ClearForms has several features that help you guide applicants and staff through a process smoothly based on the information that gets entered along the way.

With the Logic features for Collect Information steps and Reviews, you can show/ hide questions on forms and route processes for review and approval to groups of staff based on the answers to multiple choice or checkbox questions. So for example in a Business License application you could ask a question about the type of business, and have extra questions and extra reviews if the business indicated that they used hazardous chemicals on site - but applicants that didn't check that box wouldn't see those questions. Similarly, you might trigger an additional Review by your Fire Department based on the same criteria.

With Subprocesses, you can make sure that an applicant completes a second (or third or fourth) workflow as a condition of completing their primary application. Extending the business license example; perhaps you'd like a first-time business license applicant that has hazardous materials on-site to complete a Hazardous Materials License before their main business license is complete.

Sometimes it's challenging to know when to use the ClearForms Subprocess feature or when it's better to use Logic to show/ hide Collect Information and/or Review steps and/or Payments in one big workflow.

Here's the way our team evaluates these questions:

  1. Will the same person be completing the "main" and the "secondary" process? If so then a Subprocess could be a good idea. If a different person than the original applicant has to (or could) start and complete the "secondary" part, those can't be linked through a Subprocess.

  2. Will you need to have different Outputs (e.g. PDF exports) for the "main" and the "secondary" process? For example, would a business receive two separate licenses (basic business license + Hazardous materials license that would have different license number and renewal requirements?) If so, using a Subprocess may be a good idea. However, if you'd need a lot of the information gathered in the "primary" process to be used in the "secondary" Output, it may be easier to keep them all part of one big process and have a multi-page Output.

  3. Do the "primary" and "secondary" parts always happen in the same order? If so, they may be better combined into one bigger workflow. If an applicant can start either first, there's an option with Subprocesses to allow the linking of an existing process. so for example if you started a Zoning Determination request and then applied for a Building Permit, and the Zoning Determination was a Subprocesses of the Building permit, if "Allow link existing" was set to on then the order in which they were started wouldn't matter.

  4. Is there no situation where someone would complete the Subprocess without the main process? For example, you might have a standard Business License and then a more complex Restaurant License - but if no Restaurants can be licensed without first getting the basic business license, this is likely a good place to use a Subprocess.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Two or more workflows linked through the Subprocess feature must be on the same Team

  • The ClearForms team is working on a way to better visualize on your Dashboard how subprocesses are related to their main process.

  • Using the same "identifier field" for main and subprocesses is recommended.

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