In SFMC Automation Studio, the automation can either be scheduled or file drop and will execute a set of activities.

Let's say that I have 5 Steps (horizontal) and the first step has 3 activities (vertical).

I know that each horizontal step has to be success in order for it to proceed to the next and complete all 5 steps (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

What I am wondering is about the vertical steps (1.1, 1.2, 1.3);

  1. Do they run in parallel or sequentially?
  2. If one of the steps fails, will the others still proceed in the same vertical step group?
  3. If one of the steps fails, how does it determine if it will move onto the next horizontal step?

Is there any way to add a dynamic verification step which only deletes the source file in the event of success or failure?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


In order to have more precise answers, it is better to always strive to add the context or the goal you are trying to achieve in your situation. Moreover, it is highly appreciated when you would show your effort in solving the issue as well since not everybody would follow all your previously created questions.

  1. They run in parallel.
  2. Since they run in parallel, some of the steps might be finished by the time another one within the column would fail.
  3. It will never go further horizontally-wise if one of the steps within the column would fail. If the column fails, you can always check in the Activity tab, which activities were finished and failed.

The generic rule of running activities in parallel - think what is the sources and targets of the activities you put to run in parallel because you will likely have a mess by having 3 Import activities to target 1 DE, for example.

  1. I guess, it is related to the previous question you asked here. I assume, you want to delete the file, once it gets decrypted and imported to DE, then you can even set simple Verification activity (example) that will check if the target DE of the import gets populated or not:
    • If records are there --> let the Data Extract in the next step delete the file from SFTP.
    • If records are not found --> stop the automation and give you a possibility to investigate.
  • Not trying to do anything except understand the process of operations, priorities, etc. since the documentation in and of itself is lacking in regards to how the steps are parallelized, impacts and performance. Thanks for the answer.
    – user80446
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 2:22

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