How to use Power Automate

How much time does your business lose every year to unnecessary admin? How many manual tasks are done regularly, where time could be better spent elsewhere? And what if there was something you could do about this?

Fortunately, there is. It’s called Microsoft Power Automate (previously known as Microsoft Flow), and can automate regular tasks and help your frequently used applications do more.

What is Power Automate?

Power Automate is a Cloud-based application, that lets users create and automate processes and actions, helping save time and effort with repetitive tasks. In Power Automate you create flows (yes, the old name!) which trigger events.

Here are just a few things you can achieve with Power Automate:

  • Automate business processes.
  • Send automatic reminders for past due tasks.
  • Move business data between systems on a schedule.
  • Connect to almost 300 data sources or any publicly available API.
  • You can even automate tasks on your local computer like computing data in Excel.

As the name suggests, Power Automate is all about automation. Users can take advantage of out of the box templates to connect apps and tasks, or create their own connectors for full control. But be warned: creating your own flows can be difficult, and is probably only going to be an option for more advanced users.

How does Power Automate Work?

Flows are based on triggers and actions. What this means I, when X happens, Y will automatically happen. For example: when a new task is assigned to you in Microsoft Planner, you can be sent an email.

There are five types of flows:

  • Automated – triggered by a designated event.
  • Instant – triggered manually as needed.
  • Scheduled – flows that run at certain times.
  • Business Process – guides users through a multi-step process.
  • Desktop – automates processes on your desktop environment.

How to Create a Flow

Flows can be complicated. If you can take advantage of a template that’s already in the system, you should. You’ll just need to add in a small amount of information, such as login details, email addresses etc and you should be good to go. We’d suggest trying out different flows and settings to see what works best for you.

Our Favourite Flows

Everyone will use Power Automate in different ways. And there are no right or wrong ways of using it. Here are a few ways we use the platform:

  • Create a task when an email is flagged: keeping track of all your tasks isn’t always easy. If you prefer to work from a singly to-do list, this could be the flow for you. When you flag an email, it will appear in your to-do list in the calendar screen.
  • Block out my Office 365 calendar for an hour: if you don’t want to be disturbed, you can press a button on the Power Automate mobile app to block out the next 60 minutes.
  • Save Office 365 email attachments to OneDrive: keep track of every email attachment you receive
  • Send an email for new Tweets about a certain keyword: be notified if someone is Tweeting about your business or services
  • Create a task from a message: Trigger a flow to create a task in Planner from any message in Microsoft Teams

Power Automate is a great way to link unrelated apps together, and help Microsoft 365 apps to go further than ever.

If you’d like to get started with Power Automate, or any other Microsoft 365 application, get in touch with ACUTEC today.

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