Microsoft has developed a number of business solutions that help companies simplify processes and integrate and synchronize data from different sources.
As a result, companies can look forward to gaining greater work efficiency and better results than before. One of such solutions is Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow), an online application that automates tasks and processes in an intuitive way.
What is Power Automate?
Power Automate is a cloud-based solution that enables employees to build automated workflows. These can be placed in a variety of applications – without writing code or with minimal new code.
The person responsible for setting up the workflows defines the actions to be taken when a specific event occurs. In this way, the organization can automate repetitive tasks for its employees in different programs and applications. As more repetitive processes and tasks are automated – the efficiency and productivity of the entire company increases.
What is Microsoft Flow?
Microsoft Flow was a tool that allowed to increase work efficiency by automating tasks, integrating data, and improving collaboration between different applications. This allowed employees to avoid repetitive tasks, receive automatic notifications, have their files synchronized, etc. Eventually, Microsoft decided to incorporate Microsoft Flow into the Microsoft Power Platform as a key component of today’s Microsoft Power Automate.
How do I get started with Microsoft Power Automate?
Getting started with Microsoft Power Automate is simple. All you need is an e-mail address and a web browser. Registration is free.
The app includes many templates ready to use and recommendations of applications that can be linked to Power Automate. Navigation is intuitive, which makes this tool convenient for users who have little programming knowledge.
From within Power Automate, you can create, for example, a workflow that retrieves a potential customer’s data and transfers it to Microsoft Dynamics 365, or one that automatically retweets tweets with specific parameters, or allows attachments from emails to be saved to OneDrive or SharePoint – the list of potential possibilities is de facto endless.
Key features of Power Automate
- PowerBI connectors enable collaboration with external database systems. This gives your organisation access to insightful data analytics.
- Automate processes using templates and UIs that require no programming,
- Tools to create complex workflows for entire teams.
- RPA (Robotic Process Automation) – observes and records all actions, which include mouse clicks, keyboard presses, database entries, and then enables replication and automation of workflows.
- Availability for mobile applications, which also allows you to run automated tasks while on the move or in the field.
Key Flow Types for Microsoft Power Automate
Automatically triggers events in a product or service based on predefined conditions.
Is triggered when a user taps a button on a mobile device or clicks a button on a website.
Starts based on a predefined time schedule predefined by the user.
What are connectors in Microsoft Power Automate?
The ability to quickly and easily integrate with other Microsoft solutions and services and more is a very big advantage of Power Automate. The tool has just under 300 predefined connectors that allow Power Automate to work with, for example, SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Mailchimp, GitHub, Dropbox, YouTube, WordPress, and many others.
The list of external solutions with which you can easily integrate Power Automate using connectors is constantly expanding and allows you to work comfortably with data in the cloud or on-premise. In addition, if none of the predefined connectors meet your expectations – you can create your own.
How do the connectors work?
It is a connector that starts a given workflow. For example, saving a file on Microsft SharePoint or publishing a new video on YouTube may trigger an e-mail notification to specific employees.
Allows you to define actions that will be taken after the workflow starts. For example, uploading a file to SharePoint will start the approval process, which will require, for example, receiving an email from a specific person.
Refers to the situation when we want to connect two applications. The tool will ask for the credentials of each of the applications we want to connect. It is worth noting that the data is encrypted using Microsoft security and can be easily deleted at any time.
Key benefits of Power Automate
The implementation of Power Automate in an organization brings concrete benefits, first and foremost:
Increased work efficiency
The creation of workflows allows you to save time both at the level of individual tasks and across the entire organization and systems.
Convenient data flow and easy integration
Thanks to quick integration with hundreds of predefined connectors, you can enable convenient data flow between individual applications, while providing convenient access to data for selected users.
Close to zero programming
Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Flow) requires almost no or minimal new code development. Creating workflows mainly requires an idea for a workflow and then creating it directly from within this application.
Within Power Automate, we have access to AI, which will further help us reduce the number of boring, repetitive jobs. This will allow employees to focus on getting the most out of their skills.
Microsoft Power Automate is one of the most interesting components of the Power Platform and is a great extension of the former Microsoft Flow. It is particularly useful for slightly larger organizations where the number of processes is sufficiently large and, in addition, they are repeatable and clearly defined.
Power Automate will help to relieve many employees and allow them to concentrate on using their key skills. A salesperson will be able to devote more time to customers, a marketer will be able to think longer about developing a creative and effective campaign, etc. The tool will also help to improve collaboration within and between teams, e.g. by making it easier and more systematic to approve documents at different stages.