Today everyone is busy and when time is precious, it’s important to use it wisely. A task might need your attention, but is it engaging? A process might need to be followed, but does it play to your strengths? As business leaders we have to make these decisions. We have to balance getting the job done with getting the best from each person and ensuring job satisfaction. How do we do this with so many boxes to tick and monotonous tasks to carry out? One solution is automation.
What is automation?
Automation is the automatic processing of information. It describes the technologies used to reduce human effort within a process. The main benefit of automation to a business is that it uses technology to perform repetitive tasks. This allows individuals to spend their time on more engaging and rewarding activities.
In our experience, many businesses want to use automation. They can see the benefits and understand the importance, but they are not sure how to harness the technology. A simple solution is to use Power Automate.
What is Power Automate?
Power Automate, which used to be called Microsoft Flow, is a cloud based software that creates automated workflows and tasks without needing a developer. You simply specify what action should take place when a certain event occurs and this is known as a flow. Flows can be managed through desktop or mobile devices and they can be integrated with the various Microsoft services and applications.
Some of the uses of Power Automate include:
- Triggering notifications – for example if a new lead is added to a database.
- Copying files – for example if a new file is added to Dropbox, the automated flow can copy it to Sharepoint.
- Data collection – for example capturing tweets about a certain brand and adding them to a database.
At Matrix IT we use these flows extensively, helping to keep our teams up to date with the latest communications about a major incident. We also use it to assess productivity and provide client reports.
Benefits of Power Automate
- Low code solution – no developer experience needed. Interface uses drag and drop functionality.
- Provides meaningful management information.
- Provides an easy and time saving way to process information.
- Enables you to connect to your line of business applications.
Questions to ask before introducing automation
If you are thinking about using Power Automate to bring some automation to your business processes, here are a few things to consider:
- Where is the information you need to process? It might be in a spreadsheet or third party software. Wherever it is you can use connectors to get the information into the Microsoft 365 environment.
- How do you want to transform the data? For this you will need to establish what your end goal is.
- Where do you want the information to be output? It could be to a spreadsheet or Sharepoint, but knowing where the data will be most useful should help you to shape your flows.