As a collective, we are moving towards a more technology-driven lifestyle. Digital is indeed making our lives, both personal and business, more efficient and convenient. For most of us, a name that would spring to mind when we reflect on our first digital experience would be Microsoft. Microsoft has always been at the helm of technological innovations. And currently, a tool from Microsoft called Power Automate is turning heads in the field of automation.
Although enterprises had begun to integrate automation into their processes since the time of industrial revolution, the arrival of pandemic accelerated the transformation. Automation became an utmost priority- and not just that, a broader and more agile execution became a requirement. The ever watchful Microsoft knew exactly what to do. They doubled their investments in the RPA space and was recognized as a leader in The Forrester Wave: Robotic Process Automation, Q1 2021.
What is Microsoft Power Automate
Power Automate, previously known as Microsoft Flow, is an automation tool designed for businesses to create and automate workflows. It is a cloud-based software and is a part of Microsoft Power platform, which includes three other tools besides it–namely Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents. Power Automate enables easy and quick automation across multiple platforms like Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and standalone apps.
Power Automate is a low-code platform and hence can be used by people of any skill set. So whether you are a business user or an experienced IT professional, you can use it effectively. It has a simple user interface, helping users create workflows fast and efficiently. Being a low-code tool, it is easy to learn, use, and debug. With drag and drop tools, it makes creating workflows easier and by integrating AI, it makes automation smarter. In effect, it is an excellent process automation solution that will help an organization optimize its business processes.
What are the Key Features of Microsoft Power Automate
Power Automate promises to take care of repetitive tasks so that you can focus on the important matters. It’s armed with a plethora of features that helps in streamlining processes and switching tasks from manual to automated. Some key features of Microsoft Power Automate are:
- An enhanced connected experience, offering connections with more than 300 applications.
- Its no-code interface, ready-made templates, and pre-built connectors make automation quick, easy, and secure.
- Simplify automation with Process Advisor that provides guided recommendations and good insights for creating workflows.
- Smarter automation using AI Builder which integrates automatic intelligence to workflows through pre-built models.
- Available for desktop, mobile, web, and Teams, making it easy to create flows from anywhere.
- Integration of RPA that replicates human actions into robotic workflows leading to effective business operations.
- Team flow creation, allowing a group of people to create and manage workflows as a team.
- Feature to send automatic reminders for tasks.
- Transfer data from one system to another on a schedule.
Entities of Microsoft Power Automate
One of the strongest features of Power Automate is the connectivity it offers. It can connect with 300+ connectors- including on-premise, first-party, and third party. These connections are used to carry out operations based on conditions. A course of action employing Triggers, Actions, and Conditional Logic are used to achieve this.
A Trigger is a connector that will initiate the workflow. The result of the Trigger is Action. This connector will perform specific actions based on the defined structure. And the connectors called Conditional Logic will carry out certain conditional operations depending on the input it receives.
There are three different types of flows in Microsoft Power Automate, called cloud flows, desktop flows, and business process flows. Automation of tasks are carried out by initiating different flows. Let us take a look at these flows.
Cloud flows are chosen when you want to set an automation to start either automatically, instantly, or based on a schedule.
Automated flows: For automations that are to be initiated based on certain events, like an email from a company.
Instant flows: To initiate automation with an instant action at a button click. For example, sending a follow up reminder to someone.
Scheduled flows: These are scheduled automated tasks that occur at a predefined time, that is, on a particular time at a particular day. For example, scheduling data backup to a database daily.
To automate tasks on desktop or the Web, desktop flows are used. Power Automate Desktop is used to carry out such flows.
Business Process Flows
These flows are designed to follow specific business workflows. It acts as a streamlined guide for users to carry out their work. Such flows guide people through the processes of an organization and help them reach their goal. Business process flows are often personalized for different roles so that everyone can have the best experience relative to their work.
RPA in Microsoft Power Automate
Microsoft Power Automate RPA helps to automate some UI flows. RPA is among the most popular digital transformation trends that helps to move manual tasks to automated functions. RPA allows users to record human tasks and recreate them with the help of software systems. It also has added functionalities to test and monitor the automated tasks after deployment.
Using Power Automate RPA, users can realize the automation of legacy and new systems. Thus, it helps to dissolve the gap between on-premise and cloud. Further, RPA introduces hyper-automation that revamps traditional UI automation to incorporate latest technologies like AI to transform into a full automation spectrum. The automation thus grows beyond just the legacy systems and incorporates AI, HR, and APIs.
Moreover, interactive automation and background automation can be achieved in Power Automate with attended and unattended RPA respectively. Attended RPA helps to automate manual and individual tasks and improve efficiency of operation by initiating on-demand task automation. Unattended RPA, on the other hand, automates high volume tedious tasks without the need for any human intervention and is used to automate large scale business processes.
With the integration of RPA in Power Automate, Microsoft is working to deliver both API based automation and UI based automation on one platform.
Top Five Benefits of Microsoft Power Automate
According to a total economic impact study conducted by Forrester, Power Automate helped businesses achieve an ROI of 199% over three years. The companies that were part of the survey said that they were able to reduce the time to market by about 33%. Overall, by using Power Automate businesses were able to reduce operational costs, improve security, and increase efficiency.
Let’s take a look at some benefits of Power Automate now.
Easy Integration with other Applications
A biggest challenge of integrating automation into an organization’s architecture is ensuring that it fits in and interacts with legacy systems. Microsoft Power Automate provides flexible automation opportunities, thereby simplifying this challenge. Since other products of Microsoft like Azure, Microsoft 365, and Sharepoint are extensively used by organizations, it is easy to integrate Power Automate. The use of connectors makes this integration simple.
A significant benefit of Power Automate is that it is flexible, both in the case of user personas and in the case of workflows. We already saw in the earlier sections how it has different types of flows designed for different purposes. It’s also designed keeping in mind the ease of use for different types of users. For example, business users, IT professionals, developers- everyone can enable the advantages of this tool.
Reduce Operating Costs
It’s commonly known that automation helps to reduce the operating costs of organizations. But Power Automate has the added advantage of being less costly than other RPA tools. Further, by making full use of Microsoft ecosystem tools, it is possible to reduce operating costs more by not using third party tools or expensive technologies. Whether you want to utilize the new features of Microsoft Office 365 or require analytics inputs from Power BI, it can be achieved easily and cost effectively.
Streamline Daily Tasks
An important factor that influences the productivity and efficiency of employees is how easily they are able to streamline their everyday tasks. Power Automate helps them achieve this, making sure that they don’t miss any important information. For example, imagine how many emails you receive in a day. An urgent mail may get lost easily in the crowd. Now suppose, when you get a top priority email, you receive a notification message. Simple, right? And, definitely effective.
Access to Predefined Templates
To simplify creating flows, Power Automate has a library of predefined templates that helps users build flows of their choice. Flows can also be built from scratch but the ready-made templates help users save time and effort. Flows for common tasks like approval, social media mentions, notifications, etc. can be created easily using the templates.
Why Should You Use Power Automate
Today, the need of businesses is to do more in less. Power Automate is the ultimate tool to serve that purpose. Whether it is storage, report, or process automation, Microsoft Power Automate delivers an optimized platform to carry it out. Further, the enhanced user experience that it provides is a noteworthy feature of this tool. Businesses can handle everyday activities efficiently and complete works that would have taken months in a matter of hours!
And RPA being one of the fastest adopted trends, it’s gaining a lot of attention and competition. Microsoft Power Automate is carving an undeniable significant spot in the RPA market. It is being embraced by small, medium, and large scale organizations alike. Microsoft’s proven brand identity and the opportunity it provides to organizations to use RPA within their existing Microsoft ecosystem makes it a tool that will scale heights.
Do you feel like you need Power Automate in your organization? Would you like to know how it can help your company? Reach out to us and let us help you. We have helped several businesses use Power Automate to enhance their operations and we would love to help you reach your vision successfully.