Types of flows in Microsoft Power Automate.

Microsoft Power Automate enables users to create and automate workflows and tasks across business applications without the need for technical experience. These automated workflows are called ‘flows’ and there are different types of flow automation available.

Within this blog, we’ll take a look at how flows work in Power Automate, the types of flows available, and provide examples of the most appropriate place to use them.

How do flows in Power Automate work?

A flow communicates between your business applications so they can work with each other to eliminate the need for manual processes. A flow begins with a ‘trigger’, a pre-defined event that then triggers a response.

As part of the Power Platform, Power Automate is a low-code solution, meaning anyone from a basic business user to an IT professional can create automated processes. There is no need to write code, as the point-and-click flow designer will allow you to build the workflows you require.

To see the process of creating an approval flow in action, take a look at this video…

We have also written a blog post which includes examples of 7 processes your businesses could automate, which you check out here.

Types of flows available

When building out a Flow in Microsoft Power Automate, it is important to understand the different types of flows as you may have to determine which flow is best suited for your scenario.

  • Cloud Flows
  • Business Process Flow
  • Desktop Flows

Cloud Flows

The cloud flow is the most used type of flow available and enables users to trigger automation processes automatically, instantly, or via a schedule. Below are the characteristics and examples of the different types of Cloud Flow:

  • Automated Flows – An Automated Flow triggers when a condition is met. For example, it could be triggered by an event such as the arrival of an email from a specific person, or a mention of your company on social media. Connecters are used to establish communications between your accounts and cloud or on-premises services.
  • Instant Flows – Instant Flows allow you to start a flow with a click of a button, and can be used across desktop or mobile devices. They are commonly used to automate a wide range of tasks such as requesting an approval in Teams or SharePoint or sending a reminder to the team with a push of a button from mobile.
  • Scheduled Flows – Scheduled flows are perfect for tasks that need to be automated on a schedule and will run based on a set date or time. For example, you can use this flow to automate a data upload to SharePoint or Dynamics 365 on a daily basis.

Business Process Flow

Desktop flows are used to automate tasks on the Web or the desktop. Using Power Automate Desktop, business can automate tasks on the desktop as well as the Web.

Desktop Flows

Business Process Flows help you to ensure consistency across your business, providing a guide for people to carry out work. They provide a streamlined user experience that leads people through a defined process and can be tailored to different roles within an organisation.

You can help ensure that people enter data consistently and follow the same steps every time they work with a customer by creating a business process flow. For example, a business process flow can be created to ensure every customer service request is handled the same way, or to require all people to get approval for an invoice before an order can be submitted.

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