Linked Templates allow you to chain workflows together, pass data between documents not in the same agreement, and create new agreements automatically by combining documents from an active workflow with other templates in your library. Linked templates can be complicated for novice users so it is advisable to seek assistance from a trained Agreement Express professional if this is your first time creating a link. Once you've done it a few times, you'll discover it isn't as complicated as it seems, but some of the behavior, in particular with multiple links, can be challenging to map.
Opening the Linked Template Setup Panel
To setup a Linked Agreement, in Agreement Manager go to the Templates tab and select the template from which you want to create a Link (A), and then click the Link Template icon at the bottom. The templates available for linking to (B) are limited to those that are favourites (*) so be sure that any templates you plan to link to have been set as a favourite before proceeding to create a link.
Types of Linked Agreements
There are currently two kinds of linking within Agreement Express:
Link to New: Launches another template workflow/agreement
Link to Originating: Adds a non-signature template document to a completed workflow/agreement
Link to New
Link to New is the most common link type. With this link type you can kick off another workflow that requires signature based on a previous workflow that required signature. A good example of this is an adjudication process for credit approval where the client fills in an application (A), but the application is approved in a separate independent process (B).
In this simple link example, the client fills in the application to apply for credit. After they have signed their application is sent off to a credit analyst to review and approve or reject their application. You can chain these links together to accomplish things such as: Populate Approval Checklist, Request Additional Documents, Request for Service (Generate Lease Agreement, Reserve Assets, Request Security Review, Add to Payroll, etc…), Delivery Satisfaction Survey, or anything else where you would want a positive confirmation that linked procedure is complete.
Link to Originating
Link to Originating is very powerful, but has a limited number of uses. This link type is used when want to add a document to a completed document or package of documents. This is most commonly used for adding in documents that provide an official record of completion. Examples of this type of document include: Insurance Certificates, Receipts, Welcome Letters, Confirmation of Receipt, Record of Validation (such as ID Verification). In all of these cases, since the original agreement does is now fully signed and complete, the templates added using this method are flattened and cannot be signed. Data from the agreement or external services can be added as per normal course, however if there are signature blocks present on the linked template they will appear as an image and can’t be signed. If the document requires signature, you are best to use Add Document to Package functionality PRIOR to completion of the agreement.
Why Linking instead of Signing Levels?
Group/Level signatures are incredibly powerful, but they can create undesirable situations:
- Orphaned agreements: where one of the signers does not wish to approve an application and therefore doesn’t sign leaving the agreement in the In Process status until manually deleted
- Delayed Confirmation: where it is important for the applicant to receive immediate notification that they have successfully submitted their application, but where immediate approval isn’t possible
- Undesired Disclosure: in many cases the adjudication or approval process is an internal process, which you want to keep private from the original applicant(s) or signer(s) and this isn’t possible with levels
Tips for Successful Linking
To be successful with links you must adhere to the following rules:
Linking is smart enough to use the labels from the originating agreement with the linked agreement. In other words, if you had labels for “Applicant” and “Advisor” in your original agreement, the email addresses for both of these will automatically populate like corresponding signature blocks in the target agreement. To trigger this you must used the above syntax in the Recipients field in Link setup.
In order to reduce that risk that the linked agreements are missing email addresses, Agreement Express will automatically drop signature blocks where there was no email address present for the label if you use the “Labels:” function. To illustrate, assume you have an originating template that has “Applicant”, “Advisor” and “Guarantor”, and likewise you have a linked Target template that has the same. But, in this case the person publishing the originating template deleted the “Guarantor” signature block because it wasn’t required. When the Link is triggered Agreement Express will automatically delete the “Guarantor” signature blocks from the linked Target template.
If you want to carry forward email addresses in later links (more than one link away) it is best to put the email addresses into fields within the precedent agreements. To use them later on use the highlighted syntax above where 'uField_1' is the name of the field where the email address is stored.
If you are replacing multiple email addresses, you can use the following syntax in the above field:
In the above, the capital letters prefixing the colon represent the names of the labels you want to replace. Each email address should be comma separated, and the fields can be either visible or hidden.
To carry data from text fields and date fields forward from one link to another simply check the box that says “Copy Field Values” and any fields that have the same name will be populated with the data from the originating template. Note that Data carry forward ONLY works today for Text and Date Fields. Support for check boxes and radio buttons will be added at later date.
Adding documents to an agreement is not “all or nothing”, but there are limits. Each link provides you with 4 options for which documents will be carried forward. These options are: Include all documents, Exclude all documents, Include only Signed Documents, and Include only Attached Documents. Use the drop down to the right of “When Linking” to select which documents you want to use.
When using Link to Originating, the recipients used in the Originating template will automatically receive an updated completion notification.
If you want to delete a signature block from the target linked template, you can also do this by using the syntax above.
If by chance you are using templates that still use Placeholder|1, Placeholder|2 and so on, they will be replaced in the order that the email addresses appear in the Recipients field.