Get started with Microsoft Flow - Do more with less work
If you've been submerged in the Microsoft world like we have, you’ve probably heard of a tool called Flow. Despite the wide knowledge of Flow, many have shied away from the tool as they felt it went beyond their technical skills. However, that’s actually not the case. To make use of Microsoft Flow, not a lot of technical skill is required to build not just one, but many Flows to help automate your processes and help you work more efficiently. The idea is to "Work less, do more".
What is it? Microsoft developed Flow to help automate events or processes (known as workflows) across the most commonly used apps and services. Reaching beyond Microsoft products users can link up to 220 different services, referred to as connectors. A connector is basically a wrapper around an already existing service allowing it to communicate with Microsoft Flow. The amount of connectors continues to increase but already includes popular marketing tools like MailChimp or Twitter, or document libraries like SharePoint and Dropbox.
When working with Microsoft Flow it’s important to understand two additional keywords; triggers and actions. When building a flow, the trigger is the event that kicks off the flow, while the actions are what the flow does e.g. use data from the trigger. With an updated vocabulary in place, you are now ready to get started using Microsoft Flow.
How to use it There’s no limit to the processes you can automate with Microsoft Flow. Ensure notifications when certain tasks are completed, , synchronize files across multiple services, collect data or automate approvals. However, the quickest way to get started with Microsoft Flow is to have a look at the templates already available as the processes you’re looking to automate might already be available. Templates are suggested workflows or suggested use cases which can consist of several connectors. These can focus on everything from helping the sales team, to keeping you informed on the go.
If you’re working a lot in SharePoint there are plenty of options ready for you to use by the click of a button. An example could be the flow that automatically saves the attachments you receive in Outlook to a SharePoint folder. Some templates provide more customization options than others, but most are quite easily set up. Another example is the template provided by LMS365. The template links the LMS365 connector with Outlook and Office 365 users to send a survey e-mail notification when a learner has completed training.
Why use it? To put it simply – it makes things simple! Before Flows the only way to create workflows in SharePoint would be to use workarounds that were often limited in their use or a third-party tool. The flexibility and options provided by Microsoft Flow is fit for all businesses, no matter how small or large and who wouldn’t want to save time by automating business processes?
Do you want to figure out how Microsoft Flow can be of assistance to you? Go check out the templates already available and maybe you will be inspired to get started with Microsoft Flow today!