Power Automate: Getting Started & Tips and Tricks

By Michael Honeycutt | August 20, 2021

Power Automate is Microsoft’s workflow engine used to automate business processes. It is a core tool in the Power Platform and can integrate with internal and external business apps. A huge community exists around Power Automate, giving users access to community resources such as Microsoft’s Power Automate Blog.

Types of Flows in Power Automate

  • Automated - Automated flows run after an event. For example, a new lead creation can trigger a flow and cause subsequent actions to be performed within the flow.
  • Button - Button flows are on demand. A button can be clicked to run a flow, reducing the number of clicks it takes to perform a task.
  • Scheduled - Scheduled flows are triggered by a specific point in time. Scheduled flows can be set up to run at specific intervals, times, or a delayed amount of time after an event.
  • Business process - Business process flows trigger based on stages in the business process. For example, business process flows may be used when guiding a client through the lead qualification process.

Flow Extensibility

  • Nested flows - Nested flows run after another flow. This is useful when flows run on different sets of criteria.
  • Concurrent flows - Concurrent flows allow events to happen simultaneously without having to define a more repeatable process.
  • Run actions (bound and unbound) - Actions give us the ability to combine tasks and operations, which are sometimes bound to entities. Previously defined actions can be run from within the flow. This is helpful when you have a new process but don’t want to redefine the action.
  • Modify code within steps (XML, JSON Schema, etc.) - Code can be inspected at each step within the flow. Modifications can be made to customize each step.
  • Custom connectors - Custom connectors give users the ability to interact with data such as custom apps or APIs.
  • Gateways - Gateways assist in connecting an online environment to hosting on-prem.
  • Execute JavaScript, logic apps, and more

Getting Started with Power Automate: Demo

Below is a video series using Power Automate in the lead intake process at three difficulty levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Beginner Level

At this level, we will create a flow that emails a sales user informing them that a new lead has been created in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. This demo goes over creating flows, assigning leads, and creating records. To ensure that a lead is running properly, first refresh run history in the CRM. Next, click on a session to see if the steps run correctly.

Intermediate Level

At this level, we will use a Microsoft Form to create a lead and assign it to the emailed sales user.

Advanced Level

At the advanced level, we will create a new “phone call” activity for the sales user to complete. This activity will include end dates with expressions.

Tips and Tricks

  • Start from a template if possible.
  • In multi-environment scenarios, it is recommended to start from a solution for ease of deployment.
  • Keep flows simple and repeatable.
  • Test for exit clauses first and early.
  • Naming flows, triggers, actions, and conditions is important.
  • Use variables to help with debugging.
  • Minimize nesting and numerous layers of logic.

Learn more about Power Automate in Stoneridge Software’s Power Automate Confab.

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