There are various features in the Intershop Commerce Suite 7 that could use an approval workflow (e.g., approving customers after registration, approving orders in B2B scenarios etc). These workflows can vary widely from project to project and may even have to be handled by an external system. To enable this level of customization an Approval Service has been introduced.
Currently the service is used in the standard IS7 to implement the B2B order approval.
The diagram below shows a simplified approval workflow. For more detailed information on how to implement the approval service to cover the business requirements of the said approval workflow, refer to the section System Integration.
The approval workflow pictured above could be described as following:
Albeit the workflow is very simple it indicates clearly the goals that are set by introducing the approval service.
Keep these goals in mind when going through next sections.
The most common need for approval workflows is that the actual workflow happens somewhere else. Most of the companies out there already are using an approval engine for their every day work and chances are you would have to integrate one of those rather than doing it from scratch. From a system integration point of view we could distinguish two obvious sides - the Intershop platform and an external system.
The following diagram shows how an order approval workflow would look like using the Approval Service.
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