Okta Workflows How-To: Six Ways to Trigger a Flow

Okta Workflows is a no-code platform for automating identity processes. 

This blog post is based on a question asked during office hours or the #okta-workflows channel in MacAdmins Slack: How do you trigger a flow?

Getting started

There are six ways to trigger a flow. They are

  • Schedule (flow runs periodically)
  • Event (flow is called when a particular event is fired)
  • Manual (clicking the Test button)
  • API endpoint (another system invokes a flow via an API endpoint)
  • Helper flow (flow calling another flow)
  • Delegated flow (let someone else in your organization invoke it)

Schedule (flow runs periodically)

A flow can be scheduled to run periodically. For example, you can schedule a flow to run every hour, every day, or once a week (there are other options also).

To schedule a flow, add the Schedule event:

workflows howto runflow addevent
Events to trigger a flow

To configure the schedule, click the 🕔 at the bottom of the card:

workflows howto runflow schedule2
A flow that runs on schedule

Options to configure when to run a flow:

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Flow schedule options

Event (flow is called when a particular event is fired)

Another way to trigger a flow is when a specific event occurs in an organization. For example, this flow will run when a user is added to a group:

workflows howto runflow useraddedgroup
Trigger a flow when a user is added to a group

Every connector supports different events:

workflows howto runflow connector events
Events available from the Okta connector

Manual (clicking the Test button)

If you have a flow that needs to run manually, infrequently, or just once, use the Test button to trigger a flow. Even though it says Test, it’s a perfectly fine way to run a flow.

workflows howto runflow test button
Running a flow via the Test button

When manually running a flow, you don’t need to have an event card set (1st card).

As an API endpoint (another system invokes a flow via an API endpoint)

It is possible to trigger a flow from an external system via an API endpoint. For example, an event occurs in an external system, which calls to an API endpoint that triggers a flow.

To trigger a flow via an API endpoint, use the API Endpoint event card:

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Triggered a flow via an API endpoint

The API endpoint information is available by clicking the </> icon at the bottom of the card.

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API endpoint settings

To test an API endpoint, use a service such as Postman.

Helper flow (flow calling another flow)

A helper flow is a flow called from another flow. A helper flow is usually used when there is a list of objects (users, groups, etc.), and you need to iterate over each item in a list to perform an action.

In this example, a flow named Check last login will be called for each user found via List Users with Search card:

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Calling a helper flow

Helper flow is called for each item in a list:

workflows howto runflow helperflow
Helper flow

A flow becomes a helper flow when using On Demand – Helper Flow event card:

workflows howto runflow addevent
Flow trigger event cards

Flow chart view of the main flow and helper flow:

workflows howto runflow flowchart helper2
Main flow and helper flow

Delegated Flow (let someone else in your organization invoke it)

Delegated Flow is when you delegate to another user to run a flow. That person might not be an administrator but needs to be able to trigger a particular flow.

To make a delegated flow, add Delegated Flow event card:

Note: as of this writing Delegated Flow is an Early Access feature.

workflows howto runflow addevent
Delegated flow event card

A delegated flow event card can define one or more inputs. In the screenshot below, the flow has two inputs: Name and ID.

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Delegated flow

Flow execution is delegated to another user within an organization. In the screenshot below, the user stella.green can run this flow:

workflows howto runflow delegated3 1
A flow delegated to a user to run

When Stella invokes the flow, Stella will need to enter flow inputs:

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Delegated flow inputs

Looking at the flow history after Stella triggered the flow:

workflows howto runflow delegated2
Delegated flow history

In this How-To Guide, you learned six different ways to trigger flow.

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Workflows