Intermediate | Flow of The Week: Automate Mass Company Communications with Page Approval Flow in SharePoint Online

Hey Flow fans!  Are you looking to Work Less and Do More?  You have come to the right place! 

 

The Flow in this article from Michelle Gilbert will show how you can use Page Approval Flow in SharePoint Online to create an approval process that post news items on your intranet and extend them to all the other communication locations your company uses including Email, Yammer, and Teams.

Goal

Be efficient and productive with your time by creating one News Post in SharePoint Online and upon Approval - automate the communication to publish to your SharePoint Intranet, send company email, post to All Company group in Yammer and Microsoft Teams Channel.

Connectors

Be sure you have username and passwords for all of these connectors used in the Flow before you get started: Approvals, Notifications, Office 365 Outlook, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer.

Let's get started!

Go to your Company Intranet in SharePoint Online -> Site Contents -> Site Pages.

Note: Assuming you are using a modern page with a News Web Part for your home page. Page approval flows are currently available on SharePoint communication sites and modern team sites only.

 

Click on Create Flow and select Configure page approval flow.

 
The right-hand slide-out panel opens. Click Create flow button.

 

 
Fill in the Flow name and add an Approver(s). Click Create.

 

 
SharePoint will confirm Page approval flow created and adds an Approval Status column.  By default, creating the Flow automatically approves existing pages but all new pages will use the Page Approval Flow.

 

 
You can confirm your Flow was created by visiting http://flow.microsoft.com and signing in.  The Flow will be listed under My Flows. Click on the Flow.

 

 
Review the Flow and fix any connections that show as red or broken connections.

 

 
Review Users and Groups Owners and Connections to confirm you have connected.

 

 
Review SharePoint Owners.  When you create the Flow from SharePoint, the site url and list/library name automatically gets added.

 

 
Now that you have confirmed your Flow and connector permissions, go back to your Company Intranet in SharePoint Online.  Click on the symbol (+) Add to create a News post.

 

 
Create your News post.  Name your post, add an image and a text web part.

 

 
After you have filled in your News post you will see a new button on the right-hand side called "Submit for approval".  Click on the button.

 

 
The right-hand Flow panel slides out.  Review the connectors and fix (highlighted in red) if needed, click continue. 

 

 
Add a message for the approver and click Submit.

 

 
A new button will appear called "Review approvals" for you to review the approval status.

 

 
The Approval Status of the News post which is the same as a site page shows "Pending" in the SharePoint Site Pages library.

 

 
The Flow should have triggered, let's go take a look!
 
Note: You should not have to make any changes.  If your connectors are working there is nothing you need to do.

 

 
The Flow did trigger on new News Post so now the approver has a few ways to approve: Approval slide-out panel in SharePoint Online, 

 

 
Flow Approval panel located in Flow,

 

 
And finally, in the Approvers email inbox.

 

 
As you can see the approver can approve or reject a few ways.  When approve or reject is selected a comments box appears which can be written back to SharePoint and sent to the requestor.  Add a comment and select submit.

 

 
After submitting, the Approver will see the updated confirmation of the approval request.  

 

 
The requestor of the site page will receive an email letting them know the page was approved or rejected and, in this case, Approved.

 

 
The Site Pages Approval Status column in SharePoint automatically changes to approved or rejected and again, in this case, Approved.

 

 
The News post automatically publishes to the Company Intranet.  Visit the home page to view the News post added to the Intranet.

 

 

This is the simple Flow to automate Page Approval Flow in SharePoint Online. 

 

Well that's cool, but I also have to communicate to my Team and through Email and post to Yammer too.

Why don't we automate all our mass communications with Flow!

 
Let's get in and edit this Flow to add new connections. We will start with adding an action "Post Message" from Yammer to All company group. In the message text, we will add Title and Description from the SharePoint dynamic content.

 

 
Next, we will add Microsoft Teams action "Post Message" and send to the general channel with the Title in the message field and any other comments.  You could also add this action to the Rejected side, informing Team page was rejected and to take action. 

 

 
Another popular communication vehicle for companies is email.  Let's create the email connector by adding the O365 email action "Send an Email".  Depending on your permissions, you can send to your entire company and even send on behalf of a mailbox like Marketing.  You could also design the email to have the title in the subject and description in the body of the email.

 

 

Here is the final approval Flow.  Condition Request is equal to Approve, if yes, update the SharePoint column status to Approved, post to Yammer, post a message in Microsoft Teams, send an email to all company and Send an email to the requestor to inform them of the status of the request. Click Save your Flow.

 

 

Let's test the Flow.  Visit the Company Intranet in SharePoint Online.

Create your News post.  Name your post, add an image and add a text web part. Click Submit for approval button.

 

 
Confirm the connectors and select Continue.

 

 
Add your message and click Submit.

 

 
The approval like before, will be on the slide-out panel in SharePoint Online, in email and in the Flow approval panel for the approver to take action.  In this case we use the Flow approver panel in Flow, click approve and type in the comments. Select the Confirm button to approve the News Post.

 

 
Once approved, the News Post automatically publishes to the SharePoint Online Company Intranet like before.

 

 
The News item also posts to the All Company group in Yammer.

 

 
The News Post is also sent to the Microsoft Teams channel to let the group know the article has been posted.

 

 
And finally, the News post is sent via email to the entire company. 

 

Conclusion

Automating mass company communication using the Page Approval Flow can be invaluable as you try to connect to all the locations where employees prefer to consume and digest company information. This Flow is a real time saver for Communications, Marketing, Human Resources and other departments. No more duplicating efforts and having multiple people write in different spaces. Automate your communications with Microsoft Flow and make your work more efficient and productive. Work Less, Do More!

 

Hope you enjoyed the Flow!

 

Resources

Announcing SharePoint Page Approvals: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SharePoint/Announcing-SharePoint-page-approvals/m-p/215466#M19709

 

Documentation

Configure Page approval: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/configure-page-approval-14ce6976-a0a7-427b-b4ab-d28d344a5222

Page Approval Flow: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/page-approval-flow-a8b2e689-d4a1-4639-8028-333c0ece30d9

Flow of the Week: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/category/flow-of-the-week/