Many organizations use Google Drive, but this article will show you how to build a system that automatically uploads files to Google Drive without any code.
The established mechanism will allow approved quote files to be automatically uploaded to Google Drive. An email is then automatically sent to the customer with the URL to view or download the file.
What is Google Drive?
It is a storage service that allows users to store files in the cloud, and is a feature of Google Workspace provided by Google.
There are services for individuals and businesses, but the enterprise service offers powerful features for sharing files and folders (Shared Drive functionality). This article focuses on Google Drive for businesses.
We at Questetra have been using Google Drive since the company was founded in 2008. We use Google Drive not only to store and share files within the company, but also use the site for people outside the company for other purposes, such as:
- Proposal submissions, etc.
- Publication of product and service materials (*)
- Publication of application templates (*)
(* Public = making the URL available for viewing and downloading by anyone who knows the URL)
I Want to Automate File Sharing
Regardless of whether or not Google Drive is used, there is a problem with the amount of time and effort required for file sharing in business operations.
- The hassle of storing approved files in a specified location
- The hassle of setting up folder names
- The hassle of setting access privileges
The problem of files not being shared properly or not being shared easily due to the large amount of time and effort required to do so may be occurring at your workplace to a greater or lesser extent.
A good strategy to solve such problems is to automate procedures related to file sharing.
- As soon as the approval is granted, the related files are automatically saved in a predetermined location.
- Folders are named according to the rules
- Files are stored in a location with appropriate access permissions
This automatic process reduces the time and effort involved in file sharing and prevents mistakes that would otherwise be made manually.
Google Drive API for Automation!?
Some of you with a bit of technical knowledge may think «if you want to automate you need an API, right? We can use Google Drive’s API, right?»
The answer is yes, but using an API (Application Programming Interface) is not so easy for non-IT engineers.
For those wondering what an API is, please refer to the following article.
Indeed, Google Drive has APIs that can be used to automate, for example, the uploading of files and the creation of folders.
- The manual is written in English
- In the case of cloud services provided by overseas companies, API documentation is often only in English.
- You need to understand the behavior of the API in detail
- What format of data must be prepared as input data? What data is included in the output data?
- You must program what you understand
- Convert business data into the format required by the API, and parse output data into a form that can be used by the business.
Thus, building an automation mechanism using the API requires a certain amount of knowledge and experience. In addition, the time and effort required to repeatedly build and test the mechanism can be quite significant.
Although it is difficult (in fact, I think it is impossible for non-engineers) to investigate the Google Drive API from scratch and work on automation in this way, there are ways to achieve automation using the resulting API without being aware of the API.
No-Code Google Drive Automation
Automated Items for Operating Google Drive
The no-code development platform Questetra BPM Suite provides items to access the Google Drive API.
These items allows you to approach automation without the knowledge and experience to use the APIs described in the previous section.
Typical automation items for operating Google Drive that are available in Questetra BPM Suite are as follows:
- Google Drive: Upload Files
- Google Drive: Create Folder
- Google Drive: Delete File/Folder
- Google Drive: Search Folder
Here are some examples of automation using these items. (You can get the workflow application we are going to introduce here.
Share Approved Quote Files with Customers
Consider the following operations;
- A salesperson prepares a quotation.
- The sales manager approves the quotation.
- The salesperson submits the quotation file to the customer.
We will consider automating the last part of this workflow (quote approval workflow), which is the submission of the quote file to the customer.
In this case, we will automate the part for submitting a quotation file to a customer in the following two steps.
- Approved quote files are uploaded to the Google Drive submission folder
- An email is sent to the customer with a URL to download the uploaded file
This will reduce the amount of time salespeople spend submitting quotations and eliminate mistakes such as forgetting to submit or attach files to an e-mail. To achieve this kind of automation, the aforementioned Questetra BPM Suite is used. (Click here for a 60-day free trial)
Questetra BPM Suite is a platform for developing systems while creating workflow diagrams. First of all, we draw a workflow diagram of the process flow until a quotation is submitted.
This workflow diagram is drawn based on the BPMN workflow diagram notation rules. Items with blue squares indicate that they will be processed by users instead of automatically. Items with gray squares and red circles (except for the first and last items in the flow) indicate some kind of automatic processing.
As shown in the figure above, two items, the gray item «Google Drive: Upload File» and the red item «Throwing Message Intermediate Event (email)» are used to automate the submission of a quotation file to a customer. By placing these items at the appropriate locations in the workflow diagram and configuring each item as shown in the figure below, automation is ready to be performed.
The folder to which you will upload should be created in advance in an appropriate location on Google Drive. In the URL for displaying the created folder, enter the blue portion shown below into the field «Folder ID that files will be uploaded» on the settings screen of the automated item for uploading to Google Drive shown in the figure above.
Then set the share settings for this folder to everyone who knows the link. (Settings in Google Drive)
Set the Data Items to be handled in the Quote Approval Flow. This section defines items to be entered by users and automated items.
With a few other simple settings, it is possible for a salesperson to attach a quote and the sales manager to approve it on the screen, as shown in the following figure.
The actual email sent will look like the figure below.
The following figure shows an image of the quotation approval flow once it has been automated. The most significant effect is the reduction of salesman’s time and effort and the elimination of errors.
We hope you now understand that you can easily build such a mechanism without any knowledge or experience with APIs or programming.
We have shown how to automate procedures related to file delivery using Google Drive.
Questetra BPM Suite, a cloud-based no-code development platform, provides items for uploading files to Google Drive. By using it you can easily build a mechanism to automate file transfer without knowledge or experience of Google Drive’s API (Application Programming Interface).
The Questetra BPM Suite introduced here is available on a 60-day free trial basis. If you are interested, please apply from the following link.
The workflow application described in this article, which automatically uploads quote files to Google Drive, can be obtained here. Once you have the workflow app file, you can import it into the workflow platform for a 60-day free trial and see how it works immediately.
There are still a variety of automated operations that can be achieved. We will introduce them in future articles.
That’s all for this time!