No more hard cording, excellent user interface experience, and business process and tasks automation are some of the great features of using Microsoft Flow. These features are also among the key factors that people considered when they moved to Flow. If you are still using InfoPath or other alternatives to Flow and you need more information that will convince you to use Flow, then this blog might help you.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but if your purpose is to create effective business process and approvals without asking help from developers, then Flow might be the one for you. Microsoft Flow has helped a lot of companies in terms of automation. Flow lives by this concept: “Work less, do more.”
Flow allows you to create automated workflows between your favorite applications and services to get alerts, sync file, gather information, and a lot more. You can use Flow for emails, productivity, notifications, data collection, and social media. There is even a mobile app version of Flow that you can get from App Store, Google Play, and Windows store.
Microsoft Flow provides a variety of templates that you can use for different purposes. Flow provides templates for approval, button, data collection, Visio, email, events and calendars, mobile, notifications, productivity, social media, and sync.
With Flow, you can easily request your manager’s approval for a selected item or selected file. You can post a message to Microsoft Teams for a selected file or request approval in Teams for a selected item in SharePoint.
The templates dedicated for approvals also have these options: post list items to Twitter after approval, email notification after approval from a SharePoint list, submit travel request for approval, notify co-workers about running late to a meeting, send an email with a summary image of your last meeting, request day off, and more.
Here is an example of an approval Flow. Let’s just say you want to send an email with a summary image of your last meeting. You go to Flow and click Templates. Type in send an email with a summary image of your last meeting on the search bar. This is how it looks.
For this Flow, you are going to use Microsoft Outlook since you intend to send an email. Outlook is one of the connectors that you can use in Flow. When you clicked on that template, you will be informed that the Flow will connect to your Outlook email address.
When you click continue, you will be redirected to Microsoft Flow dashboard where the flow’s actions and triggers are set in place for you. All you need to do is provide the necessary information in the flow to make it work. See the photo below.
Once you are done, hit Save. If you want to add a new step, hit the New Step button. You can browse templates of Flow by clicking here.
Aside from the Flow templates that you can choose from, Flow also has a list of connectors that can make your flow run. Connectors provide a way for users like you to connect your accounts and use pre-built actions and triggers to build applications and workflows.
The popular connectors of Flow are Office 365 Outlook, OneDrive for Business, Office 365 Users, SharePoint, Twitter, Notifications, RSSSS, and Outlook.com.
To let you maximize the potential of Flow, Microsoft added these connectors on top of the popular ones we mentioned: Huddle, SeismicQA, Easyvista Self Help, Vantage365 Imaging, SigningHub, Mitto, SFTP-SSH, and zReports.
The other connectors include the following: Microsoft Forms, Planner, Microsoft Teams, Common Data Service, SQL Server, Power BI, Azure DevOps, OneNote (Business), Google Calendar, Approvals, Excel Online (Business), Dynamics 365, Mail, Microsoft To-Do (Business), MSN Weather, Outlook Tasks, Dropbox, Trello, Facebook, Project Online, Azure Application Insights, Instagram, File System, FTP, Wunderlist, Yammer, Slack, GitHub, YouTube, Todoist, Azure Blob Storage, Salesforce, Word Online (Business), Dynamics 365 for Fin & Ops, Azure Kusto, Box, and Azure AD.
You can click this link to view all the connectors that work well with Flow.
Microsoft Flow also provides other features that can help you in business process automation. Flow offers entities, connections, custom connectors, gateways when you click Data in the left navigation pane.
Flow also has AI Builder, which is the latest capability that allows you to seamlessly automate processes and predict their outcomes. AI Builder is integrated into Flow and PowerApps. There are two options under AI Builder: Build and Models.
When you click on Build, you get to create tailored AI models to automate your business processes. You can also use this feature to find insights for your business. The feature provides custom AI Models, and these are prediction, form processing (preview), object detection (preview), and text classification (preview).
There are also prebuilt AI models for these purposes: business card reader, key phrase extraction, language detection, text recognition, and sentiment analysis. It is up to you whether you want to use the custom or prebuilt AI models.
Microsoft understands that not all are familiar with Flow, especially those who haven’t really tried it. This is the reason why the company added the Learn option in the Flow. When you click on Learn in the left navigation pane inside Microsoft Flow, you will see different blogs about how you can take advantage of Flow.
Simple click on either I’m a beginner, I’m an intermediate, I’m an expert, or I’m an admin. You will the be given various learning materials so that you can study Flow at your own pace.
Among the written topics given are getting started with the basics of Flow, Flow’s mobile app, creating a button flow in two minutes, collaborating on a team flow, troubleshooting flows, expanding flows with Logic Apps, and using Common Data Service.
Aside from the list of blogs that you can read to understand Flow, you can also utilize the training modules. These learning materials will provide questions and guide on how you can use Microsoft Flow with ease.