As Office 365 now approaches 10 years in service, it is only now starting to become the unified whole that Microsoft first envisaged. In the early years, it was most definitely a collection of components that didn’t really work together seamlessly. However, as times are changing and in the last year Microsoft has been adding capabilities and has begun linking the various components together. This article will discuss a few interesting recent developments and the latest application to be added – Flow.
Early on, Microsoft introduced Lists as a form of holding basic data. More recently, Forms has come along and offered a simple way of graphically collecting data. These are simple, yet effective tools; However, there didn’t seem to be a way of combining these or making them actually DO anything. Recently, an application called Flow appeared in the Office 365 Apps. Flow is the bit we’ve all been missing to connect Office 365 components.
So What is Flow?
Flow allows you to create automated workflows between your favourite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more.
An introduction to Microsoft Flow.
Let’s look at an example of how Flow could be used:
An Approval Workflow
Imagine that you manage your Company’s Procedures and want to set up an approval process to automate proposed new procedures from your staff or teammates.
You can ask your teammates to enter their proposals in a simple SharePoint List (a list is like a very simple spreadsheet with defined columns and rows that hold a data entry). In Flow, you can then create a process such that whenever a new item is added to the list, you start an approval process – perhaps sending an email to you containing the item details entered in the List. If you approve then Flow could notify the creator of the approval. If you reject it, then Flow will email your teammate with your feedback.
What does Flow interface to?
Currently Flow interfaces to about 158 different services. Here’s a taste:
Flow is a fantastic new development – if you’d like to learn more about Flow go here.