Automate your organisation with Microsoft Flow

Jason Neville | April 20, 2017

New to Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Flow is a system to automated your repetitive daily tasks.

Flow is a workflow automation system. It allows you to cause events based around events in another system.

You can automate tasks like:

  • if someone drags and drops a file into a library in SharePoint, then send an email to Joe.
  • If you’re a Twitter user, and you send a tweet, it can copy that tweet to an Excel spreadsheet.
  • If you receive an important email, it’ll create a task in Wunderlist for you.
  • A thing happened over here, and I've written a little work flow that says, "If X, Y, Z happens, then do A, B, C."
  • If you copy a file to OneDrive for Business, it’ll copy that file to a SharePoint library
  • If you save an email to your Outlook, it’ll save it to SharePoint.
  • If you create an activity in Dynamics CRM, it can assign the calendar invite to someone.
  • If someone posts something to Yammer, it can be posted that out to your Facebook page.

It’s quite powerful with SharePoint, as a replacement for SharePoint workflows, where you can pull different systems together. You can setup workflows where if a file is saved to SharePoint, it posts a message to Yammer.

The thing is, the actual defining these workflows is the hard part. If you know what it is you're trying to achieve, determining whether Flow can do it for you is easy. It's coming up with those ideas in the first place that can be more complicated.

Flow is similar in principal to solutions like IFTTT (If This Then That), Workflow, Zapier, many of which have been developed for consumers, and it takes these concepts and makes them specific for business.

If your organisation doesn’t currently have any automation, Flow can help bolster the workflows that your system has. Flow can bring things together, and cut out a lot of manual processes, linking an event in one system to an action in another.

 

Integrated with Office 365

Since Flow is part of Office 365, it integrates well with other parts of Office 365. So, if you received a monthly report from the government containing a spreadsheet, you could automate the task of attaching that spreadsheet into Power BI, and then automate the process of populating a report. All in the background.

You can bring together actions in Yammer, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, and automate actions between them, or save information in Office Online documents, a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet.

You need to consider what’s important to you before you start setting up your Flows though. There are some you can setup that just aren’t important, but then there are others that might save you 3 hours per day, particularly with your reporting.

 

Using Microsoft Flow with Teams in Office 365

Microsoft Flow and Teams, like most parts of Microsoft Office 365, work great together to streamline manual tasks and create efficiencies in your organisation.

With Microsoft Flow, you can connect a range of different tools to provide notifications in Teams.

Maybe you have a reporting system that sends you an email every time it sees an alert, and those emails are getting lost in ever crowded inboxes. You could set that system up to notify a Teams channel called “Alerts”, and it shows the alerts as a chat message in a channel that the management team have access to.

Your social media team could setup a Twitter channel, which sends you a notification every time a certain keyword, hashtag or handle was used on Twitter.

You could have Power BI setup to bring in data from your Client Information Management System and your Corporate Performance Management system, and send alerts to Teams.

Need help with how to use Flow and Teams to bring efficiencies to your organisation? Contact R&G Technologies for a quick chat.

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