While it’s true that there’s still a time and a place to use paper documents, many are reaping the benefits of going digital – including enhanced automation possibilities for their data and processes.
Microsoft Power Automate (Formerly known as Flow) is a set of tools designed to help people with no coding or programming skills create automations to run some of their simpler or repetitive day-to-day tasks. In using AI and software to automate these kinds of “busywork” tasks, you can free up a significant amount of time to concentrate on more important tasks that require direct input from a person. If it often seems that time is the one resource you are lacking, using some of these tools might help you to streamline these tasks. The process can be compared to creating and using macros in Microsoft Word to automate tasks – only it’s far easier to accomplish.
While Power Automate can be a very powerful tool for advanced users, it is also very easy to get started with – examples and templates are provided, along with a drag-and-drop interface to help you create your automations (referred to as flows).
Here are some examples of what you can do with Power Automate:
Power Automate’s Process Advisor can also help to monitor your workflow and provide tips and insights on what to automate or suggestions on steps you can take to streamline your workflow.
Advanced users can go a step further and use the AI Builder tool, which allows you to leverage AI to perform tasks, for example, recognising text in an image, an image subject, extracting data from a scanned document, or even assessing responses in forms – language processing allows the AI to infer tone and sentiment in forms responses and record or forward them appropriately – such as when receiving positive or negative feedback. You can even customise its settings by helping it to learn good and bad responses to particular questions. Once your AI is built and trained, you can add it into any of your flows.