Microsoft Flow, a cloud-based workflow management tool; is the company’s latest product. It provides users with the ability to create automated workflows to connect people, data and systems without any assistance from a developer. Whether you wish copy tweets with certain hashtags to an excel sheet, send an SMS when you receive an email from your boss, copy OneDrive files to SharePoint or create a task when you receive an important email; Microsoft Flow can help.
Microsoft Flow works on the principle of “fire a trigger to perform an action”; which is quite similar to the IFTTT (If This Then That) service. While IFTT caters to consumers; Flow is enterprise-focused. Flow easily integrates with PowerApps, Dynamics 365, Office 365 and the Common Data Service to form a powerful and versatile business application platform; allowing users to create function-specific solutions according to their business roles. While Microsoft Flow empowers everyday users to create their own mini-solutions; IT professionals can use advanced integration tools such as LogicApps to create API connectors and gateways for custom solutions.
Microsoft Flow for Businesses
Microsoft Flow automates business processes to increase user efficiency. Businesses are increasingly using Flow to send automated follow-up responses to enquiries from leads or customers. Within the organisation teams are using it to generate and send periodic reports and updates to team members and/or managers. Some of the unique ways businesses are leveraging the benefits offered by Microsoft Flow include:
Streamline daily activities
Employees are receiving an increasing number of emails daily. As a result; they may miss out on important emails that need to be actioned immediately. This is easily avoidable with Microsoft Flow. In fact there is a pre-built template; that allows users to be notified via text as soon as a high-priority email is received.
Companies can also set up workflows to capture important tweets that include the company name or a particular hashtag; and send automated responses to customers/clients who tweet about the business. Alternatively users can capture this data into Excel or SQL Server tables to analyse at a later stage. Flow also allows users to configure custom notifications for activities that require immediate attention; such as when a new lead gets added to the CRM or if a new enquiry comes in.
Share and Access Business Data
Do you have files in Google Drive or OneDrive and wish to share it with the team? With Microsoft Flow you can. All you need to do connect the apps and set up a flow to copy files from one location to another; (for instance from OneDrive to SharePoint). Microsoft Flow offers out-of-the-box connections to over 100 different data sources; due to which users can create automated workflows that provide teams the ability to access data irrespective on where it was originally located.
Collaborate on a Common Platform
Flow seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Common Data Model (CDM) which is an out-of-the-box database that can be customised and for storing and managing business entities. Organisations can configure workflows to collect data from different sources and store it in CDM. As it runs in the cloud, staff have easy access to the collected information. At this stage, CDM can import data from Dynamics 365, SQL database (on-premises and cloud) and cloud-based Excel files. Companies interested in connecting CDM to their local business systems can get custom APIs defined for the purpose. In addition to acting as a common collaboration platform; the Common Data Model also integrates with PowerApps; which helps everyday users to build mobile apps to cater to specific business purposes.
Recently, Flow introduced an iOS app for users who wish to manage their activities via a mobile device. Microsoft is introducing new features and adding more data-source integrations all the time. Although relatively new Microsoft Flow is designed to be the go-to technology for professionals; who wish to achieve more from their daily work activities.