Box Developers
Jul 18, 2017 · 7 min read

This post was written by David Majetic, an Enterprise Sales Engineer at Box.

My current mission at Box is to lead up Sales Engineering for Box Canada. I am tasked to take our company vision for Cloud Content Management and inspire my prospects and customers to think differently on how they manage and access their content. In my experience, the best conversations I have had often come after showing a live demo of a use case that not only incorporate Box products, but also include other products that may be complementary or already in use in a company.

With this post, I’m going to show you one of the demos that I recently put together for a customer. I pulled this together using a loan origination sample application built on Box Platform, the Box Salesforce connector, the Stamplay low-code development platform, and APIs from DocParser and Twilio. The specific demo scenario is a customer uploading a loan request to a banking website that includes uploading a document. The document is uploaded to Box using our API and App User model, and sent to a “Loan Applications” folder in Box. Upon upload, the file is sent to DocParser, a data extraction tool for PDFs, for parsing, and the derived metadata extracted by DocParser is stored back to Box as metadata on the file and also used to create a Lead Record in Salesforce. The agent is then sent a notification that a new request has been submitted, generated using the Twilio API, that they can review the lead record in Salesforce, and review associated documents using the Box for Salesforce connector. The agent reviews the loan application and if everything looks OK, they trigger a Docusign flow using the Box for Docusign integration. When the customer signs the document using Docusign, it is automatically saved back to Box and the agent is sent a notification with a URL to the signed document using the Twilio API.

Most companies today run processes like loan origination off of a legacy, on-premise ECM solution. If they’ve managed to make the process self-serve, it’s by investing a lot in custom application development, using the ECM solution primarily for secure retention of content. More likely, the process is manual, with paper documents or email. Box gives you another option. Because Box is agnostic to the user interface, experiences can be designed that flow content through our first-party web and mobile apps, the applications that we integrate with (like Salesforce, Docusign, and Microsoft Office), and your custom applications that consume our APIs. This means that you can drive full end-to-end experiences, like onboarding a new customer, with unified content storage and governance through Box. Notice that we’re referring to “experiences” and not “processes.” The ultimate goal is to have on-demand access to content in any experience you are creating or any business application you are using.

Supporting experiences like the onboarding process just described is possible because Box is both a SaaS application, and also available as a suite of cloud content management APIs, known as Box Platform, that can be used to embed cloud content management into your own applications. Depicted below, you can see Box as one of the SaaS providers that companies use to run their business, but also Box Platform as an API provider similar to Twilio, Stripe, or Sendgrid, with which companies can build digital experiences. In the same way that Twilio provides messaging services for your applications, Box provides content management services for your applications.

What this means for our customers is that content can be seamlessly surfaced through prebuilt integrations with business applications like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Adobe and DocuSign to name a few. In addition, when your content management system is in the cloud, it can and must be the same system that powers content experiences for custom applications for customers and employees if we are to deliver on the promise of digital.

I thought of a quick way to demonstrate the value of our Functional PaaS and SaaS offerings in action. One of the benefits of cloud is that it allows you to prototype solutions faster, fail faster, and — most importantly — deliver faster. Everything I built here can be done for free by signing up for developer accounts. My whole thought process was to not build an end-to-end solution, but to show how you can connect some best-of-breed technologies to create building blocks my customers could then incorporate and take to the next level. I used what could be considered part of a mortgage application process, but it really could be anything involving documents, notifications, and customer records.

I was able to do this fairly quickly using Stamplay, which is a low code platform that easily allows you to run workflow logic across PaaS and SaaS solutions. This is a growing area of interest for Box as more content plays are requiring on demand services. Other solutions in the mix:

App Users are full-featured enterprise Box accounts that belong to your application, not a Box end-user. Unlike typical Box accounts, these accounts do not have an associated login and can only be accessed through the Content API by the controlling application and associated Box User ID. This new user model allows your application to take advantage of groups, permissions, collaborations, comments, tasks, and the many other features offered by the Box platform to create white-labeled content experiences. Your custom applications have users that are now part of a content management process. A content security/identity model for users in any application gives you an audit trail for compliance, alleviates building one on your own (trust us — it’s hard) and allows your content to be ported to other applications as opposed to using a repository for dumb storage and all the content security/audit (if you’ve done it right) live somewhere else.

Here is the high level description of what happens.

  1. Customer Uploads Completed PDF Form through custom web app
  2. Customer. Info Extracted from Form
  3. New Salesforce CRM Lead created and filled with Extracted Customer. Info
  4. Box Folder automatically associated with CRM lead with all the Box Web App features
  5. Agent sends doc from Salesforce to Customer for Signature
  6. Customer Receives Doc on Mobile and Signs Digitally
  7. Agent Receives Text indicating Doc has been Signed
  8. Agent Previews Signed Doc on Mobile

You can check out a video demo of the application here:

Thanks to pre-existing integrations, this demo was really just implementing IF THEN ELSE logic and following unique identifiers between systems. A business analyst with little to no programming skills could do it.

So why does this matter?

Connect More. Build Less

Use references to content. Don’t move it.

Use best-of-breed technology.

Deliver and respond faster.

Here are the two high level Stamplay Flow recipes:

They key to this Flow was create the necessary fields on the lead Salesforce object record from the DocParser variables and create a FRUP table record in Salesforce. The FRUP table is basically an intersection table that tells our integration package which Box folder our embed technology should point for a given Salesforce record.

This opens up endless possibilities for Box content to follow the Salesforce record. Use cases could include sales, claims, work orders, case management and digital vaults in portal oriented applications. The ability to have instant access to the same repository another user be it employee or customer is experiencing in another application is transformational.

For a closer look at the Stamplay Flows, I have created step-by-step screenshots on how built them. They were purpose-built for my demo, but with some modifications it could support a production environment.

Stamplay Flows:

I recommend reviewing the Stamplay blog on how to create a Stamplay blueprint for DocParser and Box.

To build this demo for yourself, you can sign up for a Twilio trial account, sign up for a Salesforce Developer account, and either use your existing Box account or sign up for a free Box Developer account.

Once your content resides in Box, the ability to use our Cloud Content Management Platform, ecosystem of business application integrations, open APIs and the explosion of complementary micro services the promise of digital transformation may be closer than you think. And the good news is, it doesn’t take a whole lot of work to start building!

Box Developer Blog

Cloud content management APIs

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