Being able to automatically schedule your workflows is an important, underutilized aspect of workflow management. Instead of relying on people to perform mundane tasks on a consistent interval, Azuqua enables you to have FLOs triggered on any schedule that is suitable for your specific workflows.
We’ve talked about FLOs that are triggered by applications and FLOs that are triggered by other FLOs. However, we haven’t talked about what happens if you want to schedule services to run at set times instead of being triggered by something. In this case, we can build a scheduled FLO.
This week, we’re going to go over how to use the scheduled FLOs feature in Azuqua and give some examples of when it can be useful for your company.
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The Scheduling Feature
When you open a new FLO, one of the options you’re presented with is the “Schedule Event” option. Clicking this option brings up a menu that includes a few different schedule presets and the ability to create your own specific schedule.
The customizability here is endless and the platform really allows you to create the schedule that suits your needs.
Here’s an example of the settings for a FLO that will run every day at 8 AM.
As you can see, the large amount of variables here means that the scheduling feature is flexible and able to perform many different functions.
And with these settings, this FLO will run at noon on the first of every month.
Now, we’re going to use this schedule in order to demonstrate a FLO we have made in the past for a company’s use case to monitor monthly milestones.
Making sure you stay on top of the milestones your company has completed is important. However, it’s also time-consuming to make sure that info gets to all the right programs and people. Here’s a FLO that sets the framework for solving problems like this.
Step 1: Once you have determined the schedule that you’re going to use and made that FLO card, the next step is to add on to that. Our goal here is to analyze data available in the company’s Smartsheet and use that to determine how many milestones have been hit for the month. This number will then be put into a separate area in their Smartsheet files but could also be used in any other applications you need it to be.
Step 2: Click “Add Action,” then “Smartsheet,” then “Read All Rows.” You will then be prompted to enter your account information and the sheet that you’re pulling info from, which will all vary based on your needs.
This card is reading all of the information available in a sheet and bringing it into the FLO.
Step 3: Next, you’re going to need to set up a card to run a second FLO when this first one is triggered. That’s a feature that may be covered in future blog posts and allows for some of the most complex FLOs.
Click “Add Function,” then “List,” and then “For Each.” Once your info is entered, this card will trigger a second FLO for every single item from the Smartsheet card.
Step 4: This is the beginning of the “Scheduled FLOs Example 2” FLO that was referenced in step 3. Once you’ve created your new FLO, you’re going to want to start it by selecting “On Demand” from the first list of options and then hitting “From Another FLO.” This means that this FLO will only run when another FLO tells it to.
Next, add an input to the FLO (just type it in) called “Row ID.”
Finally, repeat step 2 in order to make sure that this FLO has access to the applicable Smartsheet data as well.
Step 5: Now, we’re going to begin manipulating the list of data.
Select “Add Function,” “List,” and “Filter By.” You’ll also see the large number of other functions Azuqua has for reading and manipulating list-based data.
Step 6: The first Filter By card will be used to find the rows in the sheet that are applicable to Q4, since that’s the quarter we’re going to be looking at this time. This first card returns a list of the rows that made it through the filter.
Then, that list from the first Filter By card are brought into a second Filter By card. This is where we make sure we’re actually looking at milestones. This card will return another list of the data that made it through both filters.
Keep in mind, all of this information is manipulatable and customizable in whatever way you want it to be. This is a simplistic version of the initial use case in order to make it more easily digestible, but truly we could add as many complications as we want to this to suit our specific company and workflow needs.
Step 7: Go back into the List category, except this time select the Length function.
Using the final list from step 6, now we want to find out the number of entries that actually qualified through our filters.
The length of the list will be that number, returned at the bottom of the Length card.
Step 8: Now, we’re going to use that length number we got in step 7 and put it back into Smartsheet in whatever location we decide upon. For this example, we are putting the length into a corresponding column that contains the number of milestones for the time period.
Remember that this data doesn’t just have to go to Smartsheet. We could connect it with any of our numerous connectors or through APIs. The possibilities are only limited by the whatever your company needs.
With that, this FLO sequence is completed. There is plenty of room for more integrations and more complicated filters for any other use case.
Now, we’re going to show an example of a FLO sequence we use internally. Not in much detail, but just a large-scale overview so you can understand the use case.
This is a sequence of five FLOs that is all started because of the scheduled FLO on the right side of the image. The use case here is that we want to track how many FLOs are being run per week. This allows us to do data analysis and learn more about the way FLOs are being used internally.
Clearly, the FLO sequence can be even larger and incorporate even more ideas if you want or need it to. The Azuqua platform serves as a great platform for these larger workflow management solutions and can be customized in any way you want it to be.
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