UPDATE July 28th, 2022: As of July 1st, 2022, SaaS Workflows is now generally available (GA) and the beta program has been closed. For questions about SaaS Workflows please contact your SailPoint team. If you are a partner, please contact your partner representative.
UPDATE July 15th, 2022: SailPoint’s workflows product has been renamed from IdentityNow Workflows to SaaS Workflows. The title of this topic has been updated to reflect this change to make it easier to find in the future.
I am pleased to announce an exciting update to the Workflow service currently in Open Beta.
Over the past quarter we have invested in improving the overall Usability and User Experience in our workflows tool. Our goal is to deliver a flexible workflows experience that is both powerful and easy to use. The following post highlights some changes that are being pushed to sandbox tenants March 15th, 2022 . We believe that these changes will significantly improve the usability of the product and eliminate the need for proficiency in JSONPath knowledge.
Improving the Workflows Build Experience with a New Underlying Model
Based on user feedback, the development team has worked hard to ensure end users (1) do not have to heavily rely on knowing JSONPath to create Workflows and (2) have a clear understanding of the data that each Workflow step has access to at any given time.
In order to accomplish this, SailPoint Workflows is now built using an Additive Model instead of a Mutative Model . While this model change will break existing workflows , the data passing through a workflow is more structured and allows for a more assistive experience. The system is able to display the schema that will be present in a given step.
Additive vs. Mutative Model
Workflows was originally built using a Mutative Model. With this type of model, data being passed between steps of a workflow can be altered. This essentially results in a new dataset being passed from step to step. Although this provides greater flexibility and capabilities for Workflow users, the barrier to entry is much higher. Since the data passing through a workflow is dynamic, the system’s ability to predict the type and structure of data passing between steps is limited. This could potentially lead to more frequent errors if a proper mental model is not maintained. A mutative model limits the ability of the system to provide a tailored and assistive experience for our broad range of users.
Mutative vs Additive Model Infographic
An Additive Model provides a set structure for data being passed from step to step of a workflow. Rather than data mutating as it progresses through a workflow, an additive model adds data to an existing data pipeline. This means the overall experience can ultimately be more predictable, and usability can be improved with new builder assistance.
To illustrate the difference in experience, let’s walk through a simple workflow:
In this workflow, a new identity is created and given accesses based on department. If the employee is in the Sales department, they will get certain accesses, and if they are in the Engineering department, they will get other accesses. An email is sent once the accesses are confirmed.
Before: The Mutative Model
In the old model, users needed to know JSONPath in order to correctly tie in the correct information in the workflow:
Step checks if the department is “Sales” (Mutative Model)
This initial model required users to establish and manage a model of data passing from step to step. They also needed to be very comfortable working with JSONPath. The level of experience and proficiency required was high.
Current: The Additive Model
Our new model assists users through the workflow build process. Instead of users having to keep a mental model of data passing from step to step, our new Variable Selector experience allows users to quickly select information from the previous steps. The JSONPath is created for them; no knowledge of JSONPath necessary.
Below is the new Variable Selector experience and the output JSONPath. Please note the additional change to the JSONPath with this new model. This is where old workflows will break .
Variable Selector allows end users to quickly select the appropriate data. No mental model or JSONPath knowledge required.
Step checks if the department is “Sales” (Additive Model)
The schema of the data returned by each step along with the fields it contains are easily available for each variable input.
If you are not currently enrolled in the Workflows Open Beta, you can complete the following form to request access in your sandbox tenant.