Imagine you have a supply chain system with outdated software. Now you want to automate approvals for invoicing and payment clearance so that data flows directly into your financial management system. But the latter is modern and fast. Unfortunately, automating data flow upon invoice approvals and processing payments would be an arduous task unless you have a powerful technical team.
Or unless you have Microsoft Power Automate.
This tool helps you to automate workflows and processes. Let’s walk you through this fantastic tool in this brief guide.
What is Power Automate?
Microsoft introduced the Power Automate web version in 2018 March and the mobile version same year in October. This tool automates almost all of your tasks without the need to have technical knowledge. Moreover, it works on the industry trend of low-code, no-code features with a UI facilitated by drag-and-drop style designing. And hence encourages citizen developers that don’t depend on experts for every single piece of code.
This tool helps in automating trivial personal jobs to complex organization-level tasks. You can automate repetitive tasks like process approvals, file movements, data entry, document handling, lead entry generation, etc. You don’t need to worry much whether your data resides in the modern cloud or traditional on-premise system, whether you are automating a task in a modern app or a legacy system.
Since you don’t need to hire experts to get started with Power Automate, anyone in your team can utilize the tool and boost their productivity.
Power Automate has been bundled as a part of the Power Platform, which consists of:
- Power Automate – a tool to automate using RPA
- Power BI – an analytics and visualization tool
- Power Apps – a tool to create enterprise-level mobile-friendly apps
- Power Virtual Apps – a platform to create chatbots
Read more about the Power Platform here.
Flows You Can Automate with Power Automate
You can automate various flows with Power Automate:
1. Automated Flows: run a task on an event
You can use this type of flow when you want to trigger an action on encountering a specific event. For instance, send an email to your marketing team when your company gets a mention on social media. Such events need connectors for cloud or on-premise services to connect with your account.
2. Instant Flows: run a task instantly
You can use this flow to take any action at the trigger of a button. This fits well when you have repetitive tasks to handle. For example, send a spontaneous email reminder to the team to fill their timesheets and log work hours.
These automation flows are button-based, where you click the button through your mobile app and trigger the action. Buttons make it easy to process anytime, anywhere, and save time.
3. Scheduled Flows: run a task on a schedule
Any task that needs to be automated to take any action based on schedules falls in this category. Any job that needs to be run once a day, week, month, year, or on any particular day (say every second Wednesday of the month) uses scheduled flow for automation. For instance, you need to trigger a junk file cleanup process every Monday morning to clean up space from all the servers.
The above three mentioned flows fall under the category of Cloud Flows. And this can be triggered from your mobile app quickly.
4. Desktop Flows: use RPA to its full capacity
You should use the Power Automate Desktop version when you want to take the best benefits of RPA capabilities. Tasks that you need to automate from the web or desktop fall under this category. RPA with Power Automate has made it possible to trigger actions at a mouse click or key press automatically.
The desktop tool comes with prebuilt drag-and-drop functionalities. It comes with 370 prebuilt actions that help to automate complex processes and build flow between different applications.
Power Automate Desktop, launched in September 2020, allows you to write your own scripts and customize the automation, too. To democratize the technology, Microsoft has made this tool available to all Windows 10 users now.
5. Business Process Flows: run a task on an event
When you want people to follow a set of certain predefined steps to get a task done, you use this category of automation. This flow creates a good user experience through a guided process along the lengthy procedure.
For instance, while your employees work through their appraisals, the automation of complex series of tasks that need to be followed helps them not miss any step and easily submit the appraisal forms. Therefore, if you automate the step-by-step annual appraisal process, the room for mistakes and delays in approvals can reduce to a minimum.
The user experience in this category can be customized, keeping security in mind and exposing only those needed for a particular role.
Who Should Opt for Power Automate?
It hardly matters what’s your job or skillsets to use Power Automate. Microsoft has given the power of automation to everyone alike through this fantastic tool. Because the tool encompasses a drag-and-drop UI with a no-code design, you can simply download its mobile app. After familiarizing yourself with this platform, you can automate tasks.
Why Should You Opt for Power Automate?
The primary purpose of automation is to get rid of the mundane processes that don’t need intelligence but time. And once you use Power Automate to remove the time-consuming, unproductive tasks, your team’s productivity would shoot up. And most of the flows come with predefined actions to save time.
Microsoft Power Automate is available in various forms: desktop, mobile, web, and even Microsoft Teams. With such wide availability, you can automate anytime from anywhere.
You can connect your process or app to almost 350+ data connectors or any publicly available API. Whether you connect your process to Office 365, Dynamics 365, Azure modules, or different data sources from a 3rd party, readymade connectors are available. You don’t need to write a code to connect and pull/push data.
Automation reduces manual intervention to minimal, reduces time delays, and triggers desired actions precisely. You can reduce errors up to 27.4% with automation using Power Automate, according to Forrester Consulting.
Where are You on Your Automation Journey?
If you want to democratize technology in your organization, Power Automate is a great resource to start with. And if you use it with other Power Platform tools, it would even empower you with insightful analytics and other modern features.