Best Power Automate Flows and their Use Cases
- Featured Insights
- December 26, 2023
Microsoft continues its success in the RPA space, sustained by its consecutive recognition as a leader in the field by Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for RPA. Naturally, Microsoft’s Power Platform remains one of the most sought-after lines of products in the industry for businesses.
Power Automate, previously known as Microsoft Flow, is an essential component of the Power Platform, which offers businesses a transformative, scalable, and sustainable solution for developing impactful automated workflows that reduce manual labor and save time.
In this guide, we will help you explore the different types of flows in Power Automate, how they work, and how to use them and, what can be the best Power Automate flows for you so that you can leverage Power Automate to its optimal potential with easy-to-follow, practical examples!
Cloud flows, also known as Automated Flows, are the best power automated flows for trigger events. Designed to automate tasks in response to specific trigger events, these flows are executed in the cloud and rely on connections to various source systems, which can encompass a wide range of services, including Microsoft 365 products (e.g., Outlook, SharePoint, Teams), third-party applications like Salesforce, ServiceNow, and many more.
- Triggered Events: Cloud flows are event-driven and are triggered by specific events. These events can be from a wide range of sources, such as emails arriving in your inbox, new items added to SharePoint, changes in databases, or HTTP requests.
- Actions and Conditions: Once triggered, a cloud flow can execute multiple actions sequentially. You can also apply conditions and control logic within the flow to make it responsive to different scenarios.
- Integration: Cloud flows offer extensive integration capabilities, allowing you to connect to various services and systems, including Office 365 apps, Azure services, and third-party applications.
Use cloud flows for automating tasks that don’t require user interaction, typically running in the background. This includes tasks like sending notifications, data synchronization, API-related activities, and more.
When you need to respond to specific events or changes in your environment, cloud flows are the go-to choice. For instance, triggering an email notification when a critical database update occurs.
Cloud flows can also be scheduled to run at predefined times, making them suitable for automating recurring tasks like generating reports, backups, or data exports.
Business Process Flow
One of the best Power Automate Flows, Business Process Flows are designed to guide users through a predefined sequence of stages and steps, ensuring that specific processes are executed consistently and efficiently.
- Structured Workflow: Business Process Flows guide users through a structured set of stages and steps, helping ensure that a defined process is followed accurately.
- Entities and Data: They are tightly integrated with Dynamics 365 (formerly known as Dynamics CRM), making them suitable for managing customer relationships, sales, and other CRM-related processes.
- Conditional Logic: Business Process Flows can include branching logic based on user choices, enabling dynamic navigation through the workflow.
Business Process Flows are ideal for formal and structured processes, such as sales pipelines, customer onboarding, and service requests.
Dynamics 365 Integration
If you are using Dynamics 365, business process flows are a powerful tool to guide your users through CRM-related processes with a consistent approach.
They can be used to enforce data validation, ensuring that users provide accurate information at each stage of a process.
Desktop flows, formerly known as UI Flows, enable the automation of repetitive tasks within Windows applications and websites by mimicking user interactions. It is one of the best power automate flows when it comes to mimicking a user.
- User Interface Automation: Desktop flows are a form of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and are used to automate tasks within desktop applications and websites. They mimic user interactions, including mouse clicks, keyboard inputs, and data extraction.
- Browser and Desktop Application Support: Desktop flows support both web automation within browsers and automation of actions within Windows desktop applications.
- User Interaction: They can be configured to interact with user interfaces, extract data, automate form submissions, or perform any action a user could do.
Repetitive Manual Tasks
Desktop flows are invaluable for automating repetitive, manual tasks that involve interactions with desktop applications, especially when there are no APIs or integration options available. Different flows can be used here, but the
Legacy System Integration
Use desktop flows to integrate with legacy systems or applications that lack automation interfaces, allowing you to bridge the gap between modern and older technology.
Data Entry and Extraction
They excel in scenarios where data needs to be entered into or extracted from web forms, legacy applications, or systems with no direct API.
In summary, the choice between Cloud Flow, Business Process Flow, and Desktop Flow largely depends on the nature of the process you want to automate:
- Use Cloud Flows for event-driven and API-led automation tasks.
- Implement Business Process Flows for structured, CRM-related workflows and data validation.
- Leverage Desktop Flows for automating user interactions with desktop applications and websites, especially in situations where APIs are not available.
|Business Process Flows
|Automate tasks in response to trigger events or schedules.
|Guide users through predefined stages and steps for structured processes.
|Automate repetitive tasks within desktop applications and websites.
|Runs in the cloud.
|Runs in the cloud.
|Runs on a machine (onpremise also cloud VMs)with the Power Automate Desktop app
|Typically no direct user interaction; automated background processes.
|User-guided with structured steps and actions.
|Mimics user interactions with desktop applications and web interfaces.
|Event-based triggers from various sources, including cloud services, third-party applications, and more.
|N/A; Triggered by user progression through predefined stages.
|Can be manually initiated or triggered by scheduled runs.
|Stages and Steps
|N/A; Not applicable.
|Structured into stages and steps.
|N/A; Steps are created by recording user interactions.
|Conditional statements and expressions can be used to guide flow logic.
|Conditional actions can be incorporated into stages.
|Conditional logic can be applied to control flow execution.
|Automation of diverse tasks triggered by events or schedules, such as sending emails, data synchronization, approval workflows, and more.
|Structured processes with prescribed steps, beneficial for sales pipelines, customer onboarding, service requests, and project management.
|Automation of tasks that involve interactions with desktop applications, legacy systems, and web interfaces, typically without API support.
|Integrates with cloud-based and third-party services using connectors.
|N/A; Focused on guiding users through a process rather than integration.
|Integrates with the UI of desktop applications and websites, allowing interaction with legacy systems.