Office Hours: Microsoft Power Automate

Microsoft Power Automate (formerly and occasionally still Microsoft Flow) allows you to easily bring API and UI-based automation together in a single platform that spans modern and legacy services and apps, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Power Automate can also be used to connect your Microsoft Office 365 apps, such SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive, to other important enterprise systems like your ERP or CRM to create automated and digital workflows that replace functionality traditionally found in Enterprise Content Management or Business Process Management systems.


I think we’re going to get started. So normally, I have no problem with these presentations running over but personally, I have something right after this. So, I want to maximize our time together. So, today’s office hour’s presentation is on Microsoft Power Automate. Power Automate is also known as Flow. Flow appears to be the old name and Microsoft is going through a rebranding effort. However, Flow is used pretty heavily in a lot of places, especially you’ll see it on the side of Microsoft Teams.

So, we’re going to walk through building a couple of simple flows. Of course, these office hours presentations are meant to be very interactive. So, if you want to see something or you want me to expand on something that you see that you want to know more about, please feel free to chime in. Easiest way is to use the questions pane instead of GoToWebinar. Additionally, I hope to finish the core of my presentation in about 30 minutes so that if there is something that you want to try and build or we can explore together, then we can do that.

So, what is Power Automate? Well, first thing we can do is, and I am sharing my screen. Okay. I might go to window so I can see questions if they come in. Looks like we’ve got one. Yes, is this recorded, can this be shared later? It is recording. All of our webinars are shared, you should receive an email after the presentation is over. These are also always on our YouTube and available on our website So yes, great question.

Alrighty. So, the place to start is to go to So, like I said, they are going through a rebranding apparently. I actually think Flow is a better name than Power Automate but it does bring them in line with some of their other tools, Power BI and Power apps. Anyway. So, what is Power Automate?

Power Automate is, I would describe it best as workflow. So, I’m trying to get the questions pane to work properly. I would call it digital workflow, it’s also a process automation. I wouldn’t necessarily call it RPA or robotic process automation. It is that but if you compare it to other tools that call themselves explicitly RPA like UIPath or Kofax RPA which we work with quite a bit, it isn’t exactly the same.

And they seem to fit in a little bit different niches. The primary difference is going to be that most of the core RPA products approach automation from the standpoint of user activity automation. And it approaches it from the standpoint of desktop automation. If it’s not necessarily using desktop APIs, maybe it’s just using all web APIs, maybe it’s doing web service calls, whatever. Most RPA tools are built from that perspective, at least most the ones that we’ve worked with.

Well, on the other hand, I would describe it as being more of a workflow tool and really, more of an integration tool. And so, they can do a lot of the same things and like we always tell people as part of a digital transformation effort, there isn’t necessarily any one tool that’s going to solve all of our problems. A combination of process automation tools sometimes is the recommendation to solve different types of problems.

The main reasons that I really like Power Automate are that number one, in its current iteration, it is all SaaS. So, if you have Office 365, anything but I think the most basic level, you should have access to what I’m showing you today and you can build that and I believe it’s free or at least you get a certain amount of processing included with your sub