Business Automation can sound overwhelming, but the truth is businesses of any size can automate their processes and improve performance significantly. In this blog, we will walk you through four process automations available to you via Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft’s Robotics Process Automation (RPA) tool, built into the Office 365 Suite.
What should you consider automating?
Focus on those processes in your business that are manual, repetitive, and time-consuming. Document sign off is a good example. Often, we see physical documents being circulated or a set of documents is sent back and forth to various team members as an email attachment. As often happens, the document gets stuck either at the bottom of a large pile of paper or buried in an avalanche of emails. This is when business process automation shines in keeping the process moving.
There are many business processes that can be automated – new client intake, new hire onboarding, and invoice approvals – any ongoing, low effort task that includes things like notification sorting, data collection, alerting, and so on. Whether you’re on the Sales team, the Product team, the HR team, or solopreneur there are items you can automate.
Now that we know the processes, let’s talk technology. Many people have access to Power Automate through their Office 365 Suite but what exactly is it?
Power Automate is a cloud-based system with which you can create automated workflows. This automation simplifies business processes and allows you to manage them more effectively. Watch a quick intro video here for more.
Power Automate is designed as a Low-Code or No-Code option for organizations to pickup and go. What are No-Code or Low Code applications? Read more here.
A Flow is a process that is created within Power Automate.
Businesses are taking these automations to the next level, by using and integrating them with the hub of their day-to-day – Microsoft Teams. Fortunately, Teams and Microsoft Power Automate work together seamlessly to simplify how you and your team do work.
Ready to automate your first processes?
These are four process automations you can easily implement to help regain time, improve efficiency, and improve collaboration within Microsoft Teams.
1) Approve Files Faster
Maybe you’re working with 2+ people on a file and you’re looking for an approval of where things are at. Traditionally an email would be sent to multiple users, everybody would receive a copy, and update their notes and send back to you. You would then sort out the emails, sort out the comments, and start to make a new revision of the file. Rinse and repeat. Wouldn’t it be great if you could avoid composing an email at all?
Combining the use of Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Power Automate, you can do this quite easily with your teams stored data
This blog walks through the setup and management of approvals within Microsoft Teams.
2) Bring Important Conversations to the Top
Once office teams start integrating more of their time into the application and leveraging collaboration, users often find themselves exhausted on keeping up with what is happening. This tends to be a larger concern once users are part of many teams and many channels. A great solution to this issue is the ability to add this pre-created Flow to your toolset to help you stay on top of important messages. The Flow bot will send a reminder and a link to the message right in Teams.
3) Creating SharePoint Action Items from a Team Message
SharePoint can be a hub for document management within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and lists can help teams schedule and keep on top of things. When Microsoft Teams came into the picture, one of the initial challenges was how to easily draw information from several different conversations within different teams, back into a usable dashboard view.
On the surface, this looks like it may require a bunch of programming but the path is already there. All that it required is your access to SharePoint, a List, and your Microsoft Teams.
This Flow is particularly useful if you use SharePoint to track projects, deals, and clients (CRM). As an aside, SharePoint Lists are a great way to organize information and rich file types for single users, teams and/or departments.
Once this Flow has been created, users can add critical data to their list right from a chat. They can even create their own private Teams and SharePoint Lists. You do not need to be part of a team to make use of this functionality.
4) Streamline Communications With Automatic Messages on Planner Task Completion
Planner, another application within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, is a simple, visual way to organize your teamwork. Planner is a great tool for assigning tasks, outlining deadlines, and keeping track of progress. And, it has some great features that integrate with Microsoft Teams. However, as with many tools, its success depends on robust communication. How can we be more productive and prevent back and forth emails on status changes? A Flow can automate this.
This Flow allows teams to save time by preventing back and forth status changes, prevent jumping from one application to another, and notifies team members immediately when a project moves to a new phase so different team members can jump in. It is also very customizable. You can have it post when a new task is created, when a task is assigned to you, or when a task is completed.
Check out the template for Posting a message in Teams when a Planner task is completed.
This just scratches the surface of what is possible for you and your team to automate.Runabout Technology Services offers managed IT support to help you get the most from your Microsoft 365 experience including Teams. Contact us. Let us look at what is working for you today and how we can help you streamline your processes.