Power Automate: The Microsoft Automation Tool
Post co-written by Madeleine de Place and Coralie Martinez
In the age of digitalization, companies have access to new tools that make their processes easier and boost their productivity. One example is the automation of low-value tasks!
Today, as part of our series of posts on Power Platform, we’ll talk about Power Automate, the automation tool in the Microsoft Power Platform suite. Power Automate, formerly Microsoft Flow, is a simple, intuitive platform for automating repetitive tasks and making it easier to connect different systems.
The Benefits of Automation
Automation has many benefits at a time when the digital transformation of companies is the key to their competitiveness:
- Saves time
- Reduces costs
- Lowers the risk of errors
- Increases efficiency
- Redeploys teams to tasks with added value
- Streamlines processes
- Makes monitoring easier
Power Automate: Limitless Automation!
How Power Automate works is very simple: an action is taken automatically when a specific event occurs. In other words, there is an element that acts as a trigger which causes an action to happen automatically.
All of this is brought together in one tool by Power Automate:
- Digital process automation (DPA)is the practice of automating processes as part of a large-scale digital transformation;
- Robotic process automation (RPA) is the practice of automating repetitive tasks within IT software by training robots;
- Process mining uses factual data to analyze and monitor processes. Process mining helps us figure out how a process works so we can automate it with DPA and RPA to make it more efficient.
There are several types of flows and trigger events:
- Automated cloud flow: an action is initiated automatically when a trigger event occurs (for example, when you get an email, its attachment is automatically put into a folder);
- Instant flow: the action is automated, but it has to be initiated manually;
- Business process flow: useful for providing an overview and guiding the user through the various steps in a process (see Microsoft’s documentation on business process flows);
- Scheduled flow: the action is automated, but it is set to happen at a certain time (e.g., every hour/at a specific time, etc.);
- Desktop flow: these are RPA flows in Power Automate (see Microsoft’s documentation on desktop flows).
Power Automate should be considered a new way of designing internal information system (IS) applications. One of this tool’s great strengths is its ability to manage a flow’s life cycle without any development or integration skills.
Coralie Martinez, Power Platform Domain Director at Cellenza
Power Automate: Examples and Use Cases
Power Automate can be used in infinite ways, and each team can easily change it to fit its own organization and problems.
Better still: Power Automate is simple to understand and use. No development skills are needed to set up the automation. All business users (HR, sales, marketing & communication teams, etc.) can meet their own needs by automating their processes and becoming more efficient.
Here are a few examples of how you can use Power Automate:
- Human resources management: when an email with an ID or CV attachment is received, the data is extracted from the attachment automatically and added to an Excel sheet;
- User management: when a user profile is created, it is added to Teams or email distribution lists automatically;
- Project management: automatic email or notification reminders for overdue tasks;
- Automatic saving of attachments to a specific folder;
- Automatic email sending to multiple people following an action: for example, when an employee leaves the company, a mail may be sent automatically to the various departments involved (IT to delete their AD account, Communication to delete their photos as part of the GDPR procedure, Security to disable their access pass, etc.);
- Automatic content publication: for example, posting on social networks every time a new blog post goes up, highlighting a new item on the intranet every time new content is published online, etc.
How Much Does Power Automate Cost?
Microsoft has two pricing options:
- A subscription plan for companies that prefer a license plan (per user or flow forecast)
- A pay-per-use plan, where the company pays for each cloud flow implemented
Have a look at the Power Automate Pricing to find out more about how much this tool costs.
Power Automate: Key Takeaways
Today, automation is a key factor in making companies more efficient and competitive. Businesses can free up their teams by automating low-value tasks. With Power Automate, business teams can automate any number of tasks in accordance with their organization and needs.
Would you like help with your Power Platform projects or more information about this suite of tools? Contact us!
Want to learn more about the Power Platform suite of tools? See our other posts on this subject: