Workflow steps define all the actions within a workflow, whether they are user actions like providing electronic signatures or system actions like sending notifications. This article covers types of steps that relate to a workflow process:

  • Notification: The Notification step sends a message to users (by email and to the Notification page in their Vault). See details.
  • Join: When you create parallel steps in a workflow, the Join step re-connects these branches and enforces that all parallel tasks must be complete or cancelled before the workflow advances to the next step. See details.
  • Timer: The Timer step monitors a specific workflow task and expires if the task is not complete at the end of the specified time period. See details.
  • End Workflow: The End Workflow step marks the end of a workflow. See details.

You can read details about other types of steps in Legacy Workflow Tasks & Decision Steps and Document Update Steps. To learn about creating new steps and linking them together, see Configuring Legacy Workflow Steps.

Notification Steps

Notification steps allow you to send messages to users associated with the document or workflow. For example, after a State Change step, Vault Notification steps allow you to send messages to users with roles on the document. You can manage the messages themselves from Admin > Configuration > Messages. Notification steps send an email to the selected users and add a new item to the Home > Notifications.

For workflow tasks, you can select a message as part of the workflow task configuration, so a notification step is not needed to inform users that the workflow has assigned a task to them.

Field Description
Message Template Select a message to send in the notification. Learn more about message templates.
Recipient Select a user role as recipient for the notification. If multiple users are in a role, Vault sends the notification to all of them.
Show decision/comments from previous task(s) in notification detail Optional: Select this checkbox if Vault should include decisions (Approve, Deny, etc.) or comments from one or more previous tasks in Active Workflows and Show Notifications on the Doc Info page.
Display decision and comments from Optional: Choose the previous tasks from which to include decisions and comments.

Join Steps

When including parallel workflow tasks, the Join step enforces that all parallel tasks must be complete or canceled before the workflow can advance to the next step. Parallel tasks with a Join step are a different workflow model than a single task assigned to multiple users. With parallel tasks, you can send different instructions for each task, whereas a single task with multiple users must have a single instruction set. For a typical parallel review workflows, it is better to use parallel tasks and assign different functional roles to each task than to assign the same review task to multiple users.

To use the Join step, create the step and set it as the next step for all parallel tasks.

Short-Circuit Setup in Join Step

Workflows sometimes include parallel tasks, meaning that more than one task is assigned simultaneously for the workflow and multiple tasks are open at the same time. The short-circuit option allows you to identify verdicts that will short-circuit the review and approval process by canceling open parallel tasks.

To configure short-circuiting on a Join step:

  1. From the Step Details page for the Join step, click Edit and select the Allow Short-Circuit checkbox.
  2. All valid Workflow Task steps will appear in the Parallel Tasks list. To be valid, a step must have verdicts and have the Join step selected as its “next step.”
  3. For each task, select one or more verdicts that will cause Vault to cancel outstanding parallel tasks. If needed, you can choose to not select any verdicts for some Workflow Task steps.
  4. Click Save.

Learn more about short-circuiting parallel workflow tasks.

Timer Steps

Timer steps monitor a workflow task and expire if the task is not complete at the end of the specified time range. When a timer step expires, Vault notifies the Workflow Owner. Depending on settings, a timer step may also cancel outstanding tasks. The system updates the timer step’s due date when you update workflow due dates. Note that timer steps expire at the end of the day, according to UTC.

Field Description
Associated Workflow Task Select the workflow task to which the timer is linked. The list includes all current workflow tasks.
Timer Parameter Select the field to use as the timer expiration date. This list only includes fields for which there is a Date Control configuration in the workflow's Start step.
Cancel outstanding tasks on timer expiration Optional: Select this checkbox to automatically cancel all incomplete tasks associated with the timer when the timer expires. This option can ensure that the workflow progresses without any open tasks.
Remove completed task owners from participant list Optional: Select this checkbox to automatically remove all users that have completed their tasks from the list of workflow participants. This action enables you to resend the task to only the users with outstanding work to complete.

Timer & Join Step Behavior

Tasks cancelled by a timer do not behave exactly the same way as tasks cancelled manually, and may produce unexpected results if followed by a Join Step. In this situation, the join will never complete because the cancelled task wasn’t completed (just cancelled), and the join is still waiting for the cancelled task.

If you must have a join step follow a timer step, create a Decision Step in-between with no rules except the “Else” statement pointing to the join step. Next, set both the task and timer to point to this decision step as their next step. This way, whether the task is completed or cancelled by the timer, the task will go to the decision step which will go to the join.

End Workflow Steps

Vault automatically includes an End Workflow type step in every workflow. If your workflow includes a decision step that branches the workflow, you can add an End Workflow step to each branch.

Field Description
Display Start Next Workflow dialog when workflow ends Set the checkbox if you want Vault to display a dialog when this workflow completes that prompts the user to start one of the other workflows that is available for the document's lifecycle state. This dialog appears only for the user who completes the last workflow task step in the workflow.

If the final task owner does not have the necessary permissions for the workflow's final document state, the Start Next Workflow dialog will not appear, even if configured.

Some migrated workflows may not have an End Workflow step. In this case, the workflow ends automatically when no additional steps are available to process.