Travel Blog

 Stage 2 Results & 
Stage 3 Requirements 

 (Microsoft Power Platform® Community App Challenge) 

Stage 2 is over. A Big Round of Applause to All!  

An amazing set of solutions were submitted by the participants in this stage, and after carefully evaluating all the entries submitted for Stage 2, the Judges have made the following decision:

Stage 2 Runners Up:

Each of the following participants has been awarded a FREE perpetual AgileXRM License for 50 Users. They are invited to stay around and benefit from the final Stage findings! 

-Listed in alphabetical order-

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Ifeanyi Aja
Nigeria

Stage2_Iulia.png

Iulia-Mihaela Iordan
Romania

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Marcin Siewnicki
Poland

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Matt Finley
United States

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Sanjay Prakash (MVP)

India

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Subhajyoti Majumdar

India

Congratulations to the Stage 3 Participants!

After online sessions between the candidates and the Judges, it is time to Congratulate the participants that have been selected to enter the final phase of the Challenge:

-Listed in alphabetical order-

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Elliot Fraser

United Kingdom

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Heba Kamal (MVP)
Saudi Arabia

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Summit Bajracharya (MVP)

Nepal

 

The Travel Request Approval App

Stage 3: Change Requests
 

We all know business requirements are not static. They are liquid and change constantly. And in most cases, they become more complex. So the solution should be able to cater for these changes and of course, these changes should not adversely affect anything which is already running and in-progress.

For the Challenge, business wants these Change Requests implemented:

1. Change in the Approval Rules

If Level 1 approval was not skipped, then either Department Manager or CFO can Approve Level 2. But if Level 1 approval was skipped, then only Department Manager needs to approve Level 2.

 

2. Optimize Approval Process

Business notices that CEO is always very busy and there is a bottleneck of Requests waiting for her approval. Also, approvers need reminders! So, business has decided the following changes to streamline the approval process:

 

  • To lighten the workload, CEO Approval is not needed for any Request below $5000 and they are considered automatically approved, but keep a record of it

  • Send Line Manager, Department Manager, CFO and CEO a notification email with: Approval Needed for Travel Request for [REQUESTERNAME] for [PURPOSE]

  • Give any approver a deadline of 2 business days to make a decision from the time they receive the request in their inbox.
    Business time is assumed to be Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm, so weekends and public Holidays are not counted. For example, if Approval is sent to CEO on a Friday, the deadline would be on Tuesday (not Sunday).

  • Send Approvers a reminder email 2 hours before the deadline is up, so it is not forgotten

  • In the case of CEO, if deadline is reached and CEO still has not made a decision, automatically Approve it
     

​3. More complex data model

Business needs Requesters to enter more details in the Line Items for the Travel Request with the corresponding details for each:

Flight(s)

Fields: Airline, One-Way/Return Flight flag, Departure City, Arrival City, Outbound Flight Datetime, Return Flight Datetime (if Return Flight), Flight Cost


Hotel(s)
Fields: Hotel Name, Hotel City, Check-in Date, Check-out Date, Hotel Star-Rating, Hotel Cost

 

The Total Travel Cost should be automatically calculated as the sum of the Line Item costs.

The Date/Datetime fields in the Line Items should be validated to be within the limits of the Travel Start Date and Travel End Date.

 

4. Handle Business Exceptions

 

This is to handle situations where things did not happen as expected, like when actual costs turn out to be different to approved estimated costs.

  • Once a Request is Approved, the Requester should book the flight(s) and/or hotel(s). After Level 3 Approval, the Request is in Approved Pending Booking state until everything is booked, when it becomes Travel Booked state.
     

  • As Approvals could take a few days to complete, original proposed flights/hotels may not be available at the time of the actual booking forcing Requester to find alternative flights/hotels. This may cause the Travel Dates or the Travel Cost (or both) to change.
     

  • For Travel Dates change, someone from the Department (Line Manager if Level1 Approval was not skipped or Department Manager if it was skipped) would need to re-approve (CFO and CEO re-approval not needed - they are only interested in Costs)
     

  • For Travel Cost change of more than 10% of the original cost, whoever approved Level 2 previously (Department Manager or CFO) has to re-approve. (Level 1 re-approval not needed).
     

  • In case Department Manager needs to Approve both Dates and Cost changes, this should be done in one action
     

  • CEO re-approval is only needed if the new cost surpasses the $5000 auto-approve limit.
     

  • As this is a second round to get approvals and less time is available, any re-approvals from this revised Request should be High Priority in the Approval list of the Approvers. This is so that they see and handle them first and they should clearly see the reason for receiving this re-approval (e.g. Travel Cost higher than originally approved)

5. Manage documents

  • For Booked Travel Requests, create a PDF with the Travel Itinerary, including relevant Line Items details, save it with the Travel Request record and also send it to the Requester in an email
     

  • The booking invoices should be attached to the corresponding Request Line Items after travel is realized, for the Request to be considered Travel Completed.
     

  • Add a Dashboard to see what is the average time that each Approver (Line Manager, Department Manager, CFO and CEO) is taking to make a decision (e.g. Line Manager X: 2 days, CFO: 4 days etc.)

6. Handle different set of rules in parallel

 

After running the app for a few months, business decides that the Auto-Approval limit for CEO (previously set to $5000) has to be raised to $6000.

This new rule should only apply to new Requests and not to existing in-flight Requests. That is, if there was an open Request for $5400, it should not be auto-approved with the new rule.

Graphically, something like this (click to enlarge):

TravelRequestApprovalProcess_V3.png

To help understand the requirements, here is the State Machine diagram:

StateMachine.png

You have until 9th of December to complete Stage 3. Good luck to all of you!

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