With Box Relay, you can define and launch a workflow to automate a broad range of otherwise-manual collaborative business processes, such as:
- Contract approvals
- Content collaboration
- Budget approvals
- New employee on-boarding
In fact, almost any business process that’s centered around a file or document or a batch of files or documents, and that you can break down into discrete component actions, is a good candidate for Box Relay.
Anyone can define and launch a workflow, if:
- their organization gives them the permission to do so.
- They own, co-own, or can edit the folders involved in the workflow.
If when you identify a folder for your workflow you receive the following error message:
You do not have sufficient permissions on a file or folder in this workflow.
contact your Box Admin to change the Relay setting to allow editors to build workflows.
To define a workflow, you need three basic things, in this order:
- A triggering event – some action on a file or folder that, when it is performed, initiates the workflow – for example, a file upload, a folder share, a metadata attribute applied, a Box File Request, or a completed task such as a contract approval.
- The event location – a folder in which the triggering item is located or to which it is sent.
- One or more outcomes – what you would like to happen after the triggering event occurs – for example, a file moved or uploaded to a “Completed” folder, or assigning and forwarding a document to someone else for an additional signature.
As an example, let’s take the following simple marketing campaign approval process:
- A team member submits the proposal for approval
- A marketing executive gets the proposal, reviews it, and approves the campaign.
- A finance executive gets the proposal and reviews and approves the budget.
- The fully-approved proposal moves to an "approved” folder, and the marketing team can begin its campaign.
Here’s how you could plan that workflow:
- Identify the campaign proposal as the triggering file.
- Identify a folder called “Pending Review” as the location.
- As an outcome, assign a task – approval of the proposal – and indicate the approver and, optionally, a timeframe within which proposal must be approved. When a team member uploads the proposal document to the “Pending Review” folder, Box Relay forwards the proposal to the marketing executive you assigned to review it. At that time Relay also sends an alert to that person's task center.
- As a second outcome, assign another task – approval of the proposal budget. Again, indicate the approver and add an optional timeframe. When the marketing executive approves the campaign proposal, Relay alerts the finance executive that a proposal is ready for review.
- As a third outcome, identify another folder called “Approved Proposals Q4” into which Relay automatically moves the proposal when the finance executive completes the task (in this case, approving the budget and saving the proposal).
- When you start designing an automated workflow it’s helpful to envision and write down your workflow first (perhaps with Lucidchart, Powerpoint, and so on). That helps you identify or create the folders (that is, the locations) you need. From there it’s straightforward to create the workflow in Relay.
- Box also provides a robust set of pre-built workflow templates, appropriate for a range of business lines, that you can modify as you see fit. You may wish to try using a template to more quickly familiarize yourself with workflow components, and to get started right away
- When you're comfortable creating workflows, you may also wish to begin sharing your workflows as customized templates for others throughout your organization to use.
One of the most powerful aspects of Box Relay is its ability to automate workflows involving multiple people – not just content. Box Relay accomplishes this via tasks. Get more details on using the Box Task Center and adding tasks in Box.