The world of automation has dramatically changed in the past year. According to McKinsey Global Survey, more than half of business executives note that their adoption of automation has accelerated significantly since the pandemic. Before the pandemic, many tech and business leaders would suggest digital process automation ideas, jockey for budget, and get nods for their efforts but no commitment. Today the scenario has changed and automation has progressed into heated board room discussions with statements such as “If automation is not implemented at the earliest, we may not sustain”. This shift in thinking has been influenced by multiple factors such as remote working, recessionary pressures, support of remote business, and various other business constraints imposed by the pandemic.
Forrester’s 2021 automation survey predicts that millions of pragmatic automations will be pushed to production levels in 2021.
It is clear from the above statement that the rapid momentum for automation would continue into 2021. It will be the ultimate must-have technology that organizations and their employees have to embrace this year. Digital process automation streamlines business processes, augments human ability, enhances efficiency, reduces errors or delays, and delivers a competitive edge to organizations. There are multiple processes and projects which can benefit from an automation injection. With automation, organizations can uncomplicate complex workflows, fast-track approvals, implement automated task reminders, efficiently track project deadlines, and stay on top of various business process essentials. In the ongoing remote and hybrid working scenario, automation of processes enables the top management to easily track work, monitor project progress, and improve communication without adding more administration work. While it empowers employees to keep their tasks on track, efficiently manage documents, and unleash their productive best.
The market today is filled with various business process automation solutions. In fact, a recent Forrester study found that automation solutions are available from almost 200 software companies that are in the business of digital transformation. However, the right choice of solution is essential to ensure success with all process automation initiatives. Let us introduce you to Power Automate, a Leader in the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Digital Process Automation. Forrester Total Economic Impact study uncovered that Power Automate can deliver $1.41M employee time savings over 3 years, after applying a 50 percent productivity capture.
What is Power Automate?
Power Automate, erstwhile Microsoft Flow, is an intelligent cloud-based application, which empowers organizations to automate repetitive, manual, and time-consuming processes without coding and with minimal efforts. As a part of the Microsoft Power Platform suite, it serves as a single solution that combines capabilities of both Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Digital Process Automation (DPA), which is further enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Power Automate includes over 300 connectors enabling users to access and use data with a set of pre-built actions and triggers. It can work seamlessly with various Microsoft and non-Microsoft apps (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Twitter, and more).
With these capabilities, Power Automate allows organizations to create automated custom workflows between applications and services in an integrated eco-system that offers thousands of pre-built templates. Power Automate can be used to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, approve requests, all in a way, to streamline business processes, allowing organizations to enhance productivity and save time.
Major Types of Power Automate Workflows
Power Automate facilitates the creation of time-saving workflows into everything from individual tasks to large-scale systems. Its point-and-click simplicity empowers the business experts to build secure workflows and automate mundane everyday tasks with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). With Power Automates’ built-in AI capabilities, employees can automate time-consuming manual tasks and focus on other strategic, high-value opportunities. This versatile solution can be leveraged to create an array of workflows, however, five main categories of Power Automate workflows include:
- Automated Flows: Such workflows are triggered by an event, such as triggering an email if an item in a SharePoint list is modified.
- Instant Flows: Enables users to manually trigger a flow from mobile or desktop app with the click of a button. For example, a Manager can easily send a reminder email to the team before a meeting.
- Scheduled Flows: Such workflows run at selected intervals or timeframes.
- Business Process Flows: This variation of a workflow is created with a defined set of actions and tackles various business process challenges.
- UI Flows: Allows users to record clicks and keystrokes and automate the execution of tasks. Power Automate UI Flows utilize RPA.
How Power Automate Amplifies Employee Productivity
- Manage time better and stay on top of the to-do list: Users can utilize various Power Automate templates under ‘Productivity’, ‘Notifications’, and ‘Events and Calendar’ categories to reduce daily ‘busy work’ and create more time to spend with the team. Power Automate template enables users to keep a track of project tasks in Planner with daily emails and notifications, manage the calendar better with automated time-blocking, create a OneNote page for meeting to record notes and minutes, among others.
- Share & Access Business Data easily: With Power Automate, business users can easily share files by connecting various apps they are already using. For example, integrations that connect data from a SharePoint list to the OneDrive for storage. Additionally, users can set up a flow to copy files from one location to another, through Power Automates’ 100+ data source connections. For example, connect Outlook to SharePoint and get files that are shared via email, to automatically share in SharePoint too.
- Set Triggers to streamline everyday tasks: Just think about how many emails you receive on a regular workday. There is always a risk of missing out on some important deadline or task. Now imagine receiving a message whenever a high priority email is received. Power Automate contains templates to implement such triggers for users. It will ensure that an important email is never missed again.
- Bring together data from different sources: Power Automate can be easily integrated with Common Data Service (CDS), which is used to store and manage business data. Organizations can implement workflows to collect data from various sources and store them in the CDS for easier and quicker access to information.
- Get items approved quickly: Power Automate simplifies the approval flows for organizations. Employees can request approval for items in SharePoint, from the approver or supervisor to view easily in the Approvals Centre. Reminders can be set to ensure deadlines are met.
- Never miss an important task: Receive an email summary of all the important and upcoming tasks. Enables employees to plan their day better and execute tasks efficiently and on time. Power Automates’ email notifications ensure that employees never forget a task or miss a deadline again.
Microsoft Power Platform is placing power in the hands of individuals nearest to a business process. Through the adoption of this solution, organizations can save time, money, increase transparency, and accelerate productivity.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner and Power Platform Partner, AgreeYa has been helping organizations reimagine their processes by designing and creating new automation flows, as well as troubleshooting and fixing the existing ones. From consulting to implementation, designing to development, and much more, we provide end-to-end Power Automate services. To gain more insights about Microsoft Power Automate and how we can help you, contact us.