“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” — Abraham Maslow

If you made a work-related New Year’s resolution, there’s a good chance it has something to do with managing your inbox better. Unfortunately, keeping this resolution can be out of your control, especially if you’re subjected to the horrors of a reply allpocalypse.

Feedback and approval chains are the enemy of potentially clean inboxes everywhere. When collaborating on a document to gather feedback or approvals from colleagues, customers, partners, or vendors, most information workers attach the document to an email, send it off to their co-collaborators, and watch helplessly as their inboxes become inundated with responses.

Managing and successfully completing these workflows comes with a multitude of landmines. Some participants will reply all. Others will reply individually. There’s conflicting feedback and the endless emails that fly around to resolve the differences in opinion. There’s also the matter of where to store all that feedback, especially at organizations that are subject to audit.

Keep Your Inbox from Getting Overwhelmed

This brings me to the quote at the beginning of this post. Email can be a wonderful hammer. But not all challenges are nails, and you have a lot of other tools at your disposal. Let’s look at how Citrix Content Collaboration feedback and approval workflows create a centralized, streamlined, transparent process without overwhelming your inbox.

To start, end users can log into their Citrix Content Collaboration account to kick off a workflow. We know old habits die hard, though. We’ve made it seamless for end users who feel most comfortable starting off those workflows through email by integrating this feature in Citrix Files for Outlook.

Now that you’ve chosen your workflow type and your file, choose the due date and the participants in this workflow. Citrix Content Collaboration helps you manage participant responses, automatically sending reminders to those who haven’t responded as the due date approaches.

In approval chains, automation simplifies the life of the document owner. Multiple approvers can be added to the workflow, and approvals can be done in parallel or sequentially. In sequential workflows, once a reviewer gives their approval, the document is automatically sent to the next approver in the chain. This enables the document owner to focus on being productive instead of monitoring whether a colleague has approved a document.

After the workflow has been generated, the collaboration begins. Each person involved in the workflow can access and review the document, leave comments and annotations, reply and agree with others, and give approvals.

This transparent workspace not only facilitates collaboration with colleagues at the same organization, but also with external participants like customers, partners, and vendors. These external collaborators can be easily added and participate in these workflows without having a Citrix Content Collaboration license allocated to them, simplifying license management and creating savings for your organization.

Once a feedback or approval workflow is complete, all the feedback and approvals generated are permanently stored in your account. This simplifies discovery when you need to see who requested a change or supply an approval to an auditor.

The best part about the process? Not a single reply-all email ends up in anyone’s inbox, making Citrix Content Collaboration feedback and approval workflows the right tool for the job.