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SharePoint 2013 / Office 365: How to develop an out of box Helpdesk Approval Workflow


In this series, I am going to walkthrough how to leverage SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online for Office 365 to develop a Helpdesk system with out of box features.

For this walkthrough, I am using SharePoint Online for Office 365. But the same approach will be applicable for SharePoint 2013 on-premise also.

Helpdesk System Flow Diagram


Completed Helpdesk Workflow Outline


Helpdesk System User Groups

I have created a new Helpdesk site using team site template and the system will have a three set of target audiences. So I have created the following user groups in Helpdesk site.


I have created a Helpdesk list for capturing user requests and also have created a Tasks list for tracking the user requests.


Data Type


Single line of text


Multiple lines of text


Note: This is an incomplete list, I will add the required columns later for completing this whole system.

Create a Helpdesk Approval Workflow

Now we will create a list based workflow Helpdesk WF using SharePoint designer. We can create a workflow either Text-based or Visual designer in SharePoint Designer 2013.

Earlier I wrote a simple Document Approval workflow based on Visual designer using SharePoint Designer 2013. But here we are going to develop a complex workflow with detailed walkthrough.

  1. Open the SharePoint Designer 2013 using the Helpdesk team site URL.
  2. In the left navigation, select the Workflows and then select the List Workflow dropdown in the top ribbon bar. In the dropdown list, click the Helpdesk item.
  3. Create List Workflow window will be opened.
  4. Enter the name of the Workflow Helpdesk WF and choose the platform type SharePoint 2013 Workflow. (Note: By default this option will not be available in SharePoint 2013 on-premises. We can find here on how to install and configure Windows Azure Workflow platform).
  5. Double click the Helpdesk WF in the right pane and please make sure the following details are mapped correctly.


  6. Edit the Helpdesk WF workflow
  7. As per our flow diagram, helpdesk ticket will be created by Employees and will be approved by IT Team and then it will be implemented by L1 / L2 Support Team. So our workflow will have to create the following stages

    a). Waiting for IT Admin Approval

    b). Request Clarification

    c). Respond Clarification

    d). Assign for Implementation

    e). Assign for Verification

    f). Reopen the Request

    g). Complete the Request

    Now we will see how to implement the first stage Waiting for IT Admin Approval

Stage: Waiting for IT Admin Approval

We assume that, employee1 is creating a helpdesk ticket to install an anti-virus to his machine. On submitting the ticket, the new task needs to be created and it should be assigned to IT Admin Team group. We will see here how to do that.

  1. After editing the Helpdesk WF workflow, in the top ribbon bar, select the Visual Designer in Views dropdown.
  2. In the left pane, select the Containers and Terminators – SharePoint 2013 Workflow and then drag and drop the Stage container.
  3. Double click the Stage 1 and rename to Waiting for IT Admin Approval
  4. In the left pane, select the Actions – SharePoint 2013 Workflow and then drag and drop the Assign a Task activity inside the stage called Waiting for IT Admin Approval.
  5. Double click the Assign a Task activity and rename it Assign a Task to IT Admin.
  6. Select the Task Settings on mouse over the Assign a Task to IT Admin activity.
  7. Select the IT Admin group for Participant box.
  8. Set the Task Title to Please approve this task
  9. The final output looks like below, 2014-01-26_05

Now save and publish the workflow.

Verify the Approval Workflow

  1. Open the Helpdesk team site URL
  2. Open the Helpdesk list.
  3. Create the new ticket and output will be looks like,


Click the link Waiting for IT Admin Approval to see the workflow history



In the next post, we will see that how to create the custom action for the each stage.

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Comments (1) -

  • Ben Clark

    6/28/2015 4:44:48 PM | Reply

    SharePoint 2013 / Office 365: How to develop an out of box Helpdesk Approval Workflow

    I'd like to build this workflow, do you have a complete guide?



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