Configurable approval rules are available in the following Ariba procurement and invoicing solutions:

  • The Ariba Procure-to-Pay™ solution package (Ariba Procure-to-Pay)
  • The Ariba Invoice Professional™ solution package (Ariba Invoice Professional)
  • The Ariba Procure-to-Order™ solution package (Ariba Procure-to-Order)
  • The Ariba Services Procurement™ solution package (Ariba Services Procurement)
  • The Ariba Travel and Expense™ solution package (Ariba Travel and Expense)
  • The Ariba Procurement Content™ solution package (Ariba Procurement Content)


Configurable approval rules provide browser-based management of all aspects of approval process creation and deployment. For each type of approvable document (also referred to as an approvable), you can build a flow diagram of approval rules, defining the conditions and actions for each rule. You can then test the approval process by previewing approval flows generated for selected test approvables.


Configurable approval rules provide the following capabilities:

  • Graphical representation of approval processes allows you to clearly see and manipulate the behavior of approval rules.
  • You can manage approval processes from one location in the user interface.
  • Approval process management includes versioning and audit-tracking of successive changes.
  • A default set of predefined approval processes is available for you to use, copy, and customize. You can also create new approval processes with simple or complex behaviors.
  • You can create approval processes for eForms.
  • When defining each approval rule in an approval process, you can use predefined conditions or build your own. You can base conditions on out-of-the-box fields, flex fields, and flex master data associated with the approvable. (Flex master data is a flexible data structure d signed specifically for your site.)
  • You can configure approval rules to generate approval requests based on data in an approver lookup table (formerly called CSV helper files or supporting files).
  • You can filter generated approval requests using predefined filter rules such as Remove Duplicates.
  • Approvable edit rules let you configure the policy for editing approvables that have already entered the approval process.
  • You can configure the approval processes for collaborative requisitions (Ariba Procure-to-Pay, Ariba Procure-to-Order) and shopping cart approval processes (Ariba Procurement Content) to require that purchasing agents collaborate with a minimum number of suppliers and receive their bids before completing the purchasing process.


The following diagram illustrates the approval process:

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The general sequence of steps in the approval process is as follows:

  1. When an approvable document is created, the Ariba system evaluates it against the approval rules for that type of approvable.
  2. The Ariba system generates an approval flow consisting of approval requests that specify who must approve the document. If no approvals are required, the document is fully approved.
  3. If approvals are required, the Ariba system sends email notifications to the first approvers, asking the approvers to take action. The approvable document also appears in the approvers’ To Do content item on the dashboard.
  4. The first approvers approve or deny the approvable. The approvable cycles through these steps of the approval process until all required approvers have acted.


In the standard approval flow, the Ariba system evaluates the approval rules only once, when the approvable document is submitted. However, the standard approval flow can change in several ways:

  • Users can modify the approval flow by adding or removing approvers. (For more information, see the Ariba Procurement Getting Started User Guide.)
  • Users can edit the approvable document. If a user changes an approvable document after submission, the Ariba system uses edit rules (a type of approval rule) to determine if the changes require reapprovals.
  • If a user resubmits an approvable document, the Ariba system runs the approval rules again.


When an approval process is marked as active, it means that the Ariba system is currently using that
approval process for all approvables of that type. There can be multiple approval processes for any type of
approvable, but only one of the processes can be active at a time.


Types of Approvers
An approver is someone who must take action on an approvable document. When you create an approval rule, you can specify any of the following as an approver.


UserThe simplest approver is a single user.
GroupIf the approver is a group, any person who is in that group can act as the approver.
Approver listAn approver list is a collection of users and groups. The users and groups are combined into a single approver, and any one of the users or group members can act as the approver. Approver field path You can add an approver specified by a field in the approvable or in an object specified in a column of a CSV file.

Note: Ariba strongly recommends that you do not use individual user names in approval rules. If you include the names
of specific users in your rules, your rules must change whenever your users change.



Approval Flows
Approval flows are generated whenever an approvable document is created. The approvable goes through the approval process, and the Ariba system uses the approval process to generate an approval flow. The approval flow consists of approval requests that specify who must approve the document.

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Serial and Parallel Approvers
When there are multiple approvers, those approvers can be ordered in either of two ways:

Serial: Approver nodes for serial approvers are ordered from left to right in the approval flow. Each serial approver is notified only after the approvers to the left have approved the document.

Parallel: Approver nodes for parallel approvers are placed in parallel with each other vertically in the approval flow. All approvers in parallel are simultaneously notified about the approvable document needing approval.

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Beverly Dunn is a Customer Success Manager with Ariba. All customers are invited to join the private Customer Success group on Ariba Exchange, where you can access the Customer Success  Spotlights, Lunch 'n Learn Webinar calendar and replays, and the Ariba  Knowledge Nuggets.