In this article, we'll learn about Microsoft Power Automate which is a tool by Microsoft that helps you to create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and a lot more. Before, starting let's see the bigger platform that is the Microsoft Power Platform.
It is a set of services that provide building large-scale solutions with minimal or no code. There are tools that visually help you build the solution that you want. The fact, that you are not using code is one of the best things. Because it's on the cloud any changes happen after that it's on Microsoft's plate to care of it and to support it.
Power platform has four main services as of today. Those are Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agent.
- Power BI : It is basically Microsoft's Business Intelligence System that is available online also, we have a Power Designer as a desktop app that we can create reports. The idea behind having a Business Intelligence system is converting data to information. Raw data that is created day to day based on transactions that are happening in any system can be put together into summarised reports to support decisions for the business.
- Power Apps: It is a service that provides you easy design for the user interface. If you want to have an app that has a form that people can enter the information, click, submit, and it takes them to another page. It does something fancy on the UI power apps which gives you the chance to build these apps very quickly.
- Power Automate: Power Automate is going to treat everything as a workflow. So basically, Power Automate is the Microsoft engine to design workflows and business logic.
- Power Virtual Agent: It is the AI or artificial intelligence interface that can directly interact with the customers. For example, as we have seen chatbots on the websites it's based on AI the more we ask questions they keep educating themselves.
All these four services on the power platform, rely on three core elements. Those are on the backend, which are Data Connectors, AI Builders, and Common Data Services.
- Data Connector : It helps anything connect to anything else. If you want to connect your power automate workflow to any other external services, you need data connectors.
- AI Builders : It is basically the mechanism to train artificial intelligence algorithms and to add more and more complexity to the logic.
- Common Data Services: It is where you store your data. You can store your data in many other different places like SQL Server, SharePoint, and Dynamics 365 CRM, etc. When we are working with the Microsoft power platform it is a typical go-to place to store data.
Now, that we have understood the Microsoft Power Platform let's get back and see Microsoft Power Automate in detail.
Power Automate is a simple tool that allows you to automate any task. Now, this task can be simple as sending an email out every morning, or it can be very complex, like upload some document to a file system when you enter something. The best thing about it is that tasks can go between any application.
For Example, you can have a task that takes an email from Outlook and puts it onto Twitter where you have a task that basically reads, likes messages, finds keywords, and then sends you an email based on that.
There are hundreds of different connectors that Power Automate has like Twitter, YouTube, Slack, Gmail, One Drive, Google Drive, etc. And if connectors don't exist then power automate allows you to connect to your application using third-party API tools. You can also have tasks not only with these applications but also on your desktop or website.
Some tasks can have interruptions from people, so Power Automate has something called approval's where in between your task flows you can actually get approvals from people. So if you're automating an invoice flow, for example, you can have the flow, seek approval from a person, before it gets paid out at the invoice amount, which is over a thousand dollars.
You can also actually have a flow, take control of your mouse on your desktop, move files around, open any application, and the same thing with the website. In a nutshell, it allows you to streamline and automate any workflow that you have.
It is a platform on Microsoft Cloud for creating what laws to interact with people as well as the other systems. It is a web-based interface, so you just need the browser, open the browser, design your workflow, save it on the cloud and you're good to go. It is built for business users.
This platform is not targeting developers, although developers use it quite a lot, it is designed in a way that developers can easily learn it and work with it.
It offers three core elements which are Triggers, Actions, and Connectors.
- Triggers : Triggers are basically the starters. It's like a push a button to initiate or start the workflow.
- Actions : Everything that a workflow in power automate does for us is coming through actions so one workflow can have one trigger to start with.
- Connectors: Whenever this workflow wants to interact with any external service like email server, like coming into service, like power apps, like any other system, we are working with connectors. These are open doors to other systems.
Features Of Power Automate
- Easy to use : There's no code required and it has a very simple design. It's very similar to using PowerPoint or Excel. It's so accessible to people and if you do know how to code that, you can do some very complex things.
- Comprehensive : You can connect to hundreds of connectors that they have so you can have tasks between Slack and Gmail, Salesforce, and text messaging. You can basically support everything in power automate. Finally, it has something called UI Flow, which allows you to perform the robotic process automation on your desktop and which is very powerful.
- Powerful : It's very powerful. You can create some complex logic in your workflows and can also have conditions in your workflows. There are loops to iterate between workflows. It allows you to add user's intervention to the workflow.
- Scalable : You can easily share it with people. You can also monitor it and share it with all the colleagues in your businesses and all your colleagues in your company.
Why one should learn Power Automate?
- Firstly, it is very simple it can really boost your productivity. This is perfect for automation enthusiasts who want to automate any repetitive tasks so then they can have more time during the day. What matters most that it allows you to create an impact in your organization or business. Think about the number of man-hours you're saving by creating or automating a process for your business, it's very powerful and very impactful.
- Next, it is one of those skills that really can get you hired or improve your employability. It's definitely one of those things that employers are looking out for more now, especially as power automation becomes more popular.
- Also, to improve your own toolkit, it's very powerful in conjunction with the other power platforms.
- It has RPA capabilities, which is robotic process automation, which was quite trending in 2021. The businesses that use Power Automate save about 15 % in their business process efficiencies in their third year. Power Automate is regarded as currently a visionary in terms of robotic process automation.