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Microsoft Flow | Improve business efficiency by automating workflows across multiple applications and services

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Microsoft Flow | Improve business efficiency by automating workflows across multiple applications and services

Every organisation faces constant pressure to do more with less. How much time is spent filtering through messages for the few notifications that matter? How much time is spent transferring information from one place to another, or inputting data into tracking systems? Too often these tasks are done manually, or not done at all. Microsoft Flow makes it possible to automate all of these examples and many more. There are several different ways to use it: to get notifications when important things happen, to organise data from social platforms such as Twitter, to synchronise files, and to handle approvals.

You may have heard a lot about how Microsoft Flow integrates with Dynamics 365 so that users can create, modify and use their own mobile apps based on Dynamics 365 data.  But Microsoft Flow is so much more than that, it goes beyond Dynamics 365, and whilst the premise is simple, the benefits for business are multifaceted. The blog focuses on everything you need to know about Flow, and what it means for your business processes…

Automate your everyday business processes

The functionality of Flow is invaluable for everyday business processes. Let’s have a look at some business scenarios where Flow could be of help:

  • With hundreds of emails a day it can be hard to keep up while travelling. An SMS when specific contacts, like a key customer or your manager, reach out would be a helpful alert to save time
  • There is usually a need to follow up with leads collected at events. This is often done by email but re-typing information from emails into a CRM system is tedious and can mean missing leads and duplication of work
  • If you work with agencies who create content and upload files to OneDrive or Dropbox accounts, your teams will want to be notified of a new file, without having to check, and then they might want to transfer a backup to SharePoint Online

What is Microsoft Flow and how does it work?

Microsoft Flow is an Azure-based workflow engine, which connects online services. Data can be passed between two previously disparate systems. A great example of this is data from a SharePoint form can be used to create a lead in Dynamics 365. While not strictly a Dynamics release, Flow promises to bring a lot of power and flexibility to Dynamics 365, and how it interacts with other services. However, its functionality is extended beyond the Microsoft stack and can be used to extract data from Facebook or push files into Dropbox. The key feature is connecting systems to enable your business to work more effectively.

So, how do you create a Flow? The great thing about Flow is you do not have to be a developer to use it. Power users are guided through the steps of creating a Flow or can choose from a vast number of commonly used templates. Developers also have the option to write custom Flows based on any application. As Flow is an Azure Logic App developers can also work on them in Visual Studio to grow the app with business requirements.

An example of Flow creation can be found here.

The future of Flow – An ever evolving application

Flow has great potential to simplify and streamline business workflows between systems. There is a whole lot of value-add for businesses, and for Microsoft Partners. This is set to continue with ongoing development, you can view the latest release notes here.  Combined with PowerApps and Power BI, Microsoft has created a business platform to enable business analysts and power users to build line-of-business solutions that still respect your organisation’s data security and quality needs. For more information about how Microsoft Flow can help your business, visit the dedicated blog and contact Prodware.

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