.  The rule below reads: If the field, JobCompleted (checkbox), is equal to false (unchecked), show all available jobs.  Note: In the checkbox properties, you can change the value to be 1 (checked), and 0 (unchecked).

filter workflow form by job status

With workflow set up, select SAVE SETTINGS at the bottom of the page.

save settings

Then select YES to advance to the deployment page to deploy the Formotus workflow form to your mobile users.

deploy workflow form button

select workflow form to deploy

On the Forms page, you will notice the Inspection Form–Workflow form checkbox appears in a new column and has a green icon to indicate that it is a Formotus workflow form.

FORMOTUS WORKFLOW USING SHAREPOINT IN ACTION

To assign a job to a mobile user, you will deploy the workflow job assignment form (Inspection Form/blue icon) to your device or anyone who will assign jobs.   Open the form on your device, create a job, assign it to a mobile user and submit.

workflow job assignment inspection mobile form

assign job to mobile user

After submitting the form, it will appear in your SharePoint library as a newly created job.

inspection form in sharepoint library

The jobs that you assign to mobile users will show up in the Formotus forms list on your mobile users’ devices.  The mobile user will “grab” the job which checks it out and loads the form with the job assignment onto their device.  Once a job is checked out, the mobile user’s username appears in the Google Sheet listing who is working on the job.  While checked out, no one else can work on the job.

Mobile User Sees Jobs Waiting in Workflow Form

mobile inspection workflow form

Mobile User Views Jobs Details

mobile inspection form details

Mobile User Grabbed/Checked Out Job

one workflow job grabbed

Mobile user who have the Formotus workflow form loaded on their device will see a list of jobs available.  Mobile users have the option to Grab Item or Grab and Open Item.  Once grabbed a job is checked out from SharePoint.  No one else can grab that job until it is checked back in.

Once mobile users download the jobs assigned to them for the day, they are ready to work offline with Wi-Fi or LTE for their whole shift.  Once the mobile user has completed their part of the form  they can check it back into SharePoint or assign it to someone else on the team for their input.  Formotus workflow forms can be checked out/in by anyone you give permissions to.  The green check mark icon indicates that the job has been checked out.

workflow inspection mobile form checked out When one of the mobile users in the workflow checks the Job Completed checkbox and presses the Submit button, the job will appear in SharePoint as a completed job.  The JobCompleted column now equals True.

Formotus workflow form submitted to SharePoint

 

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