Power Automate… Microsoft Flow… has raised many doubts about these hugely related names. You may have done some research, and now you’re more lost than before. Wondering what their differences are? Are they really the same tool? What are they for? In this post, you’ll find everything you need to know about Power Automate (and by default Microsoft Flow).
What is Power Automate?
Power Automate is a new Microsoft business system that allows all our data analytics and applications to be automated integrated and synchronized, with the goal of increasing productivity and business efficiency.
In addition to automating processes and tasks, this online service also allows a functional flow in a simple and intuitive way without the need to develop code (or with a minimum of code). With Power Automate, you can connect two or more applications (either from Office 365 or from third parties) and perform actions that automate the most routine business processes.
Some of the features of this tool are to move data between systems, send reminders about tasks, support data from each API, automate tasks from a local device…
What was Microsoft Flow?
Microsoft Flow was an Office 365 tool aimed at improving employee productivity by automating multiple tasks and by combining different cloud applications and services. The creation of these automated workflows offered the ability to receive notifications, synchronize files, collect data…
Finally, Microsoft decided to rename that tool and include it in the Power Platform so that it became part of the Microsoft Power Automate structure.
How do I use Microsoft Power Automate?
Getting started with Power Automate is easy, you just need an email address and a web browser. The first step is to register for free and you are ready to go.
The app comes with out-of-the-box templates and recommendations that applications can be linked to. The navigation is very intuitive, which makes it perfect for users with little or no programming knowledge.
From there, you can create a flow that takes a lead’s data to Dynamics, capture tweets with certain parameters, and automatically retweet them, save document attachments to emails on OneDrive or SharePoint, receive notifications on your mobile device… The list is endless.
What are connectors in Power Automate?
Another great advantage of Power Automate is its total integration with other services of Microsoft or third parties. The connectors are responsible for making this possible and is that the tool has nearly 300 predefined connectors, including Sharepoint, Outlook, Mailchimp, GitHub, Dropbox, YouTube, WordPress…
This list is getting bigger and bigger and allows us to work with data in the cloud or on-premise. Moreover, if none of these connectors meet our needs, we can have a custom one.
To better understand them, we need three clear terms:
They are the ones who start the workflow. It can be a new email, when a new document is saved or a new video on your YouTube channel. Each connector has at least one trigger.
If the process has already begun, we need to determine what actions to take. For example, upload a file to OneDrive, start an approval process, when we receive an email from a specific person… Each flow has one or more actions.
The third element refers to when we want to connect two applications, because the tool asks for the credentials of each application we want to connect. These are encrypted with Microsoft security and can be easily deleted whenever we want.
Benefits of using Microsoft Power Automate
You can create time-saving workflows, from individual tasks to large-scale systems. All this with perfect integration via hundreds of predefined connectors.
Faster and safer automation
You have the option to let all users you’re considering create secure workflows thanks to a guided programming-only experience. This facilitates the automation of robot processes (RPA).
You can now automate manual tasks that take a lot of time thanks to the capabilities that artificial intelligence offers. This gives you more time to focus on other strategic tasks that require more investment.
Here’s a video to see what Microsoft Power Automate is about: