Microsoft Power Automate – The Future of Process Automation
The evolution of Power Automate took place as the Microsoft Ignite 2019 session announced the rebranding of its Microsoft FLOW to Microsoft Power Automate. Microsoft FLOW is a cloud-based software that concedes the employee/person to create an automatic workflow from many applications without the help of any developer or an expert, which simplifies your business process and helps to manage them more effectively.
Business, enterprise, or a user can automate a repetitive task by creating simple flows. The templates can be triggered, and specific actions performed, which enhance the productivity of the employees.
It was not just a change in the name by Microsoft, but it was a change or upgraded in their technology. A new Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tool, which is called UI Flow, is used in Power Automate.
There are more than 220 applications and services that are compatible with using it.
Features of Power Automate.
Microsoft Power Automate helps enterprises and users to reduce the workload in their daily routine tasks. Especially those who do not need much skill or expertise and still eat-up considerable amount of your precious time.
- Creating Reminders
Creating reminder for our day to day work or any task or pending approvals which needs regular reminder can now be achieved through Power Automate. This feature of creating a flow for different reminders saves the time of a user or enterprise, thus increasing their productivity.
- Update and Notification
Any document or other related approval can sometimes be a very time-consuming task. It may also require a timely follow-up. Power Automate can help you create a flow that provides notification via email and text message on mobile. It also facilitates instant information sharing, whether the document or any other approval is accepted or rejected.
- Social Media Templates
In almost every enterprise, a designated PR takes care of social media accounts for the company. His work is now made more comfortable with the help of Power Automate’s social media templates. Now he does not have to collect tweets or posts related to the company with the hashtag. All this is taken care of by the Power Automate’s social media templates, which collects data in excel spreadsheets to create relevant reports based on the collected data.
- Remote service.
For the users who have vigorous travel routines to carry out their business or to meet new clients and generate new business leads, Power Automate can prove to be a boon. While the user does not have access to his laptop or PC, Power Automate provides notification on his mobile phone about any urgent emails or messages from his Boss or any crucial customers. This flow can be created just easily as it is done on any desktop or MacBook.
Who can benefit most from Microsoft Power Automate?
To start with, the requirements to create workflows through Microsoft Power Automate is the availability of a valid Email Id and a Web Browser for sign-in purposes. It is not confined to only a specific group or industry that can utilize the features of this technology. It is universal and open to all who want to simplify and streamline their daily workload. However, these automated workflows can be most beneficial to the users listed below:
- The organizations that would need to hire IT experts even for small IT work in their company can now create a workflow on their own. This helps them to reduce their costs and improve the productivity of their employees.
- The IT experts who are now getting benefitted from this technique, as they can explore solutions themselves. They are now able to help their specialists to focus more on productive things and advanced integration tools.
How; Flows are created through Power Automate?
To; create Flows through Power Automate, the user has to be aware of the expected action that should be when any specific task is performed. In simpler words, given an input, the user should be aware of its expected output.
For example, earlier, the hiring of a person for a job involved several steps in the process, like initiating the process of onboarding by HR, creating a database about identification, and other credentials by ERP. The user is actually occupied to do these kinds of very basic tasks that can be done automated. Power Automate now facilitates achieving all these with ease. That’s not it all! With the help of Power Automate, even if you are travelling and you cannot afford to miss any important email or any vital information. Power Automate can aid in sending messages to your cell phone instantly, thus keeping you updated.
Two crucial parts while creating a Flow.
- Trigger: It denotes the starting point of action which you want to perform. It creates the action for which the flow is to be generated. For example, say, you have created a workflow through Power Automate for your team. The action can be the addition of any new file in the SharePoint, or Dropbox or it can be receipt of any new email. These actions can be set as a ‘trigger’ of the flow, depending on your requirements.
- Action: It is your decision about what you want your output to be after the ‘trigger’ is initiated in the flow. For example, it can be a notification to your employees about the addition of any new files in SharePoint or Dropbox or saving a new email into a specific folder after its receipt.
Types of Flows:
Different types of Flows that can help you in the automation of very tedious tasks and improve productivity.
- Automated Flow: This flow act automatically and instantly after a specific event trigger it. For example, you have set a flow to receive an email whenever a new file is added to Dropbox. This is a simple example of Automated Flows.
- Button Flow: This flow helps the user to manually send notes or reminders to others with the help of a mobile phone or PC. For example, you can send a note to your office colleagues about meeting reminders or any other important scheduled event reminders.
- Scheduled Flow: This flow is created to be performed at a specific scheduled time. For example, it can be a simple reminder to you about any scheduled work like simply your routine tea-break or any other scheduled task or duty.
- Approval Flow: This flow proves to be very useful in getting approvals for the invoices, quotations, or similar documents when required. For example, when you create a flow for a leave application, it notifies you with following information about whether it is approved or rejected.
- Business Process Flow: This flow helps the user to reach an inevitable desired outcome as it is based on a series of steps and actions.
- UI Flow: This flow involves creating manual steps on legacy software to record and automate specific tasks. The targets are desktops and web applications which do not have API available for automation.
After understanding about different types of flows, let’s learn more about how these flows work with connectors. Connectors are nothing but apps, services, and data sources that connect through Power Automate. It is a tool that helps the user to connect two or more applications facilitating the daily work a simple and more productive routine for employees. Some examples are listed below:
- Business Applications: Dynamic 365, Common data service and Sales force
- Modern workplace: Office365, SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and Power App.
- Application And infrastructure: Oracle and IoT
- Data & AI: Power BI, SQL, and Excel
- Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
Exploring best Power Automate templates.
Power Automate templates are nothing, but pre-built flows to achieve certain specific tasks with ease. They can be notifications, approvals, reminders, or relevant emails etc. You can build your templates, depending on your requirements. Some more commonly used Power Automate templates are listed below.
- Email: The most frequently used and accessible template is email. Here, a user can create different kinds of automated templates, like creating a customized email for adding any and every new file in the system. You can choose to send approval via email or follow up for the same. Creating a Flow in this template makes email-handling activities like sending, receiving, or identification of any critical emails from clients very easy.
- Social media: If you follow any specific topic on Twitter or other social media, Power Automate can help you save all the related content in an excel instantly as they are tweeted or posted.
- Notification: You can set up a Power Automate template to notify you about the receipt of different things. For example, it can be a reminder of some important work every 2 hours, or it can be receipt of an email from your boss or any key customer. The point to be noted here is that Power Automate is designed to handle more than 220 applications and services at a time. It is effortless to get any specific reminders, be it for any important meeting with clients or reminders of approaching deadlines related to a project to the team members. All these notifications can be easily set through this Power Automate template.
- Data Collection: This template helps in adding data to an excel sheet or spreadsheet when a response is submitted in Microsoft form. You can save office 365 email attachments to OneDrive related to your business. This saves a considerable amount of your time in otherwise doing it manually daily.
- Mobile: You can create this template to get notifications on mobile when there is any google task that is pending and needs to be completed before the deadline. This template also allows users to broadcast a text message to the emergency contact persons together.
- Calendar and Events: This template helps the user to keep himself updated about any upcoming events at the office or related to any specific scheduled meetings. For example, it can be related to your next week’s plan of travel, flights or hotels, etc which can be sent to your email address for easy access.
- Approvals: Suppose you need to submit a quotation or vacation notice to your manager and get approval from him. This flow helps to send a request to your manager about it. After his confirmation, you get notified whether it is approved or rejected. This saves your time in taking follow up about the same.
- Sync: While working, we save documents on Dropbox, SharePoint, OneDrive, or Office 365. There are duplicate copies of a single document created in all these applications. When we create a sync flow, it helps users to update their documents quickly. Only one document in any specific application needs to be updated, and the sync template needs to be created to update it in remaining applications by synchronizing it with other applications.
Actual “Power” of Power Automate!
Some of the unique tit-bits of Power Automate are listed below. Due to which it is deployed extensively by the users today and has achieved impeccable repute in the market.
- Productivity: Power Automate helps to avoid doing repetitive work that does not require much skill and saves time, thus increasing productivity.
- Improves day-to-day planning: Power Automate facilitates planning and scheduling of essential activities so that critical tasks or events are not missed and overlooked owing to the busy schedules at work.
- Easy Access to Data: Power Automate aids in sharing bulk and robust data amongst the users. The files can be easily copied and shared in a multi-user environment. Just a template along with Power Automates data source connections has to be created that shares the file, and the task is achieved, thus providing quick access to the data to your employees.
- Common Data Model: The collection of data from all the different applications and systems which were in use to store data requires much time and money. Power Automate gives more convenient access to data and helps to store it in frequent data service with the help of its workflow templates.
Microsoft Power Automate is indeed a revolutionary step in the world of technology. With very efficient, adaptive, and easy-to-use templates, many businesses and enterprises have already touted to using it to improve their productivity and hence reduce their unnecessary workload of their employees.
Combining the Workflows with Power App is now facilitating many companies to achieve remarkable results and their desired outputs. Sooner, Power Automate captures huge markets owing to its unique features, including its ever-updating Flows, new templates, applications, and services.