Robotic Process Automation using Office 365 and Power Automate.

Mateusz Tajak

A big challenge for companies launching robotic process automation projects is the technology barrier. We don’t know which platform to choose, how much to invest, and which processes to automate. What makes things worse, we need to decide between in-house implementation and outsourcing.

Some of these challenges depend on the specifics of the company and processes. However, in many companies, the technology aspect is far less problematic. This is because more and more companies are using Office 365 as their primary tool for communication and collaboration between employees.

However, not many people are aware of the possibilities offered by the built-in functionality that is available within the Office 365 platform. I am talking about Microsoft Power Automate.

What is Microsoft Power Automate?

Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) is an application offered as part of the Office 365 platform that allows you to build automations for business processes. In its basic version, Power Automate allows users to build simple automations for tasks that are carried out within Office 365.

To start Power Automate, simply access your office 365 account and go to the app itself:

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Once Power Automate is running, we can automate tasks performed across applications available in Office 365. Here are some simple examples:

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Microsoft Power Automate as a workflow platform

We have learned about the basic capabilities of Power Automate. They are quite limited when we have specific automation needs or wish to implement automation throughout the organization.

This is where the premium versions of Microsoft Power Automate come in. They will allow you to build far more advanced flows. They operate throughout the organization and can integrate with data from outside Office 365. Also, they can have more complex business logic.

We are talking about all kinds of acceptance processes, information exchange processes or simply automatic integration of various applications. The following animation perfectly shows how Power Automate works:

Power Automate as an RPA platform

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that uses pre-programmed bots to automate repetitive and time-consuming business processes. You can read more about RPA in the article below: What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

The RPA functionality in Microsot is called Power Automate Desktop. This is a relatively new functionality within the Power Automate platform, previously known as WinAutomation.

Here, an installed app is required to build automation. According to Microsoft’s marketing information, Power Automate Dekstop is a free app for Windows 10 owners. In reality, the free functionality is quite limited and a paid license is required to build more advanced automations.

Importantly, Power Automate Desktop allows operating in both supervised and unsupervised modes. This gives a wide range of possibilities for process automation, from those running directly on employee computers to those running independently of the people executing them.

Microsoft Power Automate – upsides and downsides

The process automation platform from Microsoft is not perfect. Despite advantages it also has disadvantages. It is worth noting that in the area of business process automation, advantages and disadvantages are not zero-sum. Something that is a disadvantage for one organisation does not have to be a disadvantage for another. Therefore, we need to address a few points that will help answer whether Microsoft Power Automate is a good platform.

  • The entry threshold for organisations already using Office 365 is very low. In this situation, Power Automate, when properly implemented, requires only configuration. If the basic licenses are not enough, you need to purchase additional packages, and then you can go straight to building automation.
  • Huge integration potential with Microsoft tools. Microsoft tools, from simple Office suites to large database solutions, are still among the most common in many companies. Power Automate easily integrates with them and allows you to easily exchange data.
  • All automation in one place. Microsoft solutions allow you to implement both RPA, Workflow, Business Intelligence and document storage in one place.
  • Un-cool interface. The user experience of working with Power Automate leaves a lot to be desired. Dedicated workflow platforms, which have been developed much longer, have much greater capabilities. From intuitiveness on the configuration level to a much nicer interface for the business user.
  • RPA platform sophistication is quite low Of course, we can still carry out advanced automation, but the competition, such as UiPath, AutomationAnywhere or BluePrism, offers much more in terms of the overall management of robotic automation across the company. Therefore, PowerAutomate is unlikely to be suitable for very large organisations implementing complex process automation programmes.
  • Complicated licensing. Power Automate, like many other products, has a complicated licensing model, which changes frequently. This can make it difficult to manage and predict costs.

Microsoft Power Automate – summary

Microsoft Power Automate is a great platform for companies already using Office 365. In such a situation, the entry threshold into automation projects and robotic automation of business processes will be really low compared to alternative solutions. In addition, adaptation in the organisation is easier, because everything happens within the already running Office 365. On the other hand, smaller companies will be agile enough to develop their products much faster and provide much more opportunities.

Get a free consultation and find out if Power Automate would be a good choice for your business.

At GGS IT Consulting, we are in the business of implementing Business Process Automation and Robotics solutions. Microsoft Power Automate is one of the solutions in which we support our clients.

If you are thinking about robotic process automation in your company, you can make an appointment for a free consultation. Then, in a short 15-30 minute meeting, our consultant will tell you whether PowerAutomate will be a good choice for your company.

You can make an appointment for a free-of-charge consultation by clicking on the link below: https://ggsitc.com/pl/consultation