What is a workflow owner used for?

1 06 2010

When creating new workflow configurations in AX one of the first fields that you are required to fill in named ‘Owner’. But what exactly is the use of this field?

For those of you have been using workflow for a while you have probably started to find some of these uses. But for those of you who haven’t found them yet here are my observations:

Definition of a workflow owner: The owner of a workflow configuration is the user within Dynamics who is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and ensuring that workflow instances run smoothly and are completed in a timeous manner.

Pre-requisites for workflow owner users:

  1. Must be a user in Dynamics AX.
  2. Must be an active user (necessary for creating the configuration and receiving notifications etc about failed workflows).
    NB: making the user inactive after setting them as the workflow owner will work, but nobody will then be aware if issues arise.
  3. Must be linked to an employee (otherwise errors will occur stating the user has no relationship defined)
  4. Should have email alerts activated and correct email address setup (user options form) so that they can receive notifications of workflow issues.

Functions of workflow owners:

  1. Modify the workflow configuration.
  2. Receives notifications/alerts about webservice failures.
  3. Receives notifications/alerts about workitem failures.
  4. Can be used for assignment when using the role based option (assign to Workflow Owner)
  5. Can be used for escalation of workitems. E.g. If the work-item has not been actioned then it is the responsibility of the workflow owner to approve or reject.
  6. Can be chosen as the “Start From” user when using Heirarchy based assignment.
  7. Can be chosen as the recipient of custom workflow/workitem notifications e.g. Completed, Started, Stopped etc…
  8. Can be used as a field in workitem instructions, subjects and emails.

So far these are the uses and functions of the workflow owner that I have found through my wanderings in workflow configurations. Please feel free to add to this list or provide corrections where necessary.

Happy Wanderings


Workflow Escalation: The iterator does not designate a valid element

12 04 2010

Today I came across an interesting scenario within Dynamics AX workflow as a result of a forum user’s question. When one sets up a workflow to escalate using a role based model to ‘Work item owner’ the workitem will fail when the due date arrives with a stop error of ‘The iterator does not designate a valid element’.

Logically what is happening is that workflow is trying to escalate the workitem back to the person who is currently assigned to the workitem (I’m not sure whether this is desired behaviour or not). The internal code in SysWorkflowEventDispatcher seems to not allow for the ‘Work item owner’ option to ever be resolved properly. unfortunately there doesn’t appear to any fix as yet to this issue.  Hypothetically speaking one of the following should happen:

1) The workflow configuration form should not allow for the option to select: escalate to Work Item Owner or
2) The code should allow for workitems to be escalated to the workitem owner (not recommended) or
3) A valid error message should be provided.

Choose an alternate way of escalating your workitems.

I hope this helps.

P.S. You can choose to escalate to the ‘Workflow Owner’ and it will resolve correctly even if the currently assigned user is the workflow owner.

Remember to change your workflow owner

15 01 2010

Although Dynamics AX Workflow configuration form does check whether the user that you selected as the workflow owner is an active user when you create your configuration. Workflow will continue happily if the workflow owner is made inactive at a later stage, so ensure if your workflow owner resigns etc, that you update it so that at least somebody will be notified if things go wrong.

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