Box Relay enables you to automate almost any business workflow centered around content, from the most simple to the highly-complex. Leveraging a no-code builder, anyone can build, manage, and track their business processes directly in Box. With a simple design interface, you can automate sequential or parallel processes and assign tasks to anyone, including external users.
Creating a workflow encompasses four procedures:
- Establishing and naming your workflow
- Establishing the triggering event
- Specifying one or more outcomes
- Saving or activating the workflow
Along the way you have many options to customize your workflow to your precise needs. You can also create workflows with multiple procedures that execute either sequentially – for example, a standard contract approval process – or simultaneously – for example, a content review process in marketing.
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.
Establishing and naming your workflow
To create and name your workflow and your first flow
- In the lefthand navigation, click Relay. The All Workflows page displays.
- In the top-right portion of the screen, click New Workflow.
- The Workflow Builder page displays. Name and describe your workflow. To do this:
- In the upper-left portion of the screen select Untitled Workflow. Overwrite with the name you want.
- Tab or click into the Add a description field and enter a description. Be specific.
- Name this specific flow. To do this:
- Toward the top of the Workflow Builder page, click Flow 1. The Flow 1 box displays.
- Type in a specific name for this flow. Then click anywhere outside the Flow box.
You can only create workflows that involve folders you own, co-own, or edit. If you specify a folder you do not own, co-own, or edit, Relay displays the following message:
You do not have sufficient permissions on a file or folder in this workflow.
Be specific in your workflow description. As you continue to use Relay and the number of workflows proliferates, it may become difficult to distinguish them unless your description provides an at-a-glance summary of workflow context and intent. You can easily view whether you have included a description with your workflow; in the All Workflows screen, workflows with descriptions display with an i symbol.
Establishing the triggering event
To establish the triggering event
- Under What starts this workflow? click the type of trigger event you want to begin the workflow.
- To trigger the workflow when there’s a file action, such as a file upload, share, or deletion, or a watermark or security classification applied, click A File Event.
- To trigger the workflow when there’s a folder action, such as folder creation or a folder move or share, click A Folder Event.
- To trigger the workflow when there’s a change in file metadata, such as an attribute that’s been added, updated, or deleted, click File With Metadata.
- To trigger the workflow in which someone must review or approve a document, click A Task Event.
- To create an incomplete workflow for someone else to complete and trigger, click Manual Start.
- To trigger the workflow when someone uploads a file or discrete batch of files via the Box File Request feature, click A File Request.
If you do not enable metadata in your organization, Relay cannot complete any workflows that employ metadata in any way. Typically metadata is enabled in most organizations. If you aren't certain whether metadata is enabled, contact your Box Administrator.
For any task assigned as part of a workflow, the creator of the workflow is also the assigner of the task. Further, within Box, the only people who can re-assign or modify a task are the assigner and assignee.
- Your next step depends on which choice you make, above. For example:
- If you selected a file event, now specify the action that initiates the trigger.
- If you selected a folder event, now specify action that initiates the trigger.
- If you selected file with metadata, now choose from a list of metadata templates to apply. You also have the opportunity to modify metadata attributes.
- Get more information on creating a metadata structure for your enterprise.
- If you selected a task event, now specify whether the trigger initiates with a completed, approved, or rejected task.
- If you selected a Manual Start, now specify the folder that will contain uploaded content.
- If you selected A File Request, now specify the folder that will store all the content uploaded via the File Request.
If an exclamation point displays, click the exclamation point to view additional information.
- Under In what folder will this event occur? click the Select a folder box, and then click Select a folder from Box. The Select a Folder to act on window displays.
If you select Classification Applied as your trigger, before you select a folder Relay prompts you to select the type of classification to apply. More on classifications in Box.
- To the right of the folder you want, click the button.
- To access any subfolders, click the corresponding parent folder.
- Click Select. The workflow screen redisplays.
Workflow actions involving folders affect only the individual folders you specify -- not any subfolders or parent folders.
In Box Relay, “workflow” and “flow” are similar but distinct terms. “Workflow” refers to the entire process, from activation through to completion. It is all-inclusive. A flow is one discrete set of events from trigger through outcome. A workflow consists of one or more flows.
You can set up flows to work in parallel by creating separate flows. Here’s an example: You need a writer and a marketing manager to comment on an infographic. You could create a single sequential flow to get first the writer’s input and then the marketing manager’s input. However, you can save time by creating one flow for the writer’s input and another flow for the marketing manager’s input and have the two flows run concurrently.
Specifying an Outcome
After you specify a triggering event, now you specify an outcome -- what you want to happen as a result of the event. For example, you may want to assign someone to review a file when it is uploaded. Or you may want to share a folder that has just been created. Or you may return the workflow to an earlier completed step if someone rejects a task. To help clarify the purpose or intention of each outcome, you can also add a description immediately below each outcome header.
To specify an outcome
- In the Outcome section, under What is the next action? click the action you want to result from the trigger.
- File or folder actions give you a similar range of choices as you had when specifying the trigger. Complete the rest of the section in the same way you completed the Trigger event.
- Metadata outcomes prompt you to designate and apply a metadata template to the file you specify. You can also apply specific metadata attribute value(s) as an outcome.
- Task outcomes prompt you to identify the individual to whom you want to assign a task and, optionally, set a deadline. Relay notifies both the assignee and the assigner when a task is assigned.
- If you assign more than one person to a single task, every assignee must complete the task before Relay advances the workflow. If instead you want the workflow to move forward when just one assignee has completed the task, check Only one assignee is required to complete this task.
- You can assign a task to the person who first initiated this workflow. This person displays in the list of possible assignees as the Workflow Starter. This is useful when you create a workflow that could be initiated by any number of people -- for example, when any one person from a group of loan underwriters submits a loan application for review and approval.
- Specify what you would like Relay to do if someone rejects the task assigned to them. You can redirect the workflow to a previous task outcome in the workflow; assign a general task (and then specify the outcome); or end the workflow.
- Choices for manual start outcomes also are essentially the same as those for file or folder actions. They're simply started on demand, rather than automatically, when someone selects one or more files from the trigger folder and manually starts the workflow.
- File Request uploads also provide a similar set of outcome choices as those for file or folder actions.
- (OPTIONAL) For a workflow with multiple sequential steps – for example, document approval requiring three signatures -- you can string multiple outcomes together sequentially. To do this, click +Outcome to display and create a new Outcome. Each time the first outcome completes – for example, when the first person signs off – Relay automatically initiates the second outcome – in this case, forwarding the signed document to the second person in line.
To create multiple sequential outcomes, you may find it more efficient to duplicate an outcome and then just edit the duplicates to suit your needs. To duplicate an outcome, to the right of the Outcome title click the ellipsis (...), and from the menu that displays click Duplicate.
Saving and activating your workflow
When you have finished creating your workflow, you can save it and activate it (that is, turn it on) later, or you can activate it immediately. Regardless of which you choose, at any time you can return to this workflow and modify it.
To save or activate your workflow
- Do one of the following:
- To save this workflow without activating it, in the top-right portion of the screen, click Save Draft.
- To save and activate the workflow, in the top-right portion of the screen, click Activate.
- The All Workflows page redisplays, listing your completed workflow.
Now, for any workflow you have activated the instant your triggering event occurs – for example, a file is uploaded to the folder you specified – Box Relay launches the workflow.
- You cannot save a draft of an incomplete workflow. You can only save a complete workflow that consists of a trigger plus at least one outcome. However, you can save a draft of a workflow that has a single outcome, and then return to it later to create additional outcomes or flows.
- If you create a task outcome that includes rejection instructions, and you decide to move this outcome elsewhere in the flow, the system deletes your rejection instructions and you must re-enter them before you can save or activate the workflow.
Activated workflows display with an orange box to the left of the workflow name. Relay lists their status as Active. Workflows that are saved but not yet activated display with a grey box to the left of the workflow name. Relay lists their status as Inactive.
To monitor and manage your workflows, use the All Workflows screen.
Identifying whether a folder has an active workflow running
You may wish to know in advance whether a folder is part of an active workflow. To find this out, use the Box Web app to view details of the folder. These details include the workflows associated with that folder.
To see if a folder is part of a workflow
- In Box, navigate to the folder you want, and open it.
- In the right-hand navigation, click Details.
- In the list of details that displays, scroll down to the Workflows section. All workflows with which this folder is associated display here.
To see the specific details any of these workflows (triggers, outcomes, and so on), click the workflow you want.