Box Relay is Changing the Way Businesses Handle Workflow

For any organization, large or small, maintaining organization and productivity is critical to enterprise-wide success. Whether thinking about projects being managed within a single department or a task that demands the attention and contribution of multiple departments, ensuring that workflow is constantly moving forward is a key component to growth within a business.

Unfortunately, while this may seem intuitive, many organizations find themselves struggling to build and maintain effective workflows. Too often, repeatable tasks and communication breakdowns threaten to delay or derail crucial projects. Without the proper tools to manage workflow, users are forced to rely on inefficient and insufficient means to communicate such as email, ultimately risking the chance that crucial information will get lost in the shuffle or important deadlines go unmet do to miscommunication.

Recognizing these issues and the havoc they can wreak, Box teamed up with IBM to create Box Relay, the ultimate workflow tool in the cloud, integrated into Box’s already robust cloud collaboration platform. Ultimately, Box Relay connects and automates digital processes, allowing organizations to cut down on needless time consuming repetitive tasks, especially in regards to updating and reviewing major files within a project. It ensures that workflows are productive and easy to manage no matter how complex the assignment and no matter how big the team.

The Power of Box Relay

Part of the immense power of Box Relay as a workflow tool is its ability to integrate with all of the information and data already stored in users’ Box folders. Located directly within the Box interface, admins can easily access the Box Relay application directly from the side-bar of their Box.

For admins, creating and managing workflows all starts in the “automation” section of the admin console. From there they can check in on the progress of ongoing workflows (which we’ll discuss more in depth momentarily). Both users and admins have access a tab labeled “Tasks.” In this tab, users can view the tasks for which they are responsible, organized by the workflows to which they belong.

When it comes time to begin a project, admins and team leaders in Box Relay have the ability to create and launch a custom workflow. Admins have the option to create a workflow and assign tasks based on numerous different actions. These tasks can be things such as:

  • assignees adding or referencing content for a given workflow;
  • assignees providing comments or feedback on already uploaded content;
  • assignees adding new versions or modifying old versions of pre-existing content;
  • assignees accepting or rejecting content (such as in contract-based projects);
  • assignees completing additional custom tasks designated by admins.

The workflow process can then be filtered to specific users or directories within a user account. In practice, this means admins can dictate “when user x does this, these tasks are automatically assigned to users y and z.” This feature ensures that the structure of the workflow is tailored to the objectives of the project to which it corresponds. These workflows can also easily be edited as objectives evolve.

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One of the most helpful options within Box Relay is the ability to create “templates” for workflows, all of which will be saved until the admin who created them chooses to move them to the trash. A template is a general project structure, that can be used as an alternative to continually building identical or adjacent workflows from scratch. For instance, say you work in sales, and frequently have workflows related to contract approval across multiple departments. You have the ability to construct a template that includes all necessary departments and users for these such projects–legal, HR, fellow sales representatives, etc. As a result, every time you’re tasked with getting contracts approved, you don’t need to re-build the workflow or re-add all the users. You have the blueprint saved right in front of you.

Following the creation of this workflow, the admin who built it can assign individual tasks within the workflow to specific users or groups. These users will be notified of the tasks they were assigned, so that users needn’t worry about contacting each individual team manually to explain the task, thus losing time that could be used actually working on the project.

There’s nothing as frustrating as having to find a way to consolidate six different versions with dozens of different edits into one cohesive whole. With Box Relay, you’ll never have to again. Much like when assigned a task, users receive notifications when new documents are added or current documents edited. They don’t need to worry about constantly checking back and forth to see if there’s anything new or outstanding, nor do they have to peek at their inbox every three minutes to ensure they didn’t miss important edits.

As with edits, Relay works entirely in real-time, and the user who created a workflow can view a detailed report on the progress of that workflow overtime. Additionally, they can share these reports with team members, so that everyone is up to date on progress and on the same page about where a project might be falling behind.

Finally, as with Box’s other storage and collaboration tools, Relay is reinforced with optimal security, ensuring that access to the files within a workflow is restricted to those specifically designated by a team leader or administrator. As such, projects that rely on sensitive information can progress without fear of jumbled permissions or breaches in security of those files.  On top of this, when documents are uploaded to a workflow, managers and administrators have the option to adjust settings so that they must approve all uploads. One of Box’s many powerful security tools is the administrative ability to detect fishy or dangerous links. As such, demanding managerial approval on uploads ensures that any links included in an uploaded document can be investigated by admins, preventing the introduction of malware or ransomware into the folder.

Box Relay in Action

The usefulness of Box Relay is in no means limited to any one department. In fact, its ability to help multiple departments seamlessly collaborate on large projects is one of its greatest strengths. To better understand this, let’s look at a quick hypothetical example.

In a marketing department, users will often be tasked with crafting complex case studies for an organization. While the bulk of these projects may involve building the copy, that’s not the only component, let alone the only crucial one. Writers might have to communicate back and forth with one another on edits, and work in sync with designers who might be tasked with building an appealing template for the study. On top of this, content writers will have to stay in touch with sales representatives handling the account to which the case study applies to make sure that they can add their own thoughts and help ensure its approval by the subject.

In the past, a project like this could turn into a jumble of criss-crossing emails and messages: writers sending drafts back and forth, designers sending drafts of templates, sales reps saying that different details had to be changed or cut at the request of the subject. Even when everyone knew their role, the process could become extremely messy. What if two contradicting drafts were sent to a salesperson because writers failed to effectively communicate about edits? What if those writers failed to check their email in time to see that sales wanted them to make a minor change to a section they’d already cut in its entirety? What if a designer built a template without knowing that the study itself had completely changed shape and style?

In short, the threat of miscommunication constantly looms in situations such as these.

With Box Relay, it wouldn’t have to. With an carefully constructed workflow, all parties could collaborate in real-time–with comments, edits, and various other updates–on important documents. Constant notifications about changes, no matter how rapid, would ensure that no one was out of the loop. Furthermore, Box’s security protocols would ensure that files used to help build the case study that might contain sensitive client information remained consistently safeguarded.

With Box Relay, projects such as these become an entirely different, infinitely more pleasant, and incredibly more productive experience for every team member.

Box Relay Simplifies Workflow in the Cloud

Via Box Relay, organizations have a whole new tool to help users organize and collaborate in environments that can be particularly hectic and high-stakes. Whether helping multiple departments communicate with regards to multi-stage projects, or just providing teams with a simpler way to edit and update important files, Box Relay is one more demonstration of the power of the cloud.

After all, files and data stored in file servers can’t be accessed or amended with Box Relay.

Box continues to innovate, presenting its user-base with more and more ways to collaborate and produce content; more and more ways to address repeating essential tasks; more and more ways to work together on sensitive files in a flexible and secure environment. For any business dedicated to upping productivity and empowering teams across departments. With cloud migration all of these opportunities are well within reach.

Don’t let them pass you by.