Microsoft Flow is the primary automation and workflow optimisation tool, both in its own respect and as a part of Microsoft Power Platform. The inclusion of Microsoft Flow in Power Platform makes the business solution more robust than ever.
Microsoft flow is capable of simplifying multi-step processes into automated workflows that aren’t just highly efficient, but also very effective. Administrators and users don’t have to have specific skills to utilize the automation tools available on Microsoft Flow.
Just like other components of Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Flow is also receiving substantial updates in Release Wave 2. It has some features lined up for upcoming updates too. What are the new and planned features to expect?
Features Coming in October 2019
Templates will be the biggest addition to Microsoft Flow once the feature is made available in October 2019. Templates allow for pre-defined workflows to be stored for later use. You don’t need to create automation flows from scratch either, since you will be able to borrow templates from other use cases.
External Components and Geofencing
Two additional features that certainly make Flow more interesting are external components and geofencing. The latter allows for flows to be executed based on geolocation triggers. The addition of AI Builder to Microsoft Flow – just like how the same feature is added to Microsoft PowerApps – will also make the automation tool more capable.
The ability to create stages with custom controls is another big leap for this solution. Business process flow stages are no longer limited by similarities in controls and parameters. Each stage can have unique routines for more accurate outputs.
At the same time, Microsoft Flow positions process flows as being more immersive. It can collect and process more data without directly relying on the records and units in the Common Data Service (CDS) or other parts of the Power Platform ecosystem.
Support for Offline Workflows and Business Processes
Developers and users are particularly excited about the support for offline workflows and business processes. Business processes flow directly in PowerApps without having to connect to your cloud environment. PowerApps handle the caching and initial data processing on-premise.
Support for offline workflows also means that business process flows can be run independently, all while maintaining the collaborative and integrated nature of Power Platform. Microsoft is walking a fine line between making its tools usable and easy to integrate with this new feature.
The last addition to note is how Flow can now run in Fluent. You have more control over how flows run on the platform, but you lose the ability to disable Flow in Dynamic 365; a minor trade-off when compared to the integration possibilities that come with this feature.
What’s Next for Flow?
The roadmap for Microsoft Flow isn’t as clear as that of other components within the Power Platform ecosystem. That said, Microsoft Flow will play an increasingly important role in improving how components – including external solutions – can be integrated with apps and cycles.
For example, Microsoft’s decision to make third-party inputs compatible with Microsoft Flow means Power BI can immediately visualise external data. There is also a plan to integrate Microsoft Flow with the Power Platform Admin Center.
A lot of developers will be interested in using Microsoft Flow for scalability, and the upcoming capacity governance features certainly take us closer to that dream. Imagine being able to automate the scaling of Power Platform in a seamless way!
Lastly, we have the possible integration with more gateways. Combined with the other updates covered in this article, support for more gateways will make Microsoft Flow the perfect solution for complex automation and interconnected flows. Expect to see these updates coming to your Microsoft Flow soon!