What is Power Automate and what are the benefits it provides?

Covid-19 has shone the spotlight on process automation and rightly so. Automating processes helps organisations achieve more with less. And with many organisations running key processes with less staff, never has there been a more critical time to evaluate how to streamline repetitive tasks and paper processes, so you can focus your attention where it’s needed most.

Perhaps you’re wondering: What is Power Automate? Why use Power Automate? What benefits does Power Automate bring?

This article will help you answer ‘What is Power Automate?’ and highlight the powerful capabilities in this tool, which will help your organisation boost productivity and improve efficiencies.

What is Power Automate?

Power Automate, formerly Flow, is Microsoft’s cloud-based workflow engine. It can quickly automate any process or task. It allows organisations to easily automate processes with connected sources such as Office 365.

Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, that also includes Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents, Power BI. Used alone or together, these powerful applications digitally turn inefficient, manual processes into automated, streamlined processes that deliver impactful business value.

Who can use Power Automate?

Power Automate has taken the world by storm and it really delivers on Microsoft’s promise and vision to put automation in the hands of all users. It does not matter who you are or what your technical capabilities are.

Whether you are an IT, Finance, Marketing or HR professional, you will be able to use Power Automate. In fact, first-line workers know the intricacies of the processes they use day in day out. This is what makes it so appealing. The key process administrator is empowered to create more efficient processes that make their working day more productive.

How do I get Power Automate?

All you need is an email address and a web-browser. You can sign-up here for free . Alternatively below are the license costs, depending on how you want to use it and the plan type you require.

License by user
License by flow
Per user plan
Allow individual users to create unlimited flows based on their unique needs.
per user/month
Per user plan with attended RPA
Allow individual users to create unlimited flows, plus automate legacy applications through robotic process automation (RPA) and AI.
per user/month
Per flow plan
Implement flows with reserved capacity that serves unlimited users across an organisation.
Starting at
for five flows per month

What can you do with Microsoft Power Automate?

Power Automate is a powerful tool to improve business productivity and to create a better way to get things done across your organisation.

  • Boost productivity – Build time-saving workflows into everything from individual tasks to large-scale systems with seamless integration using hundreds of pre-built connectors
  • Quickly and securely automate at scale – Enable everyone to build secure workflows with a no-code guided experience and cloud-based data loss prevention, identity, and access management services
  • Put intelligent workflows to work – Automate time-consuming manual tasks with built-in AI capabilities, giving you more time to focus on strategic, high-value opportunities.

How does Power Automate improve everyday productivity?

The many ways Power Automate helps improve everyday processes are endless. You can think of Power Automate as an automated assistant. When certain things happen, it triggers other actions and alerts. Here are some examples:

  • When a new lead is received into Dynamics Customer Engagement (Microsoft’s CRM application), a text message can be sent to a sales representative with details about the new lead, and at the same time, an email message can be sent to an administrative assistant to schedule a meeting with the new lead and the salesperson for an initial briefing.
  • When you’re having a conversation within Microsoft Teams, the automated bot can recognise certain phrases (or users can manually trigger phrases) to flag something for a manager. Alternatively, it sends an email to another department automatically, from within Teams, where the original thought process is happening.
  • A survey you create in Microsoft Forms to send to customers after they buy your product or service can be configured to kick off a flow if a customer provides a low rating. That flow can send an email to a manager, text a customer service representative to follow up with the customer, or create an apology letter from a template in Office 365.

Does it include Robotic Process Automation?

Made available in April 2020, the recent addition of UI flows, Power Automates Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capability, represents a game-changing feature.

Power Automate unlocks data with AI, automates UI with RPA, and automates cloud applications and databases with built-in connectors. With UI flows, end users can automate their work in these applications by recording manual tasks such as mouse clicks, keyboard inputs, and data entry and then automate the replay of these steps to integrate with more complex process automation.

This comprehensive set of capabilities represents the next generation of automation and is accessible to everyone in an organisation.

There are additional licensing costs for Power Automate with attended RPA as detailed in the above table.

Connectors and extensibility

Pro-developer extensibility is natively built in, allowing those with stronger coder skills to seamlessly extend capabilities using Azure Functions or use custom connectors to connect to bespoke or legacy systems.

Power Automate also has the capability of collaborating or connecting with other services or apps. Find a list of all connectors here.

How Incremental is helping customers transform processes

In today’s world, the need for creating smarter, faster more efficient ways of working is crucial. Incremental is helping our customers to improve efficiencies by transforming manual, repetitive tasks into automated ones.

Are you interested in automating processes for your organisation or in developing a wider end-to-end digital solution that combines other Power Platform applications? Explore our guide, which gives real-life examples of end-to-end digital solutions created using Power Platform applications.

Alternatively, enquire about our Business Process Automation service, where we work to understand your existing processes and provide consultancy services around process design.