#Microsoft365 – Work less, do more – you just have to love that! Microsoft Flow is used to create automated workflows between your favourite apps and services around Email, Productivity, Notifications, Collecting Data, Social Media and MUCH more.

 

For previous posts in my #Microsoft365Challenge go to the index page.

What is Microsoft Flow?

Microsoft Flow is a cloud-based service that makes it practical and simple for line-of-business users to build workflows that automate time-consuming business tasks and processes across applications and services. Flow FAQ’s

The magic lies in “line-of-business users”. Flow is so easy to use that non-technical business users can develop workflows to automate tasks. Imagine the turn-around time!! You can have an idea today and by tomorrow you could already be using the new process.

In my ‘previous life’ I used SharePoint Designer Workflows + InfoPath to automate processes. It took so long that often by the time I’m ready to roll out a new process – the process has changed. Creating web services (connectors) took forever, but with Flow you already have 154 connectors to start with. When I introduced Flow in another blog on the 30th of October 2016 – there was only 58 connectors. See this list for supported connectors.

What is a workflow?

Workflow is the automation of a process, where tasks, information or documents are passed on from one participant to another. Great ideas for workflow automation are tasks that are repeated often and take a lot of time.

Not sure what a connector is?

All ‘systems’ have their own language and unique way of dealing with and storing data. If I wanted to build a workflow where my cupboard will, as soon as it’s empty – notify my washing machine to switch on and start washing – I would have a problem. As my cupboard doesn’t speak ‘washing machine’ and my washing machine doesn’t speak ‘cupboard’. See the cute guy in my illustration – he’s a connector. Professional translator if you want to call him that. He’s fluent in both washing machine and cupboard language. He can get instructions from the cupboard – that he’ll understand – and translate it so the washing machine will understand the instruction.

Flow gives us 154 of these “translators” to use in our workflows. You don’t have to go do all that hard work – you can just use them.

For example, if I want to search through twitter and every time someone uses the hashtag #AskBraam – it must add the details to a SharePoint list and then notify me via email – DONE!! which is exactly what I did for my #AskBraam campaign:

Another example – if you have invoices which are sent to a gmail (or other) email address and you want to log the mails in an Excel File, then store the attachments (invoices) in Dropbox or OneDrive – DONE!!

Most of the Office 365 plans include Flow. To log into Flow, go to the Microsoft Flow site. For pricing options, find more information here.

With Flow you can:

  • Do Multistep workflows
  • Approve Requests
  • Add Conditions
  • Use on-premises data
  • Work Securely

Amazing right?? I know. Because Microsoft turns Mere Mortals like me into Super Heroes 🙂

Resources:  

I’ve written a lot of blogs on using Flow – see below for step by step content to get you started:

Related Posts:

Purpose of this blog challenge:

I will write 365 blogs in 365 days around Microsoft 365. I did a similar challenge with Office 365, blogs can be found here. I won’t just be talking about the new Microsoft 365 subscription model. I will be sharing any news, tips and tricks around Office / Office 365 / Windows / Mobility and Security. And let’s not forget all the great new Apps & services available.  A lot of what I’ll share on Office and SharePoint will also be applicable to none “Office 365” versions.

Feel free to #AskBraam if you have questions or would like me to write about a specific topic. I’ve created a Flow to monitor Twitter for the #AskBraam hashtag and will try my best to incorporate any questions into the blogs, or answer them directly on Twitter. This is a “Learning through Sharing” approach to teach my pet sheep about Microsoft – read more on this here.

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