Has anyone ever had any success in starting multiple triggered automations across multiple business units based on a single file drop?

It would appear that only a single triggered automation can be activated by a single file being dropped onto the FTP site, even if the other automations have the same trigger criteria. Server-Side JavaScript can be used to start other automations in the same business unit, but it doesn't appear to be able to start automations residing in other business units.

Surprisingly even the not-so-elegant process of a data extract / file transfer onto the FTP doesn't have the capability to activate a triggered automation either.

If anyone knows of any other ways around this I would love to hear it.

  • Triggering automations with what API? Where? Oct 11, 2016 at 18:18
  • Triggered automations, no API's involved. I'll clarify in original post. Oct 11, 2016 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


Perhaps the approach can the changed. Instead of looking for the same file across various BUs, use the admin BU to listen for the file and import it to a shared DE. Then in the other BUs have them run on a schedule and use the data in that shared DE to perform queries into their own local DE and manipulate or do whatever you like with.

  • Hey thanks for the response. This is actually what is going on currently, however we need to send emails from each Business Unit (to manage unsubscribes, tracking, link wrapping and sending IP, etc.). Emails should only be sent on days where the file is dropped, which is not following a predictable schedule - meaning we can't set a schedule :/ Oct 11, 2016 at 21:58
  • Yep, so the file import should overwrite the existing DE data. That way when the BU tries to use it if there's no data nothing will be sent. Oct 11, 2016 at 21:59
  • Hmm I do like that option. The main thing holding that back is the fact that the email is heavy in AMPscript, and the client is worried about the 'View in Browser' not rendering correctly because the Data Extension has been cleared. I suppose we could create two imports, one as an overwrite and used for querying / sending, and the other import to always add each file's contents to a separate Data Extension dedicated to personalization? Oct 11, 2016 at 22:06
  • @AnonWonderer yep that should work. You could also query to merge the data from the shares DE into the sensible DE for that BU and include a date stamp field in the query. Then with a filter you'd only send to "today's" results and the VAWP link should continue to function since it all refers back to the source DE in that BU. You'd need to test this, but I think it should work. Oct 12, 2016 at 6:19
  • I like it - should work out great. Thanks for the help! Oct 12, 2016 at 16:58

Another option you have is to import in the first BU, and post the import completion, have a data extract and file transfer activity in the automation to extract the file to a file location which the next BU is listening to. Create a domino effect for as many BU's as you need, each dropping a file the next one is listening for.

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