Microsoft Flow – Part 1

Pankaj Salunkhe
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It is quite evident that Microsoft is shifting its focus of development platform from on-premises to cloud. Microsoft flow is one of the cloud offering, which might act as replacement of SharePoint designer workflow and windows workflow.

What is Microsoft Flow?

Traditionally workflows are used to automate time consuming business tasks and processes across applications and services. Microsoft Flow is similar cloud based offering that makes it practical and simple for LOB users to build workflows.

It enables you to connect onpremises and cloud applications to run complex integration scenarios to enhance business productivity by automating business processes.

You can access flow from

Benefits of using flow? 

As we have already see the difference between Flow and traditional Workflow, we now know that flow allows us to automate business processes by building workflows based on events.

Most importantly in the age of cloud computing, business have challenges to connect their mission critical on-premises systems with cloud applications to automate business processes and enhance business productivity. Flow is solution for this.

Flow gives you a graphical user interface that allows building workflows  similar to designing in Visio.

Main benefit of Flow is that  it enables workflow to interact with onpremises applications, O365, Azure, social and collaboration platforms like Facebook, Twitter, SharePoint, DropBox and OneDrive.

Which scenarios flow can be used? 

Flow can be used in many interesting and unimaginable scenarios if you compare with traditional workflow solutions.

You can certainly use flow with SharePoint, but also in previous section we have seen that flow can be used to interact with social platforms as well. So with the help of Flow you can literally follow the events happening in social networks and can consume data from social networks and use it in internal systems.

Integration of Microsoft flow with SharePoint online

All SharePoint developers and IT Pros are very much familiar with integrating workflow with SharePoint artifacts like list and library. Flow certainly enables you to integrate with SharePoint.

Document Library: Flow enables you to select any file in a document library and send it to your manager for approval or feedback over email or Yammer, also can add a reminder in Outlook Tasks..

List:   Similar to Document Library, flow can enable you to perform actions at list level too. You can also set up flows to save email attachments to SharePoint.

You can setup flow to copy files from OneDrive to SharePoint document library.

What is Difference between Microsoft Flow and SharePoint Workflow?

SharePoint workflow has been widely accepted and used technology; if already have SharePoint workflow and windows workflow then the question is what additional features do Microsoft Flow offers.

Microsoft FlowSharePoint WorkFlow
It is a new cloud based service which allow you to configure and deploy workflows to integrate many  other services and applications.

Flow can be used with lot external systems, and automate actions based on events happening in systems.

SharePoint workflows were used to automate business processes. like the approval of a document or connecting to an external line of business system and bring that data back into SharePoint.

Flow  gets kicked off after actions performed by an individual end user.SharePoint workflows are associated to SharePoint lists and libraries, these workflows are to perform actions on objects within the SharePoint environment.
Flows are triggered by web hooks into external systems and can respond to events from outside of environment and automate the movement of data in systems.SharePoint workflows gets kicked off with some event within SharePoint, like list item is created.

Integration with Azure

Microsoft flow enables the integration with Azure using Azure functions, you can consume azure functions based on requirement or can also schedule for recurring calls.


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