If you have repetitive tasks in your organization that need to be automated but most of your employees have little or no knowledge about coding, then Microsoft Power Automate (formerly known as Flow) would be a great solution for you. It enables the creation of workflows with its low code/no-code system.
As you become familiar with its capabilities, you realize that you do not only automate complex processes. Even something as simple as deleting certain content from a document can be automated so that you do not have to spend so much time going through a document searching for outdated information.
Power Automate connects different applications so that they can work as part of a single workflow. While you may have purchased several software separately, it is possible to get them to communicate and sequence their handling of tasks so that one action will trigger the next and that will continue like a domino effect.
Although this is not the only application that can perform such tasks, many enterprises are being encouraged to use Microsoft Flow. Might it be all hype and no results? This review will give you insights and probably help you decide if it is an app you should take on to solve your workflow issues.
Microsoft Flow was rebranded as Power Automate. At first, it focused on creating workflows, this is not so different from automation but when Flow was automated, it took on added features. But, enough with the rebranding and let us talk about what is Microsoft Flow?
This is a tool that helps to automate and processes through the connection of different applications and services. It is a cloud-based tool, so no surprise that most of the applications that it will connect are cloud-based as well, however, it is still possible to integrate with on-premises software as well.
With Power Automate, you can automate processes between tools that you use frequently within your organization. You can access it as part of some Office 365 plans which is because it can help to connect the different 365 tools, but you can also purchase it as an independent subscribed application.
One of its distinctive features is its power to enable automation without the need for IT help to write code and install workflows. With an ordinary browser, a user can set triggers and actions between their different apps and they will be ready to experience automation.
Since it is part of a wider Microsoft family, a user can also utilize other 365 tools to customize processes or even create business apps specially created to work within the business.
Learning how to use Microsoft Flow is as easy as understanding triggers and actions. Flow enables a user to set a trigger and define the action. For instance, you may want to receive a notification in Outlook every time a message is sent to your business Facebook account which you do not open much. In this case, a message being sent to Facebook is the trigger, and the notification in Outlook is the action.
With Power Automate, you can define these triggers and actions and it will act as the tool that connects the two applications. This is just an example of a simple workflow, but you can initiate complex workflows that will help automate processes within your business.
Templates also play a key role in enabling users to carry out different tasks. Flow contains several templates that can be used for common automations across a variety of systems. A combination of templates and connectors can be used to set off automated processes of different levels of complexity.
The connectors are the link between various systems. If you think of the common platforms you use like Salesforce, Twitter, Facebook, and HubSpot, wouldn’t you want to be able to link all of them without shifting from one app to the next trying to perform a series of tasks? That is where connectors come in.
Templates serve as inspiration for automations that you could create. There is a library of common templates and connectors that businesses regularly make use of. For example, you can find a template that provides notification when a document is ready to be signed using DocuSign.
The great thing about this feature is that the user doesn’t have to do much to get the workflow installed, you simply choose what you want.
Windward Hub integrates with Power Automate to make your job even easier and quicker. Know more about it.
There is a wide range of automations that can be achieved using Flow. It ranges from straightforward trigger notifications as we described earlier, to more complex processes that combine a series of steps and integrations of applications. An idea of what can be done includes the following:
Basically, you are dealing with a flexible application that connects with several other flexible applications, so the extent of possibilities is wide. Once a business gets a hang of how to use it, they can come up with different ways to use it.
Since Flow is part of the Microsoft 365 Suite, you do not have to look very far to find Power Automate integrations. If you’re already using modules like 365 Sales, Marketing, Service, and so on, then you already have a set of integrations you can create. For example, you can integrate the sales module with your team collaboration app like Slack so that every time a lead communicates with your business, you will receive notification within the collaboration app. Or you can integrate marketing with sales so that responses to marketing emails sent out during campaigns can also be visible to the sales team.
Outside of the Microsoft environment, there are still several integrations that can be created. Power Automate is compatible with a long list of commonly used business apps like survey monkey, file sharing apps, social media platforms, analytic tools and so much more.
Microsoft provides a step-by-step guide that is easy to follow if you are a first-time user of this tool. In a few minutes, you can integrate different tools without having to write a line of code. This is not just easy to do, it is also cheap since you do not have to pay an IT specialist to get that done.
While there are alternatives to Power Automate, it has some positives that make it worth considering over the others. Here are some key reasons to consider:
Microsoft flow, however, has its limitations and a few users have pointed out that sometimes setup feels a bit complex and they wish there was a simpler way to get started. Besides, it is a great business solution that even integrates with some of its alternatives.
Power Automate has three price plans. The first costs $15 and offers unlimited flows that can be customized by a user. The second is $40 and includes robotic process automation along with 5000 AI Builder credits per month. The third one is licensed by Flow unlike the other two that are licensed by the user. It goes for $500 per month and offers unlimited number of users along with everything the other plans offer.
Microsoft Flow is designed with businesses in mind so a user can be sure that it will suit their business automation needs. This however doesn’t mean it cannot do simple tasks like transferring your vacation photos from Facebook to Google Photos or notifying you when you receive mail from that organization you applied to for a job. Despite its limitations, it does give a good ROI.
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