Streamline workflows and boost productivity with Microsoft Power Automate
Read time 5 mins
Despite many organisations utilising Microsoft software, many of them are simply not aware of just how much power and simplification sits right at their fingertips using the suite.
Case in point is Microsoft Power Automate (known as Microsoft flow in a previous life), which is a software tool in Microsoft Office 365 , allowing users to create automated workflows between various apps and services – whether Microsoft or third-party.
Whilst this may sound innocuous, Microsoft designed the software to help users streamline repetitive tasks and paperless processes, simplifying the working lives of users exponentially by cutting down the number of manual tasks that must be completed day-to-day.
Microsoft designed the software to help users streamline repetitive tasks and paperless processes, simplifying the working lives of users exponentially.
Using the tool, businesses can automate repetitive tasks by setting up ‘flows’ that are triggered by specific, pre-defined events. The obvious benefit being that this allows employees to spend more time on bigger or more important tasks, therefore increasing capacity.
The best part is that Microsoft Power Automate requires no coding knowledge at all. In fact, it completely removes the requirement of using IT professionals to set-up automated workflows for the business. In other words, it’s a very cost-effective way to save time and boost productivity.
The beauty is that anyone can jump in, create an automated task, and have Power Automate work on their behalf in the background.
Common uses for Microsoft Power Automate
Although it’s worth noting that one of the main advantages of Microsoft Power Automate is that it can be easily customised to meet very specific automation needs (and can also interact with third-party apps), first-time users may feel more comfortable beginning with one of the many pre-built flow templates to get started.
Power Automate has hundreds of ready to use templates, but below are some common examples:
Automatically saving email attachments
Power Automate allows users to automatically save email attachments (sent or received) to a corresponding SharePoint folder, e.g., all attachments in relation to a specific client or project. Naturally, this saves time searching and filtering Outlook to find old emails as they’re already neatly stored in the user’s OneDrive.
Managing annual leave requests
Power Automate allows users to send an automated notification to their manager requesting time off for holiday, medical, or any other type of leave. The manager in question will receive an alert that a request requires their attention, and the user will automatically receive a notification of their response.
Requesting and receiving approval
There are certain documents that may require pre-approval by a senior member of staff before being sent to the final recipient. Often, waiting for approval is a lengthy process, perhaps involving multiple reminders or numerous team members to be involved. With Power Automate, this process is automated, and approval is requested each time a new document or update is uploaded to SharePoint. Once approved, the creator receives a notification via Teams, allowing the process to continue seamlessly.
Push notifications for important emails
For users worried about missing important emails from their manager or director – or even employees working on a project together who don’t want to miss updates as soon as they come in – Power Automate can send push notifications that pop up on-screen to alert users to the new email. This is a great tool to avoid constant pop-ups for every email that comes in, but still receive alerts for designated persons.
Receive an alert when Microsoft Power BI is triggered
Power BI is a tool used to interrogate and find insights from an organisation’s data. Working with Power BI, Power Automate can be set to alert certain people when certain data triggers happen. For example, when X amount of support requests are left unresolved for X amount of time, or when incident volumes reach level X. It can also be used as a reminder or ‘warning’ tool. For example, sales representatives may be alerted when there is one week left to hit their target and they are more than X amount away.
Manage to do lists
Microsoft Planner is a web-based planning app available on the Microsoft 365 Platform. The tool makes it possible to plan tasks and handle small projects without complex planning effort, and can also be integrated with Teams as a Planner tab. Using Microsoft Automate, tasks can automatically be added to Planner whenever an event is added to the user’s Outlook calendar. This is useful for, say, preparing meeting agendas, making time to review documents prior to discussion, or booking travel before a meet-up.
What are the Business Benefits of Using Microsoft Power Automate?
The jewel in Power Automate’s crown is the sheer number of benefits using this software creates for organisations. This, combined with the fact that no professional IT/coding knowledge is required from anyone in order to reap these benefits.
Everyday tasks are streamlined
In most people’s jobs, there are many processes that can be automated to allow better allocation of resources and to increase productivity across teams. In particular, tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming can be streamlined, saving time and money, and decreasing the risk of human error.
Workforce productivity is improved
Power Automate helps organisations save time and ultimately work much more effectively. By automating repetitive tasks that take up unnecessary time in the day, employees are able to work smarter and improve overall output.
Tasks can be automated organisation-wide
Power Automate connects and automates tasks across hundreds of apps, both within the Microsoft suite and also third-party sources. Popular Microsoft connections include SharePoint, Power BI, Word, Outlook, Teams, and Planner; whilst common external connections might include Dropbox, Google Drive, Trello, CRM systems, and the Adobe suite.
Employee satisfaction is increased
Automating time-consuming, repetitive tasks enables employees to focus on the things that really matter and require more creative or technical attention. As a result, users gain higher job satisfaction and increased feelings of achievement, which is great for morale and productivity. The risk of human error is also decreased significantly, meaning employees feel less frustrated and more confident in their abilities.
Decision making is streamlined
The decision-making process is made much simpler with Power Automate and users no longer need to send reminders or worry that their request may have gotten lost in the ether.
Easy accessibility for everyone
Available on desktop, mobile, web, and Teams, Power Automate can be used to check on automated workflows wherever your employees work from, so it’s perfect for the modern workplace.
To find out more about Microsoft’s Power Suite, or how Littlefish can help your business boost productivity through effective implementation of technology, feel free to contact us through our get in touch button.