Process automation FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions and recommendations regarding Process automation:

What is the difference between Standard and Plus?

Process automation - Standard is available to you out-of-the-box. The differences between Process automation - Standard and Plus vary between alerts and scheduled tasks:

Why does the task trigger, but the email isn't sent?

Typically, communication templates are setup and designed before they are used in a scheduled task. When this template is configured, you can choose a default recipient query (Choose recipients), and begin using the Insert fields available to you because of the chosen recipient query.

If you use this same communication template in a scheduled task and select a different Recipient data source, then you must add the original default recipient query in order for the initial Insert fields to populate in the communication. You can add the default recipient query in the Data Sources tab of the Task. Without the default recipient query, the initial Insert fields will not populate with query content, and the communication will not send.

Note: For more detailed information about communication templates, see Working with communication templates.

How do I use my custom business objects in a communication template?

Communication templates can use any query as a recipient query, as long as there is a column for ID. You must first create a query using your custom business object before using it as a recipient or additional data source query.

Note: Triggering a task based on your custom business object is currently not available. Database table changes are the only type of triggers currently recognized by iMIS. Business objects and dynamic data sources (panel sources) are not supported with Process automation at this time.

How do I set up a triggered task on a database change? What criteria should I have in my filter?

For information about database changes, see Using scheduled tasks and Creating an automatic email: Tutorial.

What is the difference between #party.Email and #recipient.Email? How do I know which one to use?

You can define who is going to receive the communication while you are creating the communication template, or when you are defining the scheduled task on the Actions tab. This is called the recipient query. Any Display columns included in the recipient query are available as properties to merge and insert into the communication. For example, if there is an email display column property defined in the recipient query, then the Insert field drop-down will display #recipient.Email.

The party data source represents contact information about each recipient, and is available in each communication by default. The party insert information does not become useful until a recipient query is selected. By default, the party query uses the selected contact information, and the selected contact is the person conducting the communication.

After a recipient query is selected, the communication creator identifies the ID column in the recipient query and uses that ID to automatically provide additional party (contact) properties that you may wish to use. One of these additional properties is email, but many others are also available.

In this example, there is no difference between #recipient.Email and #party.Email because the party data source is using the ID property from the recipient data source.

If you select Additional data sources, you can modify the query that the party data source is pulling from, resulting in a difference between #recipient.Email and #party.Email. The one you choose is determined by which query you are wanting to pull email data from.

When should I use a condition?

A condition should be used if the task should only perform the action (such as sending an email) when the condition queries return results. For example, if you are scheduling an email to be sent to any new members who joined today, you can add a condition query of new members who joined today (same query that is used to send the email) so that the task will not even try to send the email if there are no new members.

The task will still work if you do not include this condition, because it will attempt to send an email that has no recipients.

Can I use Process automation with Advanced email? What are the limitations?

Advanced email will work the same with Process automation as if you had sent the Advanced email manually. Process automation just sends the communications for you on a schedule or on a trigger so that you don’t have to manually send the emails. There are a few limitations when defining an Advanced email template compared to defining a regular communication template, but these limitations are not specific to Process automation.

Can I use SSRS reports in my process automation tasks?

If the task action is Run a report, you can use an SSRS report, but the report must be a standalone SSRS report. This means that the data must be completely contained in the report. If the data is being passed into the report using an IQA query, the report will not populate and the end user will essentially receive a report with no data. See Creating standalone SSRS reports for more information.

If the task action is Send a communication and there is an SSRS report (standalone or IQA-based) attached to the communication template, the recipients ID will be passed through the task (if the report has a parameter for ID). At this time, the ID filter is the only supported filter.