Automatic Update Requests: Bulk vs One at a time

11/26/20
Answered - Pending Review

Hi all,

I have project registers with automatic rules that trigger update request emails. Each email request is designed to provide unique information about the register entry.

If I do updates on the sheet and save a bunch of entries at once, Smartsheet sends a bulk update request, rather than sending one update request per line entry sometimes.

What is interesting about this is that the way Smartsheet requests an update either bulk or one by one is intermittent.

Does anyone know how to lock down Smartsheet to send update requests one by one rather than many line update requests in a single email? The bulk version confuses my collaborators because they have no "in email" details of the update they are being requested to do.

Saving line entries one by one to force a single line entry update request automatically works of course. However, when you have hundreds of lines to trigger automatic update requests of the same collaborators it makes the job time consuming to ensure they get one automatic update request per line entry, and not a bulk update request they sometimes spend days having to leave an update web page open for as they update each entry.

Answers

  • Hey @deanlevick ,

    The behaviour on if these are sent in bulk vs individually are dependant on how the Workflow was triggered.

    If you make a lot of changes all at once and save, this will often trigger the Workflow to send in bulk. These are sent in bulk to reduce the strain on the Email Server, as it's easier to send a bulk load of information at once, almost as part of a queue or schedule, rather than sending individual items rapidly one after another.

    Furthermore, you may wish to utilize the the cell reference feature in your Update Request custom message as seen at the bottom of thi article; https://help.smartsheet.com/articles/2479256-customize-the-content-of-your-alerts-and-requests. This will allow you to reference specific parts of a row E.G Task Name

    To combat this, you may want to create a Report for each of your collaborators, and have it set by Current Viewer so that only those assigned to specific rows will see there information and when its updated on the Report, this will reflect on the Sheet. See more on this here: https://help.smartsheet.com/learning-track/smartsheet-intermediate/reports

    Let me know if you have any questions!

    Regards

    Sean

  • Hi Sean,

    Thanks for your feedback. Our requirement was to be able to trigger individual email update requests rather than bulk update requests after saving a sheet at one time. I was kind of hoping there might be a feature that forced one format or the other. Appears not.

    Your report approach is an interesting workaround, although not suited to this particular requirement.

    So my workaround was to switch off the workflow so the sheet could be saved at once by a workforce coordinator, then switch it back on after and trigger save each changed entry one at a time. Painful when a workforce coordinator wants to save 200 resource changes at once. However, the status toggle from open to follow up eventually did the trick as painfully long as it takes to trigger emails one by one because there is no setting to force a preference for individual email update requests over bulk update requests.



    Regards


    Dean

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @[email protected]

    To add to Sean's excellent advice/answer.

    You can trigger up to six rows at one time, and they will be separate.

    When using placeholders with Alert or Update Request actions in change-based workflows, placeholders will generate separate notifications if six or fewer rows are triggered simultaneously. If seven or more rows are triggered at once, the custom subject and body will be removed.

    Would that work/help?

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe and have a fantastic week!

    Best,

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    Did my post(s) help or answer your question or solve your problem? Please help the Community by marking it as the accepted answer/helpful. It will make it easier for others to find a solution or help to answer!

    SMARTSHEET PARTNER & CONSULTANT / EXPERT

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

  • edited 01/20/21

    Hi @Andrée Starå

    Can you provide more information on what a placeholder is within a workflow in this context?

    The rest of your advice I can follow in my workflows. Plus 6 updates at a time is way better than 1 at a time.

    The bespoke emails that are triggered and sent to staff to do their updates to individual client records are designed to ensure they fully understand the updates required for them to complete. Whereas the bulk update omits all of the carefully crafted workflow emails triggered with client data included.


    Regards

    Dean

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    @[email protected]

    If you add placeholders, it will force the Update Requests to send one by one up to six.

    Make sense?

    More info (Sean called it cell reference): 


    SMARTSHEET PARTNER & CONSULTANT / EXPERT

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

  • Hi @Andrée Starå

    I think I got what you mean. The definition of a "place holder" is the same as applying column fields like {{Task}} in the email body or subject line of the workflow automation.

    I do have those all over my workflows, in this case, so saving 6 at once and still be able to create individual emails to be triggered will save a great deal of time for me. So thank you for your kind assistance.


    Regards


    Dean

  • Andrée StaråAndrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭

    @[email protected]

    Excellent!

    Yes, exactly.

    You're more than welcome!

    Remember! Did my post(s) help or answer your question or solve your problem? Please help the Community by marking it as the accepted answer/helpful. It will make it easier for others to find a solution or help to answer!

    SMARTSHEET PARTNER & CONSULTANT / EXPERT

    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

    W: www.workbold.com | E: [email protected] | P: +46 (0) - 72 - 510 99 35

    Feel free to contact me about help with Smartsheet, integrations, general workflow advice, or something else entirely.

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