Digitally Transform Your Enterprise with Power Automate: Our Journey to Enable Your Digital Transformation, Part 1
At Ignite 2019, we announced the re-name of Flow to Power Automate and the introduction of robotic process automation (rpa) with the public preview of the UI flows connector. We’re excited about several exciting features that will become generally available this year and wanted to take a moment to recap the journey that brought us here so that you get a brief look at some of the most important features which are now part of Power Automate, ensuring it is the most comprehensive and advanced automation service for your organization. Since our launch in 2016, Power Automate has grown to become one of the most important automation services available to enterprises. In this two part blog, we’ll recap how Power Automate features have evolved with the goal of enhancing and enabling digital transformation for our customers. Today, Power Automate is a powerful service enabling easier automation of disparate applications across your IT landscape. In part 1 of this blog, we’ll look back on the foundational elements of Power Automate, and in part 2, we’ll look back at seminal Power Automate features which unlock your organization’s productivity.
Power Automate Begins with You
Before looking at our history, we wanted to highlight the powerful relationship Power Automate has developed with its users. Our users are important influencers for the features and roadmap we have developed. This user community has grown to thousands of members and this core group of people have helped Power Automate grow into a service which enables many billions of process automations each month. If you are not yet a member, we hope you register community and help influence the future product journey of Power Automate.
A Growing Ecosystem of Connectors
Power Automate was first announced on April of 2016. At the time, there were roughly 35 connectors to some of the most widely used enterprise applications. Today, Power Automate has over 300+ connectors (figure 1). Our goal has been to provide customers with a robust automation service which can provide automation across your entire IT landscape. These connectors you to leverage Power Automate to automate processes for many of the apps you use each day. Our ecosystem of connectors grows each month, averaging about 5 new connectors every month. This ecosystem will continue to expand, ensuring you can automate more applications with Power Automate. One of the important new connectors we have in public preview is the SAP ERP connector. SAP’s ERP software handles enterprise business applications like accounting, sales, payroll, finance, production, human resources, etc. With the SAP ERP connector you can connect your flows to an SAP ERP system – either SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA. With this connector, you can automate business processes over data in SAP.
Figure 1. Some of the top connectors available with Power Automate. Today there are more than 300 connectors available.
The SAP connector is one example of the hundreds of connectors available with Power Automate, which help organizations enhance and expedite fundamental business processes. Users are also not limited to the connectors that are available. Since 2017, Power Automate has enabled you to develop your own connector. Also, customer connectors can be created using the OpenAPI definition, the Postman Collection, or from scratch (figure 2).
Figure 2. Creating a customer connector from scratch with Power Automate
Mobilizing Microsoft Power Automate
Soon after the initial announcement of Power Automate for the web, we offered the Power Automate mobile app. The mobile app is one of the most important aspects of Power Automate as it enables real-time notifications for critical process updates on your smartphone and is available for iOS and Android systems. Power Automate comes with hundreds of flow templates and you’ll see many of the most widely used flow templates are tied to notifications (figure 2). One of the foundational elements of Power Automate is ease of use in building flows. We executed on this theme after the initial launch of the mobile app by enabling users to create flows from their mobile phones. Nothing can be easier and more efficient than creating an automated process directly from your smartphone, anywhere, anytime. To further enhance the mobile experience, we also introduced ‘Button Flows’ which are flows that can be triggered with the push of a button. Power Automate has supported powerful mobile capabilities for several years. If you want to learn more details on how to get the most from the Power Automate mobile app, check out our video.
Governance and Security
We announced general availability of Power Automate in October 2016, in conjunction with several sophisticated security and governance tools for the service. Power Automate is designed for end users and pro developers, offering accessibility and functionality for technical and non-technical users. Power Automate also supports the needs of IT admins who must manage the growing number of developers in their organization and scale with limited resources. With this in mind, Power Automate has offered several important features from inception such as the ability to customize and create discrete flow environments, identity and access management through native integration with Azure Active Directory, and powerful data loss prevention (DLP) policies through Microsoft DLP. We also launched the Power Automate admin center which provides admins visibility, control, and analysis of all the flows in the organization. More recently, we launched the Power Platform admin center which provides insight into power platform services including metrics on usage, the number of flows created, how flows are shared, and also the number of times a flow has been run (see figure 2). Check out details on how Power Automate is built on powerful security tools and also download our whitepaper on best practices for developing a security and governance strategy for your Power Automate/Power Apps deployment.
Figure 3. Power Automate analytics in the newly launched Power Platform Admin
Enhance Your Digital Transformation with Power Automate
Look for part 2 of this blog where we will look back on how Power Automate has developed essential capabilities on helping boost your organization’s productivity. Also be sure to join our growing Power Automate community and participate in discussions, provide insights, and even influence product roadmap. If you’re not already, begin following the Power Automate blog to get news on the latest updates. To get started on your first flows, learn how to use Power Automate from our tutorials and our video channels hosted by Power Automate engineers who will demonstrate how to create sophisticated flows within a matter of minutes. Go to powerautomate.com, to get started with Power Automate today!