What is an Order Guide? Straight from the docs site:
An order guide submits a single service catalog request that generates several items.
Order guides allow you to define rules that identify which catalog items to include in a request. This can be extremely useful in the (obvious) use case of user onboarding. You also are able to define variables on the first page of the order guide that are not tied to any specific catalog item.
That last statement forms the core of this blog post. Chances are, the catalog items you are including in your order guide are used in other order guides or by themselves. Due to this, you likely have a similar set of questions in all these catalog items - who is this request for, who is the approver, and other basic identifying information.
If you are already asking for this information upfront in your order guide, however, it is a poor user experience to ask for it AGAIN in subsequent catalog items. Enter cascading variables. Back to the docs site:
Cascading enables values entered for variables in the initial order form to be passed to the equivalent variables in the ordered catalog items.
So, how do you make use of this amazing feature? There are three steps:
1. Enable Cascading Variables in the settings of the Order Guide itself
2. Define variables on the order guide
3. Define variables with the same names on the subsequent catalog items.
As long as you do those two things the values entered in on the first page of the order guide will copy to the catalog items!
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