Power Automate is a cloud based automation and digital transformation tool. It is designed to help businesses streamline and automate repetitive processes and tasks. This helps to save money, time, increase agility and reduce errors.
The pace of business is accelerating and everyone is looking for ways to be more productive and drive faster time to value while delivering more strategic and innovative thinking. All too often “busy work”—repetitive, manual, time-consuming tasks, consume the finite hours in each workday.
Automations can be within the digital workspace, or cross into physical processes. Many tasks are time consuming and reduce the value that skilled employees could add to the business.
Let’s take it from the top. What is it and what can it do for you?
What is Microsoft Power Automate?
Microsoft Power Automate is a platform which streamlines and automates everyday mundane tasks. Business can automate monotonous tasks to free up employees by completing repetitive, time-consuming parts of their job. Think of it as having an assistant that you can pass jobs to and trust that they will be taken care of.
By automating lots of small processes in a business, the time savings really begin to add up. Things like order entry, stock replenishment and responding to customers.
Formerly known by the name “Microsoft Flow”, Power Automate lets you maximise your productivity and increase employee satisfaction. This leaves you to get on with delivering the value that your business provides.
What sort of systems can Microsoft Power Automate work with?
Part of the magic of Power Automate is it’s ability to work with almost any system. There are over 400 connectors available that enable the quick build of automations that deliver immediate value. They can automate or provide additional functionality to your existing systems. If a connector does not already exist, a new one can be built.
What if we use a system that can’t be integrated?
For legacy systems that do not expose any methods of integration then there is Power Automate Desktop. This is a robotic process automation tool which can perform tasks as if there is someone operating the computer. It bridges the final gap to make automation possible for any kind of system. We have built automations for business systems that are over 25 years old!
When did Power Automate come out?
Microsoft Flow was launched in October 2016, and then rebranded to Power Automate in November 2019. The name change brought lots of additional capabilities into the platform.
According to the Microsoft Cloud Blog, the rebrand was completed to allow Flow to align better with the Microsoft Power Platform. Which naturally begs the question of what the Microsoft Power Platform actually is.
What is the Microsoft Power Platform?
Microsoft Power Platform is a suite of products built into Office 365 which enable complete digital transformation at a fraction of the cost and time this would normally require using traditional technologies. It comprises of four main components:
- Power BI
- Power Apps
- Power Automate
- Power Virtual Agents
These four pillars of the platform are designed to integrate with each other seamlessly, but it is the ability to easily integrate with so many types of systems that the most value is realised.
What Can you use Microsoft Power Automate for?
Because of the wide scope of work that can be achieved with Power Automate, the only real limitation is your imagination! You can start by building simple automations before moving on to more sophisticated processes.
There are any number of processes that Microsoft Power Automate can help you with. It is effective in day-to-day business for trimming your workload and freeing up your time for client handling and other important tasks.
Examples of how Microsoft Power Automate can be used
- Action Customer Feedback – Integrate Power Automate with customer feedback systems to ensure that you respond to the customers who need your attention the most.
- Document Management – Take existing paper based processes and move them into a digital workflow to increase efficiency.
- Save physical space – Some paper documents need to be physically archived. Use Power Automate and Artificial intelligence to read documents and store them in a digital archive with the key information extracted to make retrieval simple.
- Work with Suppliers – Supplier Invoices can be time consuming to deal with. Use Power Automate to read supplier invoices and automatically enter them into your accounts system – saving huge amounts of time. You can also setup payment authorisation processes to make this even smoother.
- Communicate effectively – Inform customers if an order is going to be delayed and assign someone to deal with the delay.
This blog post from Microsoft is a great starting point for a document management solution.
If you want to start working smarter, please get in touch and I can help you to identify processes that are good candidates for automation. I can build it for you or help you to begin the process of automating your own processes.
Click here to see all of the Power Automate Technical solutions posted on this blog.