Microsoft Flow, now called Power Automate, is cloud-based software that allows employees to create and automate workflows and tasks for multiple applications and services without the help of developers. Automated workflows are called flows. To create a flow, the user specifies which action should occur when a specific event occurs.
Once a power is built, it can be managed on the desktop or through an app on a mobile device. Flow integrates with a variety of Microsoft services and apps, including Power BI, PowerApps, Dynamics 365, and Office 365.
How Microsoft Flow is used
Microsoft Flow automates everything from simple push notifications and content management to complex business processes with defined steps and phases.
The most common use of Flow is to activate notifications. For example, when a new lead is added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, an automated workflow can send merchants an email or text message with lead details.
Flow can also be used to copy files. For example, when a new file is added to Dropbox or OneDrive for Business, an automated workflow can directly post a copy of the file to SharePoint.
Microsoft office.com/setup Flow is also used to collect data. For example, if the user wants to see what people say about a particular brand, they can create a trigger that captures new tweets listing the brand and places a copy of each tweet in a SQL database for sentiment mining.
The Microsoft Flow Bot works within Teams workspaces. Using the Flow bot, employees can activate flows within Teams conversations. An example of usage provided by Microsoft is that team members can run a flow that sends a text message to a support technician to flag a problem or to capture a problem in an Excel spreadsheet.
Key features of Microsoft Flow
Microsoft Flow doesn’t just integrate with other Microsoft products. It can be used with a wide range of apps and services – what Microsoft calls connectors – including Salesforce, SQL Server, Twitter, Box, DocuSign, Slack, Skype and Google Drive. A connector is an API proxy that allows these services to connect to Microsoft Flow, as well as to PowerApps and Azure Logic Apps in the cloud.
Users can benefit from an extensive library of prebui-built flows, also known as templates. Examples of templates include the ability to:
- Save Gmail attachments to OneDrive
- Send an email to each audience when a Power BI data alert is triggered
- Copy SharePoint list items to a CSV every week
- Save tweets with a specific hashtag to a SharePoint list
- Get a push notification when you receive an email from your boss
Alternatives to Microsoft Flow
There’s a wide variety of low-code or codeless automation tools and cloud-based apps that connect apps and automate business and office processes and tasks. Microsoft Flow’s main competitors are IFTTT and Zapier. Here’s how they compare:
IFTTT – If This Then That is a free web-based tool that uses simple syntax and conditional instructions to automate workflows. The simplicity ensures an easy roll-out. It offers workflows with one action.
Zapier — Zapier can automate multi-step workflows and connects to more third-party apps. Zapier has a free option, as well as two tears of paid monthly subscriptions for businesses.
Microsoft Flow – Flow can automate more complex processes by include for-loops, while loops, and if-else conditional instructions.