Go with the ‘Flow’: new automation from Office 365
By Paul Sells • 17 Aug 2016
If your people are struggling or wasting time performing repetitive daily tasks in Office 365, you might be interested in Microsoft’s new automation tool – Microsoft Flow. It allows you to automate and integrate business processes and common tasks across Office 365 cloud products like Exchange Online, SharePoint and OneDrive. So, let’s gear up and find out how we can go with the flow.
What is Microsoft Flow automation?
Flow is a new cloud service provided by Microsoft and, whilst still in technical preview, it’s now available for Office 365 users.
Essentially, the service enables you to create workflows which are fully integrated with the Office 365 suite, Dynamics CRM, PowerApps and now a number of external providers such as Twitter. It’s the same concept as IFTTT (If this then this) but applied to the Microsoft environment.
Flows can be triggered based on conditions or scheduled to run on a regular basis. There are already many templates to choose from, which you are free to customise. Or you can build your own from scratch. And, if you want advice from your peers, Flow has a strong community following.
Five ways Microsoft Flow can help your business
Well, here are a few real world examples.
- Automatically store email attachments in a SharePoint library
This is handy for when you’re on the road and collaborating on a project and you want to send a file back for the team to work on. This flow provides a quick and simple way to share a document with the rest of your team. It could also be used to store CVs or job descriptions as part of an internal job submission process.
- Automatically translate emails
If you sometimes receive emails in a foreign language, you can have them translated automatically and delivered straight to your inbox.
- Engage with your customers
Microsoft Flow can notify appropriate employees when a visitor posts on your Facebook page or responds to a tweet. Take this a step further, and you can add this information to a SharePoint task list for follow up, or create a lead in Dynamics CRM.
- Get notified when a file is added or updated to a SharePoint or OneDrive library
This is useful if you want to make sure you always have the latest document to hand - such as a pricelist or specification sheet.
- Track activity on Twitter
Set your Flow so you receive notification when a certain keyword or hashtag has been tweeted, or store them for future analysis in an Excel file within Office 365.
Microsoft Flow for Apple IoS
Microsoft has also recently released Flow for IOS. This enables the management and tracking of your automated workflows, anytime and anywhere. Flow can also provide push notifications enabling alerts in real time. For example, you can get a notification on your phone when a high priority email is received from your manager, or from an important customer without having to check your inbox.
Do less, achieve more
If you want to get the most out of your Office 365 investment, we can help. We’re a direct, gold Microsoft cloud solutions provider (CSP) partner so we have the highest level of trust from Microsoft.
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