What is Power Automate?
Power Automate is a tool for automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. As part of the Microsoft Power Platform, it can integrate quickly and easily into other Microsoft apps such as SharePoint and Outlook but can just as easily integrate with hundreds of non-Microsoft apps using an extensive collection of third-party and custom connectors. Even older legacy apps can be automated using a feature called Robotic Process Automation.
How can Power Automate help my business?
Power Automate is designed to automate repetitive and time-consuming business tasks. Not only does every organisation already have a plethora of these tasks being actioned manually every day, but there are often numerous business opportunities that are simply never pursued due to the perceived complexity and expense of the manual processes that would be required.
Handling these tasks manually is not only an expensive approach but can also introduce significant time delays and potential for human error. By automating these tasks, you can not only move staff onto more fulfilling and valuable activities, but also enjoy having the tasks done almost instantly and with perfect consistency.
Discovering new levels of efficiency with automation can be game changing, however the true value of Power Automate is in its ability to integrate multiple apps and systems together into a single unified and automated workflow. You no longer need to be constrained to the functionality built into a single app but can instead pull together the features and functionality of multiple apps and tie them all together using Power Automate. When used in this way the resulting process or workflow can truly be greater than the sum of its parts.
What type of processes can I automate?
Any computer-based process is a potential candidate for automation, especially those that use modern apps and cloud services such as Microsoft 365. Some examples of simple process automation are:
- Automatically save email attachments to SharePoint.
- Track mentions of your brand on social media to an Excel spreadsheet.
- Request approval of document updates before publication.
Far more complex business processes and workflows are also candidates for automation, using some of the more advanced functionality of Power Automate, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI Builder. An excellent example of an advanced use case is presented in this Microsoft Case Study where Coca-Cola entirely automated a manual and complex business process using Power Automate, RPA and AI Builder, avoiding having to hire 10 new full-time employees for mundane data processes tasks.
Getting started with Power Automate
The potential for empowering your people to do more with less using Power Automate is huge, but sometimes it is hard to know how to get started. Rest assured there are numerous opportunities in every organisation for improvement through automation. Here are some tips to help identified where those opportunities lie in your business.
Check out all the Power Automate Connectors that are available, looking for any apps that you already use in your business processes. Click on each connector for inspiration from the templates and examples provided.
Consider any repetitive, data-entry style tasks you may have. Do you often have to re-key data from one system into another? These tasks make great candidates for automation.
Do you have any frequent but complex, multi-step processes that are well documented? Automation can be ideal for streamlining these.
The good news is that because Power Automate is a no-code platform, you don’t need to be a coding wizard yourself to get started streamlining workflows. Of course for more advanced applications you can always reach out to the Power Automate experts at Grassroots IT for help.