What is Microsoft Flow?
Flow is a cloud based online system that allows your employees to seamlessly automate work processes and tasks across the most common apps and services. So it's not just other Microsoft applications and services that can be integrated with Microsoft Flow, the solution can be used with a wide range of apps and services, called 'connectors' by Microsoft, which includes Twitter, Google Drive and Salesforce. It is possible to connect to more than 200 services and data can be managed both in the cloud or in sources in the local environment, such as SharePoint or Microsoft SQL Server, and more applications can be added along with Microsoft Flow.
What can you do with Microsoft Flow?
With Microsoft Flow, you can automate everything from simple trigger notifications to complicated business processes with defined steps and stages between your favorite applications and services, synchronizing files, receiving messages, collect data and much more.
With Microsft Flow you can, among other things, automate these tasks:
- Register, track and follow up on new potential sales leads
- Collect useful data regarding your business and share this information with the rest of your employees or team
- Copy files that are attached to your e-mails to your OneDrive for Business account
- Automation of work processes for approval
- Respond promptly to high priority messages or emails
Common use of Microsoft Flow
A common way to use Microdsoft Flow is to trigger notifications. If a new lead is added, for example, from Dynamics 365 Sales, an automated workflow can send an email or text message to your sales representatives with details about the lead.
It is also possible to use Microsoft Flow to copy files. For example, if a file is added to a file storage service such as Dropbox or OneDrive for Business, an automated workflow can immediately send a copy of the file to SharePoint.
Flow is also used to collect data. For example, if a user wants to see what the users think of a specific brand or product, they can release a trigger that captures new tweets in which the given brand or product is mentioned and then insert a copy of each tweet into a SQL database from which the public mood of the brand or product is analyzed and determined.
The Microsoft Flow robot also works within the work area of each individual team. Via the Flow robot, the employees can trigger flows in their team conversations. For example, employees in a work team can run a flow, which sends a message to a support engineer to mark a problem or to log it into an Excel spreadsheet.
Key features in Microsoft Flow
Microsoft offers a wide range of pre-built workflows, or templates, with functionality that can, for example, solve the following tasks:
- Store files that are attached to Gmail or OneDrive
- To receive a push notification when you receive email from your boss
- Copy your SharePoint lists in a CSV file (data exchange format) every week
- Store tweets that contain a specific and relevant hashtag to a SharePoint list
If none of the default templates deliver functionality for the work process you need to automate, users can relatively easy make their own flows. Microsoft Flow has in fact developed the solution with users without much technical skills in mind, which means that the ordinary employee himself can in principle make a flow and thus automate a given workprocess, completely without any help from a sofyware developer.
From the Microsoft Flow Admin Center, the administrator can manage and handle users, permissions and roles and thereby ensure that the flows created by users are in accordance with the applicable rules and policies relating to the prevention of data loss.