Vault QualityDocs includes a feature set to streamline temporary, short-term access to your Vault for external parties to review and approve documents on behalf of their company. You can give your organization’s users the ability to send review and approve tasks to recognized external contacts, who can then complete those tasks in Vault with minimal or no need to manage user account provisioning for those external parties.

When an authorized internal Vault user sends a document review or approval workflow task to an external contact, Vault utilizes an external user license and automates the provisioning of the External User account. A specialized email message invites the external contact to login to Vault to complete the assigned task. Vault then automatically inactivates the user account when the task has been completed and when the document reaches its Steady State.

External Collaboration Access Control

Vault uses a standard Application Role (QualityDocs External Collaborator), permission set (QDocs: External Collaborator), and security profile (Quality External Collaborator) to grant limited role-based Vault access to a recognized contact outside your organization.

Note: If your organization currently uses a custom security profile for any QMS external collaboration configurations, you must adjust those configurations to use an Application Role-based security model to ensure seamless operation.

External Collaboration Configuration Overview

Complete the following steps to set up external collaboration automation for a document review and approval process:

  • Add the External Collaborator and Collaborate Externally? shared document fields to applicable document types and document field layouts.
  • Create a Quality External User Template to automatically create a User from a Person record.
  • Add the Activate External Collaborators entry action to applicable document lifecycle states.
  • Configure document workflows for your process. It is strongly recommended to use external collaboration with single document workflows only.
  • Optional: Configure the Organization object page layout to add an applicable Recognized Contacts (Persons) section.
  • Optional: Configure a tab and report type for the External Collaborator Assignment object.

Data setup might also include setting up Organization records for External Organizations and Person records for External Collaborators.

External Collaboration Document Fields

The following standard fields are used with this feature:

  • Collaborate Externally?: This field determines whether a document can be sent to an External Collaborator by driving the workflows that are available for selection
  • External Collaborator: This field contains the name of the External Person to whom the task is sent.

We recommend using an External Organization field, and to use a reference constraint to filter External Collaborators based on External Organizations, especially if your Vault has numerous Person records.

Field dependencies can be configured so that the External Organization and External Collaborator fields are hidden if the Collaborate Externally? field value is No. If the Collaborate Externally? field value is Yes, then we suggest that the External Organization field be configured as required and the External Collaborator field be read only. The External Collaborator can then be selected via a workflow prompt when the workflow is initiated.

External Collaboration Notification Templates

External users may have varying degrees of familiarity with your Vault, or with Vault in general. This feature set includes specific email templates that you can configure, which Vault automatically sends to external recognized contacts based on how the contact is collaborating with your organization.

Vault sends a Welcome Collaborator email to any external recognized contact for whom a Vault User account has been automatically created. A Welcome Back Collaborator email is provided for external recognized contacts who have had User accounts in the past, but are being activated again to complete a document review or approval task.

Vault sends a Goodbye Collaborator email to external recognized contacts when all of their assigned work is complete and when the document(s) that they are collaborating on reaches its Steady State.

Message Templates

Each supported object has three associated message templates:

  • QDocs External Collab Welcome
  • QDocs External Collab Welcome Back
  • QDocs External Collab Goodbye

You can update the message templates to include any additional information about collaboration with your organization.

External Collaboration Message Template Tokens

While you can configure these messages as you would other document notifications, these templates have some special additional token functionality. These templates can include tokens for fields on the collaborating document. Non-specialized Vault tokens resolving to the collaborating record’s data are resolved via the external collaborator’s security profile.

The QDocs External Collab Welcome message template can also include the special ${userName} and ${userPassword} tokens. Use of these tokens in the object message template functions similarly to a Vault automated password reset email. Note that the external collaborator can still reset their password via the standard method.

Configuring Document Lifecycles for External Collaboration

You must configure these components to enable external collaboration for document review and approval.

Activate External Collaborators Entry Action

Add the Activate External Collaborators entry action to applicable document lifecycle states. This entry action attempts to activate a user account for the Person record (external recognized contact) referenced in the External Collaborator document field. If Vault finds that a user account already exists with the same details as the Person, the system assigns that user account to the Person, activates that user account and sends them a QDocs External Collab Welcome Back message. If there is no existing User, the system will create a new one based on the Quality External User Template selected, activate it, and send the QDocs External Collab Welcome message configured for the object upon which the Person/User is being invited to collaborate.

Document Lifecycle Role for External Collaborators

Add a custom document lifecycle role to your document lifecycle with a label appropriate to your process. In Application Role, select QualityDocs External Collaborator. Only a single custom role should be configured for this purpose.

In the Security Settings tab of your document lifecycle configuration, select only the appropriate supported access for the external user, which include:

  • View Document
  • View Content
  • Annotate
  • Download Source

Configuring Workflows for External Collaboration

Workflows can be configured to be sent to an External Collaborator only, or to both internal and external participants. Only one External Collaborator participant is permitted per workflow.

Organization Object Configuration

Optionally, you can configure the Organization object to simplify the management of a contact list of Persons. This configuration is not required, but is strongly recommended.

Person records have a field linking them to Organizations, and Organization records can list the Persons with whom your own organization interacts. This allows for easier identification of contacts to whom you can elect to assign document reviews. You can manage these contacts centrally, or you can enable internal users to manage these persons independently for the Organizations for which they are responsible..

To configure the Organization object to display contact lists, add a Person related object section to the object page layout of the Organization object. It may be helpful to define section level help for this contact list such that its purpose is clear.