5 August 2021
Save Time with Microsoft Power Automate
When Microsoft Power Automate (previously Microsoft Flow) was released, you might have taken a look at what the automation software had to offer. After all, automation software that is free to Office 365 users sounded tempting, right? At the time, though, few connections into other vendors’ cloud systems had been announced, and you may, like others, have had little time to spare thinking about it since.
At TechPath, we’d been using another automation software for a while, and it didn’t come cheap. Because Flow comes free with Office 365, it caught our attention. Now, as other providers have got on board, you can get Flows into thousands more apps, and we are using it to automate a lot of our previously problematic processes.
Power Automate is part of Microsoft’s Power Platform which includes Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents, and to say that it saves us a lot of time would be an understatement. Like most growing businesses, we’d developed processes that depended on email. When someone was sick, they’d call their team leader, who would email the company. A timesheet would be completed, the employee’s calendar would be blocked out to prevent them being booked for a customer, HR would be notified, and payroll would be adjusted. In peak cold and flu season, this process could happen up to five times in a day, clogging inboxes and involving several people. When you add in holidays, training courses and other reasons for being away, it became clear we had to find a better way.
We built a workflow in which the team leader completes a simple form when someone calls in sick, and Power Automate automatically adjusts scheduling and HR records. The job tracking and diary systems are updated, and pay is adjusted to reflect the sick leave taken. It also works for holidays, even tracking through the business hierarchy to gain approvals quickly. Daily at 9 am a single communication summarising all absences is sent to the business. Instead of a clunky method involving at least three or four staff, we have a fast, automated process that requires no more than the occasional click from a supervisor.
So, what else can Power Automate do?
One of the most frequent uses we see at customer sites is the easy integration of key information, such as mailing lists. For example, when the mailing database is updated with a new record, this can be automatically updated in the CRM system, invoicing app and Mailchimp. Sure, entering it into each system may only take five minutes, but all those minutes soon add up to a lot of staff hours that can be used better talking to customers.
The reality is that any type of business has many manual activities that can be automated, but reducing repetitive tasks can improve staff morale. There are clear links between happy staff and customer satisfaction, not to mention innovation, so saving those five or ten minutes here and there in your business can mean that everybody wins. Finding a little time to save time with Power Automate proved to be a very wise move for us – and it might be for your business too.
Time to take a fresh look at Microsoft Power Automate and automate your way to a more efficient business? Contact our friendly team for advice on how to save time in your business, or follow us on LinkedIn for more great tips.
Learn more in our article Unlocking Microsoft 365 Secrets: The Outstanding Tool That is Overlooked