Business Process Automation & Power Automate: The Use Cases
17 SEP 2021
Name an industry that’s not after achieving excellence in the business process flow.
When it comes to reducing the overall operational costs and eliminating manual efforts, organizations today have realized that Process Automation (BPA) is critical for the business and Microsoft Power Automate (formerly known as Microsoft Flow) is built for automating business processes flow.
Microsoft Power Automate (Flow) and Power Apps together are revolutionizing business process automation (BPA). Companies from different industries are leveraging the platform along with other elements of Microsoft Power Platform – Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Bots, and Power BI for higher workforce productivity, reduction in operational cost, and of course, improved business process efficiency.
What is Power Automate?
Microsoft Power Automate, formerly known as Flow, is a cloud-based service used to create automated workflows. It is a low-code automation tool, part of Microsoft Power Platform, built specifically for workflow and process automation. It includes powerful Robotic Process Automation (RPA), called UI Flows, that allow quick and easy automation of time-consuming manual processes. The Office 365 service seamlessly works with other Microsoft solutions such as SharePoint, Power BI, Power Apps, and Microsoft Teams. The best part about Power Automate and business process automation within the platform is that it does not call for coding skills and experience.
What can You do with Microsoft Power Automate (Flow)?
- Create workflows yourself
- Automate recurring, frequent, routine tasks
- Automate legacy business processes
- Automate cloud applications and databases
- Design logic for Power Apps
- Automate Business central workflows with power automate
Check out how a construction firm achieved document approval automation in SharePoint with Power Automate.
Types of Flows in Power Automate
The low-code business process automation tool provides the creation of several types of flows:Automated Flows – This type of flow allows the creation of a flow from scratch to enable the performance of several tasks automatically when a defined event occurs. Button Flows – Button flows are the instant flows for running frequent repetitive tasks at the tap of a button. Scheduled Flows –Scheduled flows are intermittent or continuous, all depending on the application. Scheduled flows are usually used for batch operations and to control the power output. Continuous flows can be used for real-time control of power output. Approval Flows – Approval flows are used to describe the information flow to the command system in a Power Automate system. These flows describe the power of the system. Approval flows are also commonly referred to as transaction flows. UI Flows – UI Flows bring RPA capabilities to Power Automate for the automation of repetitive tasks. You can create automated flows for desktops and web applications using the UI Flows.
In the marathon of business process excellence, Power Automate is your power booster in automating workflow and end-to-end process automation.
Benefits of Business Process Automation with Power Automate
- Automate & Streamline Everyday Tasks
Every morning when you log in there are several routine tasks in the queue that you cannot skip to actually start working on critical jobs. These monotonous tasks do consume a big portion of our productive hours and sometimes get on our nerves. So, why not automate them? One of the most crucial benefits of Power Automate is streamlining the daily/weekly time-consuming tasks to dedicatedly focus on critical business operations. You can create workflows using available standard templates or can also build custom workflows and connect to desired applications.
- Boost Workforce Productivity
Microsoft Power Automate is built for the purpose of creating time-saving workflows that help in boosting workforce productivity. With this business process automation tool, companies can optimize workflows to achieve an efficient way of working. Create automated workflows that perform several tasks automatically based on triggers at the occurrence of an event. You can not only automate individual tasks but can also automate large-scale systems and complex workflows with ‘Logic Apps’.
- Quickly Connect, Share, and Access Business Data
Microsoft Power Automate allows the creation of automated workflows between your critical business applications and systems for rapid data collection, file synchronization, notifications and alerts enablement, and more. You can connect to all of your software systems and apps by using 100+ data source connectors for data collection, analysis, and report generation from any location.
- Easy Integration with Other Applications
Power Automate is a trigger-based tool that allows the integration of workflows into different business apps with the help of Connectors. Connectors help in integrating the workflows with internal and external applications to help you automate processes between them. The common Power Automate connectors are Dropbox, Office 365, Dynamics 365, Slack, Google Drive, Twitter, Salesforce, Mail Chimp, and GitHub. This is not it, the platform also allows the creation of custom connectors by describing APIs to the app you want to connect to.
Power Automate Use cases:
Below we share Microsoft Power Automate use cases for different industries and how it is benefiting them:
Power Automate in the Healthcare Industry
Defining healthcare organizations in three words – paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. From the registration of a patient to their exit, from handling disconnected systems to messy document management and storage, every process is a lot more complicated than it can be. But one significant transformation the healthcare industry has witnessed is the adoption of modern technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, IoT, Blockchain, and of course, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to overcome the challenges involved.
Speaking of RPA in business – In healthcare, RPA is largely being adopted for automating frequent, time-consuming process workflows and especially in adapting through the COVID-19 outbreak. So, here’s Power Automate use cases for benefiting healthcare providers:
- Workflow steps automation to transfer test results into the Electronic Health Record system
- Workflow automation to process COVID-19 testing kits
- Automating helpdesk processes
- Automating Patient admission and discharge process.
- Staff onboarding and rotation shift automation
- Document approval workflow
- Policy setting and user authorization automation
- Automation of billing and claims
There’s a lot more than this that healthcare providers can automate. Whatever the business processes, our Power Apps consultants and business process automation solutions can build custom workflows and automate them for you in no time.
When it comes to leveraging robotic process automation, the construction/engineering industry (AEC) is no different. Builders are actively seeking new ways to increase operational efficiencies and automate repetitive tasks. From initial planning to the completion of final structures, using Power Automate, every monotonous process involved can be automated:
- Remotely operate autonomous machinery
- Automation of workflows into ERP solutions
- Automated invoicing
- Automated document management – fetch, scan, and share
- Automated real-time cost-to-estimate reports
- Automated drones for working area surveys
- Virtual reality with Power Apps for project planning & training
We are aware that builders are rapidly adopting process and workflow automation because we have built custom uninterrupted workflow solutions for a few businesses ourselves. With the experience gained, we have witnessed a considerable percentage of operational flow efficiency boost in their business. The workforce is now more agile and productive. Power Automate is being leveraged for Workforce Automation as well. The field workforce needs a continuous flow of several processes and document approvals for effective project management and Microsoft Flow is bridging the gap.
Manufacturing process automation is booming by leaps and bounds. Manufacturers are leveraging process and workflow automation not only in production lines but are also automating inventories, orders, purchasing, and deliveries. With Microsoft Power Automate, manufacturers can reduce production waste, improve product quality, improve response time, and more. From procurement to supply chain, from order processing to operations Power Automate can be leveraged to automate:
- Data tracking & document processing
- Emails for easier supplier communication management
- Order placement, tracking, and delivery processes
- Workflows involved in distribution and logistics
- Quickly responds to customer queries during out of office hours
The retail industry is one of the fastest-growing industries of recent times and the players are adopting innovative practices to keep thriving. One of such innovating practices is the adoption of modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, POS, and RPA. Retail automation is rapidly being leveraged to smoothen processes and provide faster, proactive customer service. Microsoft Power Automate is helping retailers optimize retail process operations and reduce the massive number of man-hours. Using Power Automate (UI Flows) retails are able to:
- Automate return processing
- Automate HR processes such as onboarding & offboarding, payroll, and reporting
- Automate inventory and freight management
- Automate sales analytics, trade promotions, and new product introduction processes
- Automate flow of real-time information across critical systems such as POS, inventory control, etc.
With business process workflow automation, retailers can rapidly transform into super-smart businesses and Microsoft BPA tools are designed to deliver agile and adaptive solutions for enabling operational excellence.
Financial Services and Banking institutions are one of the rapid adopters of business process management automation solutions. Transforming core business operations is now a top priority for financial institutions and insurance companies. With BPA & RPA, the businesses are saving 20-25% of the cost. With Microsoft Power Automate, the Financial Services sector is able to automate business tasks like:
- Validation processes and give customers faster decisions
- Accounts payable processes
- Employee, customer data push/pull
- Loan application capturing
- Application of formulas
- Orchestrating processes
- Application of business rules
Oil & Gas Industry
BPA and RPA have already transformed the way Oil, Gas, and Energy companies are operating. Automation is contributing to increased operational efficiency and especially in dealing with real-time data, tests, inputs, and outcomes. With Microsoft Power Automate and Power Apps, O&G companies are able to automate:
- Data analytics for exploration & production
- Real-time report generation
- Real-time testing and calculations
- Safety checks
- Close process
- Supply chain management
Microsoft Power Automate Capabilities
- Robotic Process Automation – UI Flows
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capability, responsible for automation, turns manual tasks into automated workflows using record-and-playback ability based on human-driven interactions. When your organization is jammed up with legacy applications whether running on-premises or in the cloud or both and lack communication among them, you can put automation to work with RPA (UI Flows). UI Flows lets your business scale across legacy applications and modern services. With this Power Automate capability, companies can automate both modern applications with APIs and legacy applications with incomplete APIs and can also combine legacy apps, modern apps, and manual processes in single automation.
- Power Virtual Agents
Chatbots are trending and today businesses are creating chatbots for anything and everything. Microsoft Power Virtual Agents allows the building of intelligent bots without any training in coding and Artificial Intelligence. Today, you don’t have to be a data scientist or a skilled developer to be able to build chatbots. Microsoft has made it possible for anyone in the organization to build intelligent chatbots using a guided, no-code graphical interface.
- AI Builder
When you’re automating processes, why not add some more intelligence to them? With AI Builder, Microsoft lets you build intelligent automated processes with Artificial Intelligence that’s easy to train and configure within Power Automate. You can use prebuilt AI models or build your own models without writing a single line of code and increase efficiency throughout the organization.
With over a decade in the industry, delivering tailor-made solutions to clients across a wide range of industries, our Microsoft consultants understand that automation by industries varies and each business is going through unique pain points. We understand each of these pain points and build solutions to help businesses overcome them. Discover more about Power Automate with us.