CIHS Request Approvals Matrix for Cherwell.

The Problem

CIH Solutions Ltd. clients face a common challenge with typical ITSM tools out of the box solution approval systems, typically limited to Analysts in the system.

In many organisations this simply is not flexible enough to gain maximum value from Process Automation and presents a hindrance to Self Service Portal successful adoption.

This video illustrates the CIHS solution to this problem within the Cherwell toolset.

The Challenge

A client has decided to leverage their existing Cherwell ITSM implementation across the business with the first requirement being in Human Resources (HR). The benefit of this decision is obvious when considering the common data points utilised to support both HR and IT processes, for example: organisational structure, approval levels, job roles, site locations etc.

To create maximum benefit, a channel shift for HR from Email to a Self-Service portal driven by Cherwell was required.

It was necessary to design and build a scalable and flexible Approval system which went beyond the limits of Cherwell’s built-in approval engine for several key reasons:

  • The requirements for HR queries were more complex than the existing IT Service Requests.
  • Approvers are not Cherwell analysts, but from across the entire business.
  • Approvers are identified in different ways, some by roles and their relationship to the requestor or their position in the organisation structure. Some are specific individuals, for example a representative from Fleet Management.
  • Approval routes may differ based on the type of request. For example, a request for a salary increase may require approval from the manager, and then from a head of function. Whereas a request for a company vehicle may require approval from a line manager, then from Fleet Management.
  • Approvals must run one at a time such that as one is approved, it moves to the next approver, and until an appropriate level of approval has been reached.
  • Full auditability was required against all approvals for all types of request

The Solution: CIHS Approval Matrix for Cherwell

Why is it (loosely) called a Matrix? Because the “backbone” one step looks and behaves like a matrix:


The Request Approval Matrix


So, without getting too technical, let’s explain how the matrix works.

Step 1.

Service requests are generated through the customer self-service portal.

Figure 1: Self Service Request Form

Step 2.

The request must then route to the correct approver. This is done based on a) the type of approval,  b) the stage it is at, and c) the business area.

Step 2a)

The type of approver is selected by type of request, approval stage, and their role in relation to the requestor.

Figure 2a: The matrix approval record

Step 2b)

The approver is in the same business area as the requestor.

Figure 2b: The matrix approvals role record

Step 2c)

With the approver identified, the matrix routes the approval via email.

Figure 2c: Matrix approver route and email

Step 3.

Once approved, the process repeats by incrementing the approval stage until, well, there are no approval records left to process. The overall status of Approved (or Denied) is set.

Figure 3: The service request

How many approvals are required? Is an approval required at all?

This is where control is handed back to the Operators: simply create an approval record (as in Step 2) for each approval required. If a request does not require an approval, simply don’t create a record for it!

Finally, the approval process also manages multiple notifications for multiple parties, be it on creation, during or on final approval.

The Result

The end result of this work is now an approval matrix than can be utilised for any type of request across the business including HR, IT, Facilities, Procurement or any other department that requires a level of approval and as all information is being derived automatically from the HR and Active Directory system the solution is scalable and self-maintaining to meet future needs.

See a working example here (switch settings to HD quality and turn audio on!) and contact us for any additional information.


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