Understanding the Basics of Power Automate | ARC
Power Automate is one of the four core Power Platform applications (PowerApps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents) that automates tasks and runs workflows for a variety of user-created processes in Microsoft 365. If you’ve ever received an approval workflow email or adaptive card from a custom solution built into Microsoft 365 or the Power Platform, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of its flow.
Get started with Power Automate licensing
Power Platform licensing is a complicated topic, and in the context of this online gadget, it’s important to understand the licensing models because they can influence your design decisions. The man licensing models for Power Automate are given below:
- Standalone plans enable flows that span different data sources outside of Microsoft 365 and are well-suited for users who need full-fledged, general-purpose workflow and business process automation capabilities. If you want to connect to Salesforce or on-premises data, then you need a Power Automate standalone plan.
- Microsoft 365 allows users to extend the functionality of Microsoft 365 by running flows against data sources within Microsoft 365, albeit with limited functionality compared to the standalone plans. If you need to send a reminder message to a Teams user based on a column of data in Microsoft Lists, the Microsoft 365 plan should do the trick.
How to navigate the Power Automate training courses
Training and assistance can take many forms and, in my experience, follow a certain pattern:
Get Started – To understand basic concepts and get hands-on experience with tutorials provided through Microsoft Learn. Currently, Learn 144 offers well-designed courses that strike a balance between product information and hands-on practice.
Understand the capabilities and limitations of the triggers and actions that drive flow development using Microsoft Docs. Docs also include scenario-based guidance on patterns, best practices, and platform-specific development like SharePoint and Teams.
Flow refinement using its Community. At some point, your flow development will go beyond the guidance provided in Learn and Docs, and that’s where the community comes in. Stuck on a problem? Need help with a pattern? Connect to its Community for help from experts and the product team.
Your first flow
Your first Power Automate Flow should be a guided exercise that allows you to create an end-to-end solution using the tools at your disposal so that you become familiar with the user interface, understand triggers and action patterns, and finally the potential of the recognized application.
Your team’s first flow
Are you ready to automate the everyday? The following scenarios are ideal for team automation:
- Send a channel message to welcome a new team member
- Send a notification when a team member takes a day off
- Store customer emails and attachments for the customer team
You might be tempted to automate every little task your team does, but you should take it incrementally and focus on the predictable and simple scenarios where value can be added to users. The functionality of the flows will grow as your team gains experience.
This is how your flow becomes “production-ready”
When developing “production-ready” flows, it is important to protect the execution from data inconsistencies as unexpected or invalid values are introduced into the flow execution, which can lead to execution errors. For example, if a flow needs an email to send a notification, we should add a condition check to ensure the value is populated as expected.
Once you have created a production flow, it is important that you delegate responsibility to others so that they can support the flow in your absence and that the investment you and your company have made is preserved. In this context, if possible, you should configure all flow connections to use a “service account” so that you do not share access to your user-specific resources such as Outlook and OneDrive for Business.
Power Automate is a fantastic platform that allows you to add value to your organization by automating everyday tasks. This added value is amplified when the automation is done by citizen developers, who use the tools “approved” by IT professionals to create new business solutions for users.
Al Rafay Consulting has practical knowledge and experience in all Microsoft features. If you find yourself repeating steps that are part of a business process, ask yourself if those steps can be automated.
Does the triggering event always occur in the same place? Are the required inputs and outputs processed consistently? If you can answer yes to these questions, then feel free to contact our team of experts because there is a need for a Power Automate Flow!
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