SmartFile is releasing an innovative feature that will allow you to use SmartFile in amazing new ways. We call this feature Automation, but you may also know this in other programs as workflows. Simply put, this gives SmartFile users the ability to put process around your SmartFile site activity through a predetermined set of steps. This post will introduce you to the basics of automation, automation rules and some awesome things you can do with them. Let’s get started.

How Automation Works

Automation is driven by rules. A rule has two parts: definition and action(s). The definition is a combination of options that SmartFile will refer to anytime something happens in your site. The action is what happens when the definition is met. Multiple actions can be attached to definitions to create more complex workflows.

Definition = A specific file is downloaded.
Action 1 = Email users that the file has been downloaded.
Action 2 = Move the file to an archived folder after 7 days.

Hopefully, the simple example above gets your brain thinking about all of the possibilities that Automation offers.

Defining an Automation Rule
There are three parts to defining a rule: type, options and time. Each of these can be modified to create a broad or very specific definition.

  • Part 1 – Types
    Types of rules include path, user or group. This is what you will create your rule around and determines the options available.
  • Part 2 – Options
    Based on the type of rule, your options will vary. If you have a path type, you will have path-based options available (read, write, move, copy, delete, etc.). If you have a user or group type, your options will be related to user actions (logging in, creating, editing, removing, etc.).
  • Part 3 – Time
    This is tied to when the first action is executed. You can choose immediately, time delay (days, hours, minutes) or date specific.

Setting Actions for Automation
Actions will be the ever-growing part of automation that will expand with time. Actions like notify (email), move, copy, delete, share and many more will give your rules a complex set of steps to automate your file management. Actions can be chained together and will execute in the order listed. Each action also has a time metric attached to give the ability to delay between chained actions.

Real-World Applications
What can you use Automation for? Anything and everything, depending on your business needs. Here are a list of various rules that you will be able to create in the near future:

  • Email notifications
  • Auto-archive files (move files based on date or action)
  • Auto-delete files (delete files based on date or inactivity)
  • Auto-copy files to other storage
  • Recycle bin (move files to trash folder when deleted)
  • Deactivate users (based on date or inactivity)

Next Steps
Automation will be replacing our current Notifications tab. You will have the same functionality of email notifications in Automation, but with a lot more options. Any existing notification settings will be migrated. Automation gives SmartFile users the ability to create complex workflows that increase efficiency, allow for better file management and help manage file lifecycles. Stay tuned for additional announcements related to this feature in 2016!

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About Kevin O'Keefe

I am the Creative Director at SmartFile. My job is to manage marketing on the internet for all things SmartFile. I maintain the design and development of SmartFile's website along with other social profiles. I love design and analytics, deadly combination but enjoyable nonetheless.

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