Microsoft Power Automate: An introduction

Written by Jake Waller

Jake is a technical author with a wealth of experience helping people from companies, charities and governmental departments understand new trends in technology.

May 10, 2021

Microsoft Power Automate: An introduction

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a competitive industry and that’s unlikely to change soon, with Gartner predicting RPA software revenue to exceed $2bn in 2021. Alongside established experts including UiPath and Automation Anywhere, the sector also boast well-known and diverse companies like Samsung and SAP.

Microsoft is arguably the biggest name of all with an interest in the RPA sector, and its offering, Microsoft Power Automate, is the subject of our attention in this post. But first, a quick RPA refresher for those that need it.  

What is RPA?

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. In short, it uses robots to handle everyday, repetitive tasks, reducing or eliminating the need for human involvement in the process. This frees up time for your employees to handle more interesting and high value tasks, like connecting with customers.

Estimates show that currently employees can spend up to 80% of their day completing mundane tasks, meaning their time isn’t being used to its full potential.

In one NHS case study, a chief officer that prioritised RPA as part of his digital strategy saw it complete 22,000 live chats that then enabled his staff to complete other tasks.

Read more about the benefits of RPA here

How is Microsoft Power Automate different?

There are several factors that set Power Automate apart and have seen it score highest in Gartner’s RPA Magic Quadrant for completeness of vision.

Its sudden entry into the Magic Quadrant is testament to the transformation of Microsoft’s offering following the rebranding of Microsoft Flow, Power Automate’s previous iteration.

Accessibility

Part of that vision is that Microsoft wants to empower its users to embrace RPA, whatever their role. This means that from RPA experts to end users, anyone can use Power Automate to transform their workflow and increase their own productivity.

Central to that accessibility is their cloud-based model. This means fast set up and no hardware, so less upfront investment and more ease of access. Continuing that trend, Power Automate has its own mobile app to allow users to create and check workflows even when out of office.

Microsoft has also ensured it can integrate with over 260 applications, including Twitter, Adobe, Google Drive and all of its own business applications. This makes it far easier to add Power Automate to your business’s suite of tools and fit RPA into your existing infrastructure.

Additionally, Microsoft has made it easy for new users by creating templates for its most popular uses.

No-code approach

Though this is a key factor in Power Automate’s accessibility, its such a selling point for many businesses that it warrants its own attention. The way Power Automate can capture less technically-minded end users is through offering ‘no code’ workflows—you won’t need any coding knowledge or developer assistance to automate processes. Its point and click interface makes for rapid development of simple automations, like message alerts or email handling, so that anyone can make themselves a robot assistant.

Collaboration

Much like the other components of Microsoft’s near-endless universe of software tools, Power Automate plays well with others. Collaboration is encouraged and facilitated through the creation of automated workflows that serve multiple team members, increasing whole team productivity with just one flow.

Virtual agents

We couldn’t not mention the ‘Virtual Agents’ system. Combining Power Automate with Microsoft’s Bot Framework enables users create an intelligent ‘chatbot,’ great for online customer services. Workflows can be monitored for productivity and accuracy, but the system notifies you of any issues.

Power Automate delivers on its vision

RPA platforms like Power Automate from Microsoft are offering a growing number of ways to scale up your business and productivity. Microsoft’s offering has a clear vision of connected and collaborative accessibility that sets it apart from many of its competitors, as well as the stats to back up its claims.

Forrester surveyed 57 companies currently using Microsoft Power Automate and found a return on investment of 199% within 3 years. They went on to note that finding just 3 uses for it saved the companies involved over 26,000 working hours per year.

Power Automate’s tag line—Take care of what’s important. Automate the rest—implies it can handle any routine tasks, and we believe it delivers on that promise. It is used worldwide across sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, and banking and will likely continue its expansion into ever more industries.

The digital transformation is underway, and we recommend seriously considering investment in Power Automate as part your company’s digital strategy for a productive and happy workplace that also allows for growth and increased success.


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