Metadata. Metadata is one of my all-time favorite tech terms. Why? Because it is the foundation for much of what we use technology to accomplish - everything from data classification and analysis to collaboration to and find-ability. Plus, most importantly - at least from my humble perspective here at Nintex, intelligent process automation!
noun, plural in form but singular or plural in construction
meta·da·ta \ -ˈdā-tə , -ˈda- also -ˈdä- \
Definition - data that provides information about other data
(Source – Merriam Webster - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metadata)
Nintex Workflow Cloud can now start a workflow conditionally based on a change in the metadata associated with a file stored in Box!
NOTE- Metadata templates and custom metadata requires a Box Enterprise subscription.
While you may be familiar with Box as a powerful cloud EFSS platform, what you may not know is that our friends at Box take metadata very seriously and are considered a leading CM platform as well - Did you know you can create metadata templates and apply them to your data inside of your Box repository? This allows users to classify and describe the files they’re storing in Box in great detail and more importantly – apply process automation that is conditional, based on metadata, to these artifacts. Powerful functionality to be sure!
Some use cases where instantiating a workflow based on updates to a files metadata can be critical to a successful automation scenario include:
Document reviews and approvals - publishing press releases, crystallizing budgets, issuing project estimates, contracts, terms and conditions, etc.
Management of change - an update to metadata may trigger a workflow that publishes a new document – such as in the case of where a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) accompanies product which ingredients may have changed
Document routing / archiving / distribution - final disposition, retention, sharing with a wider audience such as with a policy change, etc.
Audit / compliance - who touched a document; when, why, was it properly handled / chain of custody, was a regulated process followed, etc.
NOTE – This functionality relies on Enterprise Metadata Templates in your Box tenant. If you are not familiar with these powerful constructs then read all about them via the links below:
- How to Guide for Managing Metadata in Box
- Customizing Metadata Templates
- How to Create the Right Metadata Structure for your Enterprise
NOTE- You must setup default file storage in your NWC tenant if you plan on using File variables - https://help.nintex.com/en-US/nwc/Content/Settings/DefaultFileStorage.htm
Now let’s walk through the steps to using this all new event for the Box connector (Box - Update file metadata)!
First thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have at least one Enterprise Metadata Template available in your Box tenant. In my scenario, I have created one called “Brad Test Template” and it has 4 attributes:
- Business Unit - Drop-down
- Year - Number
- Approval Date - Date
- Approver - Text
Now let's navigate over to your Nintex Workflow Cloud tenant and open the workflow designer and double click on the Start event action icon:
In the Start event configuration dialog – simply change the Connector to Box. Then, select Box – Update file metadata from the Event drop down list.
Once you select this event, you will choose a Box connection and then NWC will call the box tenant and query the Metadata Template store. At this point you can select the desired path, in my case – Shared, and a metadata template in the drop-down list:
Now, I select the metadata from Box that I would like to capture into variables when the workflow starts:
Now I selected all the Box Enterprise Metadata attributes I have in my template plus the last person that modified the file, the file itself, and filename - Armed with this information, I can execute whatever logic, tasking, or integrations I would like. For the sake of simplicity in this blog post - I’m just going to Send an email with the aforementioned metadata:
So here you can see in Box, if I simply change the date in the Year metadata field from '2017' to '2018' and click on Save my workflow simply picks up the file and the associated metadata sends it in an email it to a desired address:
Finally, here is my email with all of the Box Enterprise Metadata and the file that was updated:
At the end of the day, this powerful new start event will allow you to scale out the governance processes associated with the valuable unstructured content you're storing in Box by seamlessly adding structure with Nintex Workflow Cloud.
NOTE - Helpful related links
Nintex Workflow Cloud – Help – Connectors – Box
Nintex Workflow Cloud – Help – Meet NWC