What is Microsoft Flow?
Microsoft Flow [MS Flow] is a powerful tool which lets you sit back and relax while it does things for you in the background in Office 365/ Dynamics 365. In layman terms, Microsoft Flow is a set of rules that lets various apps communicate with each other automatically.
Features of MS Flow:
- Automates repetitive processes
- Choose from thousands of templates
- Monitor flow activity [you will get notifications to make your life easy]
- Troubleshoot what went wrong
- No technical skill required to set up flows
- Can connect with API services if business process gets complex
- Template oriented
Limitations of MSFlow:
- The mobile app for Microsoft Flow supports only iOS and Android
- MS Flow supports email addresses that end with anything except .gov and .mi
- Inadequate documentation for creating custom REST APIs
- Cannot add a step in between, templates need to be utilized as is
- As it is a beta version, there can be changes which might come into play without notice
General use of MS Flow in Office 365/ Dynamics 365:
- Notify users as soon as a business milestone is reached
- Sync documents / information across ERP systems
- Connect Dynamics 365 with other apps including social media
- Configure business rules across applications within an organization
Enough of theory!
How do I bring it to action?
Here are steps to create your own MS Flow from Office 365:
- Login to https://portal.office.com and click on the “Flow” tile to launch the app [see image below]
Login to https://portal.office.com
Install “Microsoft Flow” app in your smartphone and login using your administrator account
- Click on “My Flows” link
- You may either start using a template [a template is a predefined set of rules that’s ready-made by users across the globe] or start from scratch. I chose the latter
- Key in a trigger event for your flow when you would like to have it started. In this example, I want to create a Lead record in Microsoft Dynamics 365 as soon as someone visits my company’s Facebook page and adds a post. This key word search is essentially a search on supported REST APIs that can be used with MSFlow. There are a plenty of APIs [please check the “Good to know” section at the end of this article for more information]. If you want to suggest Microsoft to include a specific service, you may do it in the UserVoice community as you see the link in the image below.
- Click on the highlighted three-ellipses button to rename or delete this step. Additionally, use the connection tab to login to your company’s Facebook profile. Once you are set to go, hit the “New step” button
- Click the tile to add an action. Note that you may also add a condition for the action to be executed
- Again, key in an API service name to search for. This time I searched the Dynamics 365 service since the intended action is to create a Lead record in my Dynamics 365 application
- From the drop down, choose your Dynamics 365 organization to connect with, choose the entity and left click on the “Topic” field. This opens a flyout menu listing all the Facebook post related values resulting from the user post. Map fields as you wish. Note that all mandatory fields in Dynamics 365 must be mapped in this step
- I tried to add a condition in the middle, but sadly, there is no option to add a step in between 2 steps. So redid the process once more. Finally, our flow looks like this
Here you go.
You have a MS Flow working for you!
And this is the result after the aforementioned flow is implemented.Another way to go about this process, is via the mobile app. The process is detailed in the below images.
Good to know:
- Available API services: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/services
- Guided learning: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/guided-learning