Let’s Explore Power Automate

In my previous blog, you might have got a basic idea of Power Automate. Today we will try to explore some activities like,

  • Where to create flows
  • How to create basic flows and so on.

You can access power automate using either a web client (through a browser) or if you have downloaded the Power Automate app on mobile. For our ease of use, we will use the web client. In that case, I will be launching https://flow.microsoft.com, which will automatically get resolved to the URL which has our data center location. For me it was India and the URL turned out to be https://india.flow.microsoft.com.

As soon as we launch this URL and login with our credentials you will reach the home page of Power Automate which provides us with different options like template collections, popular services, and most common usages of Automate with links to Microsoft documentation. At the same time, you will see a list of menu items on your left-hand side from where we can reach out to different options available in this portal. We will discuss each of them below.

As soon as you login you might be seeing a page similar to this.

Power_Automate_Home

In this blog, we are mostly concentrating on what is on the left-hand side of the screen which makes more sense for us going forward to administer our flows. That doesn’t mean the others are not needed but those areas we should be able to reach through the left-hand side menu in one way of the other as the main page is more of like a short cut.

In the left-side menu, the first option we will see is Action Items. This section is where we can manage our approvals and business process flows. In case of approvals, that lists all our approvals grouped under history, sent and received. At the same time, business process flows are grouped as active and inactive.

The next section is My Flows. Here all our flows will be available. Mostly all the flows are grouped under My Flows, Team Flows, Business Process Flows, UI Flows. We should be able to manage each of our flows from here.

Create section gives us the option to create new flows. As soon as we navigate to this section, we are provided with three options mainly.

  • One is to create a new flow from scratch or blank.
    • Automated Flow: This flow will be something like which runs automatically on a triggering point like an event or so.
    • Instant Flow: This is more of a manual flow that can be triggered instantaneously.
    • Scheduled Flow: Here we can decide when and where my flow often runs.
    • UI Flow: Records a process in the user interface.
    • Business Process Flow: This is something which mostly used by businesses to streamline their processes and standardize one. This normally will be a multistep process.
  • The second option we have is to create from an existing template. Based on our requirement we can select one of the predefined templates and later we can customize it to meet our specific requirements.
  • The third option we have is to start from a connector. As we discussed previously, we have 200+ list of predefined connectors available. Pick one among them as per our requirement and we can quickly start on with our flow.

Below create option we have two sections one for templates and another one for connectors. Here we have the option to see all the available templates and connectors respectively. Some of the connectors are from Microsoft while some others are from third parties. Once we navigate to the specific connector, we have detailed documentation of each of these connectors and based on that we can make informed decisions on which connector to use in our case. The best part of navigating through these two sections is that we may get new ideas seeing different templates and connectors available. You bet try navigating through these two sections and I am sure you will get at least one idea.

Now we are coming to one of the major functionality which is Data. Under this section, we can find all our Entities (Common Data Services), Connections, Custom Connectors, and Gateways. When we are trying to use Entities, you will be redirected to your PowerApps user interface where we can see all our Entities which is part of the Common Data Services (CDS).  Whatever connections and custom connectors we are creating/using for our requirements will be listed under the respective connections and custom connectors section. Gateways (mostly used to connect to our on-premises systems) lists all gateways we have.

AI Builder section gives us options for Build and Models. This section is available only for specific regions depending upon the release dates. Anyhow my region doesn’t have this feature available even though it’s listed on my menu. May be more about this later sometime as soon as I get access to this section.

Solutions section lists all the solutions we have in our environment. All work-related to solutions can be done here. If you are not comfortable with the UCI version, there is an option to switch back to the classic version to manage the solution. Not sure how far this option will be available. I believe this classic version will be available for some more time as you are aware most of the settings are still managed via class version.

Learn section is nothing but a link to the documentation for Power Automate.

I hope you got a basic understanding of the landing page for Power Automate (previously Microsoft Flows). We will now jump deep into each of these sections in upcoming posts.

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