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7 Must Have Office 365 Apps #7: Flow

Author: Mo Anwar | | May 16, 2019

Microsoft Flow helps to improve productivity by allowing users to create multistep workflows to replace time-consuming repetitive tasks. Users can use Flow to create entirely new workflows specific to their unique needs.

However, Microsoft also provides a wide selection of templates on Flow that will give your employees a head start on automating some of the most often used task sequences. The templates also provide insight into the type of workflows you can automate using Flow.

Automation Templates for Mobile Employees

Employees who spend time out of the office, or those who don’t work out of a company office ever, can use Flow’s mobile app to help them stay organized.

  • Track time and expenses. Automated templates are available to help users track work hours and location. In addition, there’s a template to track expenses.
  • Receive important notifications. When users spend a great deal of time out of the office, it’s difficult to stay connected to what’s happening there. Templates are available that will send you a notification when you receive an email from your boss or an important customer. Another template lets you automatically notify other employees if you’re going to be late for a meeting.

Improved Productivity Templates

The productivity templates in Flow help users with the details. Those things that aren’t time consuming in themselves, but can be distracting when you add up the time it takes to handle each one.

  • Organizing email attachments. Have you ever received an email with attachments, then something else grabs your attention, and you forget to save the attachments? The real problem comes in when you need to refer back to an attachment. Remembering which email to look for can be a challenge. With Flow, you can use a template to save email attachments in Office 365 automatically.
  • Managing calendars. Many people have different calendars for different purposes. The challenge is keeping them all updated. There are Flow templates to help in any number of ways, including syncing events between your Google Calendar and your Office 365 calendar, or between your Outlook calendar to your Google calendar, and more.

Social Media Templates

Many people in your organization are interested in what’s happening on social media. Templates that help users manage social media are typically very popular.

  • Post Instagram photos to Facebook. If you use more than one social media platform, doing the same actions on each one is a waste of time. A workflow like this template can help you post once and publish several times.
  • Positive/Negative Twitter post notifications. People in different departments would be interested in the posts that people make about your organization because they respond to them for different reasons. These templates will notify you automatically when either a positive or a negative post about your organization appears on Twitter.

Microsoft Flow Connectors

You can often tailor one or more of the pre-defined templates to meet your needs. It’s also a straightforward process to create your own flow. One of the features of Flow that makes creating flows so easy is that Flow connects with over 100 services. Microsoft refers to these services as connectors.

The most popular connectors include:

  • Outlook 365 Outlook
  • OneDrive for Business
  • SharePoint
  • Twitter
  • RSS

But there are many other choices, which include Dropbox, Act!, Adobe Sign, AWeber, Basecamp, Salesforce, Docusign, and the list goes on.

The wide range of connectors is important because it means that your defined workflows don’t need to stop when the process goes outside of your organization.

Final Thoughts

When you combine Microsoft Flow with Microsoft PowerApps, you’ll create a powerful way for non-technical employees to create their own automated workflows. PowerApps is a point-and-click approach to creating apps.

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