As a Microsoft 365 trainer I quite often meet customers who ask me about Power Automate, as they have heard the great benefits that process automation can bring to their business and are keen to start using it.
We all strive to be more efficient every day, but only a select few actually get through their workday without being interrupted and diverted from their focus many times by tasks that can be automated.
If we want to join that select group of people who are able to maximize their productivity and efficiency, that's where Power Automate comes in.
How to get started with Power Automate?
If you are not familiar with Microsoft Power Automate, you should know that it is a very powerful tool that allows you to connect several applications (both Microsoft and third party) and perform actions in order to automate routine business processes and achieve exponential productivity gains at work.
These automated workflows are called "Flows" and are triggered by a "trigger", a predefined event that triggers a response.
Depending on the type of trigger, we will have different types of flows.
In short, Power Automate is going to be our greatest ally in the automation and simplification of tasks. And the biggest advantage? That we don't need any specific coding or development knowledge to work with them.
All this sounds very idyllic, but there is always someone who cautiously and with very good judgment asks me, but how do I start? How do you do all these things?
I always answer the same thing: "The trick is to get started". Taking the first step always costs us, but once we have managed to get a little into the world of business optimization and productivity, I can promise you that you will be hooked.
Although it should be noted that one of the main advantages of Power Automate is that it can be customized to meet very specific needs, I always recommend starting with one of the many pre-built flow templates to get started.
The main screen when we start Power Automate already indicates that we can start using predefined templates.
If we want to see all the templates and filter by those we are interested in, we must navigate to the "Templates" tab and in the search engine type a keyword that has to do with the action or connector we want to use, as shown in the image:
Search for predefined templates.
I am going to present some examples of tasks that can be automated in our organization using these templates.
Example 1. Automatically saving email attachments
When sending attachments related to a specific client, Power Automate allows us to save them in the corresponding SharePoint folder. This saves time in searching emails to find what you need, as it will be stored in the indicated document library.
In English this template is called "Save my email data to a SharePoint document library".
Example 2. Manage Leave and Vacation Requests and Approvals
To properly manage leave and vacation throughout the year, it would be helpful to have an automated approval process. Power Automate allows you to send an automated request to a manager when an employee requests leave and subsequently return a notification of your response.
In Spanish this template is called "Solicitar aprobación del director para las solicitudes de permiso".
Example 3. Requesting approval of new documents and notifying employees via Teams
There are certain documents that may require pre-approval before being sent, which can often be a lengthy process involving follow-up with multiple team or organizational members.This process can be automated with Power Automate, whereby an approval can be requested each time a new document is uploaded to SharePoint. Once accepted, team members are notified by Teams.
In English this template is called "Initiate approval of new documents and send notification through Teams".
Example 4. Receive a push notification when you receive an email from your manager/responsible person
Never miss an important email from your manager or supervisor (or anyone you designate) again. As soon as an email is received from your boss, Power Automate will send a push notification, which will pop up on your screen to alert you.
In English this template is called "Receive a push notification when I receive an email from the boss when I receive an email from the boss".
Example 5. Receiving an email when a Power BI alert is triggered
Send any audience an email when an alert is triggered based on Power BI data. For example, you could send an alert to the support team when the incident volume is over 100, alert sales managers when 10 or more leads have not been updated in more than two weeks, or alert sales reps if they have not reached their target and there are less than 5 days left to close the deadline.
In English this template is called "Send an email to the public when a Power BI data alert is triggered".
Example 6. Create a task in Planner when an event is added to an Outlook calendar
Stay one step ahead of your to-do list by automatically creating tasks in Planner when an event is added to your Outlook calendar.
This will allow you to prepare meeting agendas, make time to review a presentation and other daily tasks that can be managed in real time with your Outlook calendar.
Once we have selected a template that roughly fits what we want to do (remember that all flows are fully customizable and that the templates are there to serve as a guide at the beginning of our journey through Power Automate), we can start building our first flow.
I leave here this Microsoft video to help and support us in the process:
How to build your first flow - YouTube
If you have any questions or think we can help your organization, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you😊