Automating Workflows with Chains

To automate workflows in the Workiva platform and across other data sources, admins can create and manage linear sequences of tasks as chains. For example, you can create a chain to automatically refresh financial information from a data source in a table, and then push that data to another data source to generate a report. To view and manage your chains in Wdata, click Chains.

Adding a Chain

Step 1: Set Up the Chain's Details

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From Wdata Chains, click Build and select Chains.
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Click Create Chain (+) in the lower right.

Create Chain button

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Under Setup, enter a unique name and description to help identify the chain and its intent.
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To enable the chain to run multiple times simultaneously, such as with different runtime inputs for each instance, select Allow concurrent runs.
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To prevent the chain from being run, such as to postpone its usage, select Disable execution.
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Define any shared or dynamic values used in the chain:
  • Under Variables, define values that appear in multiple commands and many change frequently.
  • Under Dynamic Variables, define values to set when the chain starts to run or during its execution, such as based on the outputs of earlier commands.
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To automatically run the chain, specify when it should start.
  • To run the chain on regular intervals or during a specific date range, under Schedules, specify when and how often it should start.
  • To run the chain based on the completion of another chain, under Triggers, add the chains and conditions to monitor for.
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Click Save.

Step 2: Define the Nodes of the Chain

When you build a chain, you can include multiple steps, or nodes. To add your first node, click Start building, and select the type of step to start the chain. Your first node can include a:

After the first step, click + to add another command or event to the chain. Create Chain button

When you add a command or event, select where to add it in context of where you clicked the plus sign (+):

  • To add a command or event between two commands, click Insert between. For example, to transform or approve the previous command's output before pushing it to another datasource.
  • To add a command or event as a new branch of a logic tree, click Insert new branch. For example, to automate tasks or enable an approval workflow based on whether the previous command succeeds or fails.
  • To add a command to group with the previous command, click Group with above command. For example, to execute both commands in parallel and finish before the chain continues to the next step.

You can also select whether the command or event should occur based on the result of the previous command. Learn more about managing commands or events in chains.

After you define the nodes of the chain, click Publish to enable it to run.

Copying a Chain as a Starting Point

To create a chain similar to another chain in the workspace, you can use a copy as a starting point.

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From Wdata Chains, click Build, and select Chains.
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From the existing chain's menu, select Copy. Copy chain
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From the copy's menu, select Edit, and update its nodes or properties as necessary.

Promoting a Chain to a Different Environment

As part of your development lifecycle, you may build chains in an environment separate from where collaborators run them. For example, you may create chains in a DEV environment until they're ready for use in a PROD environment. To move a chain from one environment to another, you can promote it.

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From Wdata Chains, click Build, and select Chains.
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From the chain's menu, select Promote. Select Promote
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Select the environment to promote the chain to, and click Next.
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For each connection in the chain, choose the connection to use in the new environment, and click Next.
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Review the connection mapping, and click Promote.

Editing a Chain

To update the nodes or properties of a chain:

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From Wdata Chains, click Build, and select Chains.
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From the chain's menu, select Edit, and update its commands and events as necessary. Select Edit
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To update the chain's properties, click Edit, and adjust its schedules or triggers, variables, and notifications as necessary. Select Edit

Running a Chain

You can run chains manually or automatically, serially or in parallel:

For details about a chain's runs from Wdata Chains, click Build, select Chains, and then select Versions from the chain's menu. Monitor history

To view a history of all chains in the workspace, from Wdata Chains, click Monitor, and select the status of the runs to view. For information about a specific run, such as to determine at which step the chain had an error, select the run. Monitor history

To then view a history of the chain's runs, click All History; to view the chain itself, click Back to Execute.