Microsoft Power Automate is a cloud-based platform to create and automate workflows and tasks across multiple applications and services without developer involvement. Automated workflows are called Flows.

To create a flow, the user specifies what action should take place when a specific event occurs. Introduced and added to numerous Microsoft solutions, Microsoft Power Automate is a tool that can integrate cloud-based apps and services, so they interact with each other seamlessly. According to Microsoft, this cloud-based tool improves efficiency and productivity by enabling virtually anyone in an organization to automate many tedious and time-consuming business tasks and processes. The purpose of Microsoft Power Automate is to automate routine business processes. Virtually all automated flows begin with a triggering event and end with action in response to the event.

Microsoft Power Automate – Modus Operandi

Microsoft Power Automate automates everything from simple push notifications and content management to complex business processes with defined steps and stages. The most common use of Microsoft Power Automate is to trigger notifications. For example, when a new lead is added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, an automated workflow can send sales representatives an email or text message with details about the lead. Microsoft Power Automate can also be used to copy files. Here are two examples of scenarios of Microsoft Power Automate use.

Scenario 1: When a new file is added to Dropbox or OneDrive for Business, an automated workflow can instantly post a copy of the file to SharePoint. Microsoft Flow is also used to collect data. For instance, if the user wants to see what people are saying about a brand, they can create a trigger that will capture new tweets that mention the brand and put a copy of each tweet in a SQL database for sentiment mining. The Microsoft Flow Bot works within Teams workspaces. Using the Microsoft Power Automate bot, employees can trigger flows within Teams conversations. The team members can run a flow that sends a text message to a support engineer to flag an issue or to log an issue in an Excel spreadsheet.

Scenario 2: If you spend most of your day sign into Slack, managing projects, but you don’t want to miss emails your manager sends to you in Microsoft Office 365, so you’re repeatedly interrupting your work in Slack to check your email. With Microsoft Power Automate, you can automate that process to save yourself a lot of time and angst. You can set up a Power Automate so those messages will be automatically forwarded to you in Slack. In this example, the triggering event is receiving a message from your manager in your Microsoft Office 365 email box. The action is sending the message to you in Slack.

Key features of Microsoft Power Automate

With Microsoft Power Automate, we can connect to more than 100 data sources right out of the box, such as Box, Dropbox, Dynamics 365, Facebook, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Salesforce, SharePoint, SQL Server, Trello, Twitter, and many more. Microsoft Power Automate is a public cloud service, with on-premises data gateways to securely connect to on-premises services. A connector is an API proxy that allows these services to connect to Microsoft Power Automate, as well as PowerApps and Azure Logic Apps, in the cloud. Users can take advantage of an extensive library of prebuilt flows, also known as templates. Example templates include the ability to:

  • Save Gmail attachments to OneDrive
  • Send an email to any audience when a Power BI data alert is triggered
  • Copy SharePoint list items into a CSV each week
  • Save tweets that include a specific hashtag to a SharePoint list
  • Get a push notification when you receive an email from your boss

If none of the templates fit the process that needs to be automated, users can also, make their own flows. Microsoft Power Automate is designed so that nontechnical staff can automate workflows without the help of a developer. The Microsoft Power Automate Admin Center allows an administrator to manage users, permissions and roles and ensure that employee-created flows comply with data loss prevention policies.

Ideal small businesses Templates with Microsoft Power Automate

  • Shaving a few minutes off multiple routine tasks eventually saves hours of your time. The following are just a few examples of Microsoft Power Automate templates that are ideal starting points for small businesses.
  • Never lose track of an email attachment again. “Save Microsoft Office 365 email attachments to OneDrive for Business” allows you to automatically save email attachments upon arrival.
  • Receive and track positive feedback. “Get emails for positive tweets” automatically sends an email notification to you whenever someone makes a positive comment about a hashtag you’re watching on Twitter.
  • Remember your event commitments. “Create new events on Google Calendar from Microsoft Office 365” automatically creates a Google Calendar event whenever a new Microsoft Office 365 Calendar event is created.
  • Make quick work of out-of-office timekeeping. “Track work hours and work location” is a mobile flow that logs current time and location to an Excel table can create with columns for date, timestamp and full address. The user shall receive a push notification for a successful flow run.
  • Only post a photo once. “Selectively post Instagram photos to Facebook” is triggered when you post a photo to Instagram that contains the text you specify and posts the same photo to your Facebook account.
  • Track the twitter tweets. “Save tweets to an Excel file” helps you keep track of all the tweets about the business and automatically archives them to an Excel file (containing columns for tweet text, tweeted by, retweet count and created at) that you create on your favorite cloud storage service, such as OneDrive, Dropbox or Box.
  • Stay on top of HR-related events. “Send a customized email when a candidate signs their offer document” enables you to receive a mobile notification when someone you’ve offered a job accepts by signature, providing you an option to send the candidate an automatic welcome email.
  • Practice good customer service on social media. “Notify me about negative Twitter posts” lets you keep track of when someone posts something negative about a certain Twitter keyword, sending a push notification to your iOS or Android device with a link to the post on Twitter.

Microsoft Power Automate licensing

Each Microsoft Power Automate that is triggered, whether automatically or manually, is considered a run. Checks for new data don’t count as runs. Each of Microsoft’s three pricing plans for Microsoft Power Automate includes a certain number of runs and checks.

  • The Microsoft Power Automate Free version includes up to 750 runs per month and 15-minute checks.
  • The mid-tier Flow Plan 1 supports 4,500 runs per month and three-minute checks.
  • The business-level plan, Flow Plan 2, supports up to 15,000 runs per month and checks every minute, along with “premium” level connectors, policy settings and business process flow.

Versions of Microsoft Dynamics Business Central include Microsoft Power Automate. Microsoft Power Automate can automate more complex processes, incorporating for-loops, while-loops, and if-else conditional statements.

There is a free version of Microsoft Power Automate, as well as monthly subscription options, which are currently $15 per month.