When using Power Automate, you can save build time and enhance the design of a flow by utilising child flows.

Microsoft Power Automate is part of the Microsoft Power Platform. It empowers everyone to use simple, low-code, drag-and-drop tools to automate processes. However, in some instances designing complex power automate flows can be difficult, with potentially hundreds of steps and repeating actions. This makes it tricky finding your way around the flow and writing and maintaining it often means repeating logic at different stages.

This can lead to:  

  • Requesting and using data in an inconsistent manner leading to unexpected results 
  • Additional build time required to write repeating sections 
  • Increased support and future development time as each part of the flow must be maintained individually. 

To ensure your use of Power Automate remains efficient and easy, we recommend harnessing the power of child flows. 

Introducing child flows 

Child flows is a feature in Power Automate that can streamline and standardise flow creation. Child flows allow the flow creator to group functionality into reusable parts that can be triggered from the original/parent flow. This is a useful way to divide the flows into separate tasks and create reusable logic. 

child flow overview.

Example of a child flow

An example of a flow we recently built for a customer demonstrates the power of using child flows in Power Automate.  The customer needed to generate Document Core Pack (DCP) documents to email to its customers in a consistent manner, which ensured they were contacting the correct person. It required multiple automations that used the DCP integration along with its contacts data to generate a variety of emails. 

Using Dynamics 365 Sales, Documents Core Pack (DCP) and Power Automate our team built a solution that uses a child flow to: 

  • Return the correct contact for each type of document 
  • Select the correct DCP template 
  • Create the correct document format (e.g. PDF, docx, html) 
  • Generate an email and send the document 
  • Store the document in the appropriate format (using standard Dynamics SharePoint integration). 

These child flows can then be used multiple times in one flow, and/or across many flows.  

One example of this automation generates a welcome letter and email to the principle contact on confirmation of the customer status (toggle button). This was achieved by creating a new, on change, cloud flow with the following steps: 

  • Call the contact child flow to get the principal contact 
  • Create a blank email 
  • Call the DCP child flow to create the body of the email (html document) 
  • Call the DCP child flow to generate a welcome letter (PDF), attach to email and store in SharePoint 
  • Call the DCP child flow to generate a benefits letter (PDF), attach to email and store in SharePoint 
  • Send the email.

Child flow exampleThe benefits of using a child flow

As you can see from the example above, using child flows can help to: 

  1. Request and use internal data and call external services in a consistent manner 
  2. Reduce build time for additional automations by using existing child components 
  3. Reduce support time and future development time when the automation is reused, versus individual code written within each flow.

This configuration is one example of how the use of child flows within Power Automate can save build time and enhance the design of a flow. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) in demand, many businesses will increasingly require automation within their business systems. Enhancing automation design with child flows will increase efficiency and save time for end-users. 

There are many other automations that can be enhanced by using child flows. For more help and information on how to utilise Power Automate and the wider Power Platform in your organisation, please get in touch 

Interested in more resources? Download our introductory guide: The Microsoft Power Platform.