Configuring Object Workflows


Object workflows apply to a single object lifecycle and a single object. To set up an object workflow, you’ll need to complete several steps:

Accessing Workflow Administration

You can create, edit, and view workflows from Admin > Configuration > Object Workflows.

How to Create Workflows

To create a new workflow and outline its path using placeholder steps:

  1. Click Create from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Enter a Label. This value appears in various places throughout Vault, so it should be easily understood by users.
  3. Optional: Modify the Name. This value is primarily for referencing the workflow via the API.
  4. Select the Lifecycle related to the workflow. Note that workflows can only link to a single lifecycle and therefore a single object.
  5. Click Save.

How to Outline Workflows with Placeholders

To create an outline of your workflow’s path using placeholders:

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Scroll down to Workflow Steps and make sure that you’re in flowchart view.
  3. Use the plus (+) icon between the Start and End steps and select Create Next Step.
  4. Enter a Label for the step that helps you identify it during workflow configuration.
  5. Clear the Edit step details on save checkbox.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Repeat until you’ve created all the steps.
  8. Click into the details for individual steps and change the Next Steps selections. This is necessary if your workflow should branch via a decision step, should merge two paths via a join step, or should include parallel steps.

At this point, your workflow includes an outline of all steps using the Placeholder step type. Later you’ll need to click into each step, select a type (workflow task, notification, etc.), and define details that are specific to the step type.

How to Define Steps

The sections below detail how to define the various types of steps involved in an object workflow:

How to Define the Start Step

The Start step’s primary purpose is to control the dialog that users see when starting the workflow: workflow start dialog. From here, users can enter participant group assignments, task due dates, and new field values for the object record. Which of these options they see will depend on what “controls” you add to the Start step during workflow configuration.

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into the Start step.
  3. Click Add Control.
  4. Select a type of control and define type-specific details. Details for each control type are below.
  5. Add as many controls as needed using these steps.
  6. Rearrange the controls by clicking and dragging the upper left corner of each. The order you set is the order that users will see in the workflow start dialog.
  7. Click Save.

Instructions Control

The Instructions control type lets you enter an explanation or instructions for the workflow owner.

For example, provide guidelines for workflow initiators on how they should select participants for the workflow.

Participants Control

The Participants control allows you to create a participant group. This is the only way to assign users to tasks. Your Start step must include at least one participant control if the workflow has workflow tasks. Every participant group defined this way also appears as a possible recipient for notifications and task reminders.

For example, create a participant control labeled Reviewers and assign a review task in the workflow to that participant group.

There are two ways to assign users to a participant group:

Setting Explanation
Allow workflow initiator to select participants

The workflow initiator will select users for each participant group when starting the workflow.

With this setting, you can choose to constrain users based on their object record role assignments at the time when the workflow initiator starts the workflow. Use the Constrain participants by role checkbox and then select specific roles. When the Participant control is constrained like this, the workflow initiator can only select valid users.

Use roles as participants

Vault will look at the object role selected and auto-assign any users already in that role when the workflow starts. Users added to roles through manual assignment in Sharing Settings will receive current workflow tasks and any future tasks associated with the role.

With this setting, Vault does not display the Participant control in the workflow start dialog or when users add participants to active workflows.

Date Control

The Date control lets you set up a date field that appears in the workflow start dialog. You can later use this date as a workflow task due date.

For example, create a date control labeled Review Due Date and place it under a participant control for Reviewer. When setting up the workflow task for reviewing, you can use this date control as the task due date.

Prompt for Fields Control

This control inserts fields from the object record and allows the workflow initiator to update field values. You can choose to make individual fields required if needed. Using field controls is particularly helpful when the workflow moves the record into a lifecycle state with entry criteria because you can ensure that the workflow initiator fills in that information before the state change.

For example, on a Marketing Campaign workflow, create a field control that pulls the Agency Contact field into the workflow start dialog as a required field. Before users can start the workflow on a campaign, they’ll need to enter the agency contact person.

How to Define a State Change Step

A State Change workflow step moves the object record from one lifecycle state to another. For example, when a record first enters a review and approval workflow, it could move into In Review state. While in this state, workflow participants review and provide verdicts. After the decision step, the record would enter either Approved state or move back to Draft state, depending on the verdicts. This setup would require three (3) state change steps: one following the Start step and two following the Decision step.

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into a Placeholder step.
  3. Change Type to State Change.
  4. Select the Next State for the record to move to. If the new state has entry criteria, you should include a Prompt for Fields control on the Start step to populate required fields or use the Prompt for Fields setting on a workflow task that occurs before the state change.
  5. Click Save.

How to Define a Workflow Task Step

A Workflow Task workflow step assigns a task to users in a specific participant group. Tasks can be simple (instructions to “Review and confirm”) or complex (verdict to select and fields to populate).

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into a Placeholder step.
  3. Change Type to Workflow Task.
  4. Enter a Task Label to identify the task.
  5. In Assign Task To, select Workflow Initiator or a participant group. The available participant groups are defined in the workflow Start Step.
  6. Below Assign Task To, select either Assign to all users in participant group or Make available to all users in participant group
  7. Enter Instructions for the task owner. These appear with the task in the Home tab and object record detail page.
  8. Optional: Select a Due Date. See due date details.
  9. Optional: Select Prompt for Comments and enter a label for the comment field. Select Required to indicate that the user cannot continue without adding a comment. This option inserts a text field (500 character limit) in the task completion dialog and allows the task owner to provide a comment.
  10. Optional: Select Prompt for Fields and an object field. This option inserts fields from the object record and allows the task owner to update field values while completing the task. Select Required to indicate that the user cannot continue without filling in the field. Click Add Field if you need additional field prompts.
  11. Optional: Select Prompt for eSignature if users completing this task need to electronically sign
  12. Optional: Select Prompt for Verdict. With this setting, the user completing the task must select a verdict.
  13. Optional: Under Notification, select an Email Template to use when sending an automatic notification to the task owner.
  14. Optional: Add Task Reminders. Task reminders allow you to configure notifications to send about open tasks. Learn more below.
  15. Click Save.

Task Assignments

Selecting Assign to all users in a participant group will assign the task to every user in the participant group. All users in that group will be required to complete the task.

Selecting Make available to all users in the participant group will offer the task to any user in the participant group. All users in the group will be able to accept the task, but not all users are required to complete the task. 

Task Reminders

Task reminders allow you to configure notifications to send about open tasks. To set up task reminders:

  1. Choose a Message Template for the reminder. Learn more about message templates.
  2. Select up to five specific groups as Recipients (including the workflow initiator and task owner). If no user has claimed an available task when it is time to send the reminder, all potential task owners receive the reminder.
  3. Choose the Send On date for the reminder. The date to send the reminder is a specified number of days from either the Task Due Date _or _Task Creation Date. For example, you can remind a user to complete a task one day before the task is due.
  4. Optional: Click Add Task Reminder to add another reminder. You can add up to five reminders.
  5. Click Save.
Task reminders run daily based on the Task Reminder Notification job. By default, the job owner is System, meaning that no user will receive an email if the job fails. If you would like a user to receive an email if the job fails, update the Job Owner in Admin >Operations > Job Definitions.

Due Dates

Due dates for tasks can be based on:

  • Date controls on the workflow start step.
  • Date fields on the object; these can be offset using Calculated Task Due Dates. Vault will use the field value at the time it creates the task and will not update the due date if the field value changes.
  • Task Creation Date or Workflow Start Date; these can be offset using Calculated Task Due Dates.

Due dates are dates only and do not have time components. Task due status is based on the user’s time zone.

Calculated Task Due Dates

When selecting a workflow task due date, you can configure calculated task due dates. This allows Vault to automatically calculate task due dates without input from the workflow initiator. To configure calculated task due dates:

  1. Select Workflow Start Date, Task Creation Date, Due Date (defined on start step), or a Date-type object field from the Due Date drop-down list.
  2. Select either + or - as a date offset operator
  3. Select a day value up to 365 days.
If calculating task due date from Workflow Start Date or Task Creation Date, the times are based on the vault time zone set by the Admin.

How to Set Up Verdicts

Verdicts allow a task owner to indicate a recommendation or decision when completing a task. If you wish to make a workflow that branches based on the results of workflow tasks, you’ll need to set up verdicts that the Decision step will later use.

  1. Click Add Verdict to create each verdict.
  2. Enter a Verdict Label which users will see when selecting a verdict.
  3. Optional: Click Add Comments and enter a label for the comment field. Select Required to indicate that the user cannot continue without adding a comment. This option inserts a text field (500 character limit) in the task completion dialog and allows the task owner to provide a comment.
  4. Optional: Select Prompt for eSignature if users selecting this verdict need to electronically sign. See details below.
  5. Optional: Click Add Reasons. Enter a Reason Label. Select the Required checkbox to require users to select a reason when they select the specific verdict. Add Reason Values. The label appears on the picklist field and the values appear within the picklist.
  6. Optional: Click Add Field Prompts and an object field. This option inserts fields from the object record and allows the task owner to update field values when selecting the specific verdict. Select Required to indicate that the user cannot continue without filling in the field. Click Add Field if you need additional field prompts.
  7. When you’ve finished setting up all verdicts, click Save.

How to Set Up eSignatures

When you add an eSignature prompt to a workflow task or a verdict, users completing the task or selecting the verdict must provide an electronic signature by entering their login credentials. In some cases, eSignatures also include a Capacity field, which lets the user provide additional context for their signature. To learn about eSignature management, see Managing eSignature on Objects.

  1. Select Add eSignature.
  2. Enter Instructions for users.
  3. Optional: Select Prompt for Capacity. Enter a Capacity Label for the capacity field.
  4. Optional: Select the Required checkbox to require users to select a capacity.
  5. Add Capacity Values. When users complete a task, the label appears with the picklist field and the values appear within the picklist for users to select.

How to Define a Decision Step

A Decision workflow step lets a workflow diverge into separate paths based on a verdicts from a previous Workflow Task step or field values on the object record.

When defining rules for branching, start with the most restrictive rule. Vault evaluates the rules in the configured order. The first rule that evaluates to “true” is the path that the workflow takes.

To set up a decision step:

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into a Placeholder step. If the decision will be based on verdicts, this step must come after a workflow task that includes verdicts.
  3. Change the Type to Decision.
  4. Click Create Rule. You can create a maximum of 30 rules.Vault automatically includes an “Else” rule, which lets you define what happens if the object record doesn’t meet any of the rule criteria.
  5. For each rule, choose to base it on a Field or Task. If the rule is field-based, select an object field, an operator, and a field value. If the rule is verdict-based, select a specific workflow task, an operator, and verdict labels. After then, choose the next step for the workflow to go to if the object record matches the rule.
  6. Define the Else rule. Vault automatically includes this rule, which lets you specify what happens if the object record doesn’t meet any of the rule criteria.

How to Define a Join Step

The Join workflow step lets you merge two separate paths within a workflow. You’ll use this step in workflows that branch or contain parallel steps. For example, a Review & Approve workflow branches based on workflow task verdicts, so an object record moves into Approved state or back to Draft state. After the state change steps, you’d join the branches so that you can set up a single notification step informing the Workflow Initiator that the process is complete.

To set up a join step:

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into a Placeholder step.
  3. Change the Type to Join.
  4. Click Save.
  5. If your workflow outline isn’t complete, edit the preceding steps to point to the join as their next step.

How to Define an Update Record Field Step

Update Record Field steps allow you to automatically update fields using a formula. You can also set the values for Yes/No, Picklist, and Object fields. You can use this step on the Text, Number, and Date fields. For example, a workflow to approve an object record could include a step to set an expiration date for the approval. You can create multiple update record steps in a single workflow.

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into a Placeholder step.
  3. Change the Type to Update Record Field
  4. Select a field to update from the Fields picklist.
  5. Click into the Set to value field. For Text, Number, and Date fields, the Edit formula of {Field} dialog opens. For Yes/No, Picklist, and Object fields, select the applicable value.
  6. Create the formula.
  7. Click Save

How to Define an Update Sharing Settings Step

The Update Sharing Settings step allows you to add or remove workflow participants to or from specific roles in Sharing Settings. For example, a workflow to approve an object record may require an additional review from a user that isn’t normally assigned to the Reviewer role. You can use this step to add the workflow participant to the Reviewer role for this particular instance. Once the participant completes her task, you can configure another step to remove her from the Reviewer role.

To set up an update sharing settings step:

  1. Open a workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Create a Placeholder step.
  3. Change the Type to Update Sharing Settings
  4. Select the workflow participant(s) from the Workflow Participants picklist.
  5. From the Action field, use the radio buttons to Add or Remove participants.
  6. Select the applicable role(s) from the Roles picklist.
  7. Click Save.

How to Define a Notification Step

Notification steps allow you to send email and in-vault messages to workflow participants at various points during the workflow. For example, you could send a notification to Workflow Initiators as the final step, so they know the workflow is complete. You could also send notifications to reviewers after a decision step, letting them know what the final decision was, based on their verdicts.

You don’t need to set up separate notification steps to alert task owners that they have a task. There’s a setting within the workflow task step to include a notification.

To set up a notification step:

  1. Open the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click into a Placeholder step.
  3. Change the Type to Notification.
  4. Select a Message Template. You can set these up beforehand from Admin > Configuration > Object Messages.
  5. Select a Recipient. Your options include Workflow Initiator, as well as any participant group you set up via participant controls on the start step.
  6. Click Save.

How to Define an End Workflow Step

By default, all new workflows include an End step, but you can create a new one if you accidentally delete the default step. There are no settings associated with these steps: they are simply a way for Vault to know that no further steps are coming and to close out an in-progress workflow.

How to Validate & Activate Workflows

When you’ve finished defining steps, you’ll need to make the workflow active.

  1. Click into the workflow from the Object Workflows page.
  2. Click Make configuration active.
  3. Vault validates the workflow and notifies you if it is not valid. If there are validation errors, fix your workflow and try again.

After activating, you’ll need to create a user action on specific lifecycle states.

Object Record Sharing

If you have enabled Dynamic Access Control on an object, Vault does not check that the users assigned through a participant control have access to a specific object record. It is possible for a user to start a workflow with task assignments that the task owners cannot complete. When configuring workflows, keep this limitation in mind.

Workflow Versioning

If a workflow is active and there’s a user action making it available to users, editing the workflow doesn’t edit the “live” workflow. When you start editing, Vault automatically updates the workflow status to Editing. While the workflow is in this status, users can still start a workflow instance on an object record. That workflow instance uses the configuration as it was before the workflow entered Editing status. Once you’ve re-validated the workflow and changed its status to Active, the new configuration becomes the “live” version. However, workflow instances that started while you were editing the workflow will still use the previous version.

Sometimes, you may need to check whether a specific workflow instance used the previous workflow configuration or the new configuration. You can find this by checking the workflow instance start time in the object record’s audit trail and compare that to the time that the new workflow configuration was activated in System Audit History.


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