Driving Content-Based Intelligent Process Automation Scenarios with Box

Metadata is one of my favorite tech terms. This is because it is the technological foundation for our content-driven capabilities, from data classification and analysis to searchability and collaboration.

And, most importantly, it allows Nintex to provide our users with the incredible power of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) via our Nintex Platform.

Let’s take Nintex Workflow Cloud, which helps organizations quickly build structure around their unstructured content that resides in systems of record like Office 365, SharePoint, Salesforce, Box, and more. With our cloud platform, it has never been easier to automate, orchestrate, and optimize simple to sophisticated processes.

In this post, we’ll dive deeper into Nintex together with Box. While Box is well-known as a powerful cloud enterprise file-sync-and-share (EFSS) platform, they are also considered a leading content management (CM) platform.

Now, thanks to Nintex’s partnership with Box, a workflow can be triggered (even conditionally!) based on a change in the metadata associated with a file stored in the Box environment.

NOTE: Metadata templates and custom metadata requires a Box Enterprise subscription.

Metadata and Process Automation

Box users can create metadata templates and apply them to your data inside of their Box repository. This allows users to classify and describe the files they’re storing in Box in great detail. It also enables them to automate processes that are conditional based on the content’s metadata.

Below are some cases where initiating a workflow based on updates to a file’s metadata can be critical to a successful automation scenario:

  • Document reviews and approvals – publishing press releases, crystalizing budgets, issuing project estimates, redlining contracts, approving terms and conditions, and more.
  • Management of change – an update to metadata may trigger a workflow that publishes a new document. For example, if an ingredient changes in a product, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that accompanies that product would then be updated, as well.
  • Document routing/archiving/distribution – final disposition, retention, and sharing a document with a wider audience when communicating information quickly and accurately is vital to a company’s operations.
  • Audit/compliance – keeping a record of who has touched a document, when and why it was handled in the chain of custody, and the regulation of that process.

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:

Click here to learn how to setup default file storage in your Nintex Workflow Cloud tenant if you plan on using file variables.

Utilizing Metadata in Your Automated Process

To put the powerful capability for the Nintex Workflow Cloud Box connector to work, follow these steps:

1.  First, make sure you have at least one Enterprise Metadata Template available in your Box environment. In my scenario, I have created one called “Brad Test Template” that has 4 attributes:

  • Business Unit – Dropdown
  • Year – Number
  • Approval Date – Date
  • Approver – Text

2.  Now, navigate to the Nintex Workflow Cloud portal, open the workflow designer, and double click on the Start event action icon.

3.  In the Start event configuration, simply change your Connector to Box. Then, select Box – Update file metadata from the Event drop-down list.nintex metadata

4.  Once you select this event, choose a Box connection and Nintex Workflow Cloud 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 dropdown list.nintex metadata

5.  Now, select the metadata from Box that you would like to capture into variables when the workflow starts. As you can see, 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.

nintex metadata

6.  Armed with this information, you can execute whatever logic, tasking, or integrations you would like. For this blog post, I’m just going to Send an email with the aforementioned metadata.

nintex metadata - allows Nintex to provide our users with the incredible power of Intelligent Process Automation

7.  Change the date in the Year metadata field from, say, 2017 to 2018, and click on Save. The workflow simply picks up the file and the associated metadata, and sends it in an email it to a desired address.

nintex metadata - allows Nintex to provide our users with the incredible power of Intelligent Process Automation

Here is my email with all of the Box Enterprise Metadata, and the file attached:
nintex metadata

Once you’ve built the process, this new start event will allow you to scale out the governance processes associated with your valuable data in Box by seamlessly applying structure to your content using Nintex Workflow Cloud.

The concept of metadata is a powerful one in technology. There is no end to the value an organization receives when they combine the ability to store, share, and analyze unstructured content using metadata, with the ability to seamlessly automate those content-based business processes.


Additional Reading:

Nintex Workflow Cloud – Help – Connectors – Box

Nintex Workflow Cloud – Help – Meet NWC

Interested in trying Nintex Workflow Cloud for yourself? Download a free, 30-day trial today!



Brad Orluk

Brad has been evangelizing technology and process automation for over 15 years. Prior to joining Nintex, he had roles in infrastructure, IT consulting, and most recently, as an Information Architect at a Fortune 500, where he worked on business and IT process improvement and automation on a variety of real world global projects and productivity initiatives. Brad’s unique, technical yet business focused, background gives him the ability to help users leverage technology to drive value to their businesses. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradOrluk

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