Robotic process automation is the future of business. No matter what the size of your company, large or small, or whether you are running a school or non-profit organization, robot process automation can help. Fortunately, Microsoft has a service that can help. It’s called Power Automate, and it’s a powerful tool to create customized automatic workflows for your business or organization.
What Is Robotic Process Automation and Why Do You Need It?
Robotic process automation, or RPA for short, is the use of software technologies to automate business workflows. Despite the name “robotic,” there are no physical robots involved (sorry to disappoint). This is all about robotic software. These software technologies generally incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The most well-known example of this is probably the modern chatbot, used to respond to simple queries on a website and help direct users to certain information or departments.
Another name for robotic process automation is software robotics (again, not actual robots—sorry). Robotic process automation is dramatically changing the way companies do business on a daily basis. Many software solutions exist to enable robotic process automation, and of course, Microsoft is now in the game with its own software robotics offering.
What Is Microsoft Power Automate?
Microsoft Power Automate—formerly called Microsoft Flow—is a service that helps you create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more.
Microsoft Power Automate isn’t free, but if you already have a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription, your business or organization may already have access to Power Automate as part of your plan.
What makes Microsoft Power Automate so, well, powerful, is how it integrates so seamlessly with so many cloud-based services. Sure, you would expect Power Automate to connect with Microsoft offerings such as OneDrive, Office 365, and SharePoint. But Microsoft Power Automate also connects with hundreds of outside services including:
- Google Drive
The benefits of setting up automated workflows with Microsoft Power Automate are many, and include better productivity, time and money savings, less stress on team members, and happier customers.
What Exactly Can You Do With Microsoft Power Automate?
The tasks you can automate and streamline with Microsoft Power Automate are practically endless. On a small scale, you can set up email alerts when certain tasks are accomplished. Files that are attached to incoming emails can be automatically saved to cloud storage. Email autoresponders can become more sophisticated with specific responses sent based on the type of query. These are just a few ways Power Automate is an excellent friend to salespeople who are busy building pipelines and cultivating sales leads.
Of course, Microsoft Power Automate can do much more than just email. For example, it could schedule data collection based on certain keywords. Microsoft already has a number of templates set up for users to try, which makes it easy to get started and understand how the system works.
Robotic process automation in Power Automate can be triggered in multiple ways:
Automated flow: This is a workflow process that starts based on a specific event, say an email comes in with a certain subject. Once that subject triggers the action, the workflow gets put into motion.
Instant flow: This is an automated workflow procedure that is triggered manually. For example, you are reading an email and want to respond, copy, and archive it. This could be triggered manually by your command.
Scheduled flow: A scheduled flow is one that happens on a recurring basis on the days and times you choose. For example, every Monday morning at 9 am, you could send out an email to staff that lists the top five Internet search trends from the past week. (Part of the process would be in tracking those Internet searches.)
Automated workflows can also happen in a multistep process. This is where one action may trigger another action, which triggers a third action. Workflows could potentially branch depending on what happens. For example, an email that has subject A, is handled with one workflow, where as subject B triggers a different workflow.
Robotic Process Automation Is Easy with Microsoft Power Automate
If your business or organization is not leveraging robotic process automation already, you may be at a disadvantage. Why? Because your competitors are already using it and benefitting from the time savings and improved efficiency it offers. Fortunately, Microsoft has developed a fairly intuitive product with Power Automate.
If you’re already an Office 365 user, take a moment to look at Power Automate and see what it can do. If you’re not an Office 365 user, CDS can help with that!
As IT experts, CDS Office Technologies is a leading provider of cloud-based solutions, including secure cloud data storage as well as document management systems. We can also help your organization best utilize Microsoft Power Automate. Contact us today for a consultation!