Take Full Control over Your Flow Approvals

Posted by

In my session ‘Take Full Control over Your Flow Approvals with Common Data Service for Apps‘ at the Power Platform Summit in Amsterdam I shared my ideas and concepts to take control over Flow Approvals in & with the Power Platform. Now it’s time to create a real Approval app. So let’s get started.

The fact is that Flow Approvals are part of the Common Data Service for Apps (CDS). Let me show you. When you create a new environment and database (CDS) you get two default solutions. Once you’ve added an Approval action in Flow and run it for the first time, two more solutions are added.

Fresh CDS with two default solutions
After the Approvals solutions are deployed

If you look at the list of entities after that, you will notice there are several related to Approvals. This means that the configuration and transaction data of Flow Approvals is stored / available in the CDS.
With my background in Dynamics 365 CE, I started investigating these entities and their settings.

My observations:
– Enabled for Business Proces Flows
– Auditing is enabled
– Change tracking is enabled (for Flow)
– Ownership is based on User or Team, so we can set the permissions with security roles.

We can use these entities in Workflows and Business Proces Flows.

And we are able to apply Business Rules, including for the Entity scope (server-side validation).

These are restricted system entities, so it’s difficult to customize them. So let’s get personal.
I’ve created a model-driven app and added the Approval related entities to the site map. It is possible to add your personal views, charts and dashboards for these entities. In this way we’re able to create our own central Approval dashboard for monitoring Flow Approvals.

7 comments

    1. Hi Dustin,
      No, you don’t need Dynamics 365 for this. You can use the default environment of your tenant where CDS is also active.
      You can run the CDS connectors using a service principal without the need of a license. See: https://blog.davidyack.com/using-service-principal-with-cds-connector/
      You need a PowerApps Plan 2 license to create a custom entity or to build model- driven apps. More info:
      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/common-data-service/data-platform-entity-licenses

  1. Hi Stefan – looks like approvals have changes since this article
    I don’t see the business process flow enabled in my approval entity
    Also I can’t customise the approval entities as you’ve done in a model app

    1. Hi Sumair,
      You’re right, the customization of the approval entities is not possible anymore. But adding them to a model-driven app and create personal views is still possible.
      And I’m able to select the Approval entity when I create a new Business Process Flow, so it seems.

      Create a new BPF for the Approval entity

  2. Thanks for prompt response Stefan – could you kindly elaborate on the views? I tried creating a view within a model-app but it doesn’t let me save it. My aim is to give users a place (other than approval email) where they can see their approvals and accept/reject.

    1. Hi Sumair,
      You can’t add public views to the approval entities, only personal views from the running model-driven app itself and share them with other users.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.