July 18, 2022

An Overview on Power Automate

Kumar Pavuluri

Microsoft Power Platform is a line of business intelligence, app development, and app connectivity software applications. It is a low code platform that spans Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, and standalone applications. Technologies within power platform are geared up to try and solve business problems on their own. Its motto is ‘Innovation anywhere. Unlock value everywhere’. The power platform has 4 different members which include Power BI, Power apps, Power Automate and Power virtual agents. It also provides integration with GitHub and Teams.  

Power BI is a tool used for business analytics – data visualization purposes. It helps build interactive dashboards. Power apps is a rapid application low code development tool. A business user can develop their own applications using power apps without the help of a software developer. Power Virtual Agents lets you create powerful AI-powered chatbots for a range of requests like for your websites, teams, slack application either for your internal employees or perhaps even external customers—from providing simple answers to common questions to resolving issues requiring complex conversations.

Discussing primarily about power automate, it helps users to automate jobs and perform operations to save a ton of time and effort on laborious manual tasks. The platform allows you to automate processes between your applications and services in order to sync files, get notifications, collect statistics, and much more. It minimizes repetitive tasks in favor of more strategic work. It gives confidence to empower users with more control, freeing up IT resources for more complex work. This improves and boosts your business productivity along with generating quantifiable results for organizational success.

Within this application, there are more than 470 app connectors both to on-premises data sources as well as cloud data sources. We can tie in information from various sources like OneDrive, outlook.com using some of the connectors available. We can even build our own connectors and share with others by authorizing them. There is also the availability of a connector library where you can find custom connectors that others have created and made available for us to use.  

Power Automate is an end-to-end holistic view of intelligent automation which can help you automate both modern applications as well as legacy applications. There are three different types of flows in power automate which are cloud flows, desktop flows and business process flows. Cloud flows have three components which are trigger, action, and conditional logic. Trigger initiates the execution and action is the task that the flow does. Conditional logic can help to split the flow execution based on situation that occurs. There are different flow types like automated flows, instant flows and scheduled flows that are sub-categorized within cloud flow having different automation targets.

Desktop flows broaden the existing robotic process automation capabilities in Power Automate and enable you to automate all repetitive desktop processes. Desktop flows are addressed to home users, small businesses, enterprises, or larger companies. They're addressed essentially to everyone who is performing simple or complex rule-based tasks on their workstations.  

Business process flows provide a guide for people to get work done. They offer a streamlined user experience that guides users through the procedures that have been established by their company for encounters that must be advanced to some sort of resolution. This user experience can be customized so that users in various security jobs can have an encounter that is most appropriate for their line of work. People can view where they are in a business process.

For modern systems with APIs, we can use cloud flows where the designer is the web browser whereas for the older applications with no APIs present, we can create desktop flows. Cloud flow can also be used as orchestration tool for desktop flows. For example, we can schedule a task or trigger a desktop flow by leveraging cloud flows.

Thank you for reading.

References:

[1]. ‘Pragmatic Work Power Automate Tutorial’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p5kI7SYz4Q&t=2249s

[2]. ‘Microsoft Power Automate Documentation’

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/

[3] ‘Microsoft Power Platform’

https://powerplatform.microsoft.com/en-us/

[4] ‘What can you do with Power Automate’

https://www.sherweb.com/blog/dynamics-365/what-can-you-do-with-power-automate